Public Service Announcement: This Is An Academic Blog NOT A PRO-JIHAD SITE

It has been brought to my attention that some individuals are apparently incapable of reading the About page or any of my posts, and based on the title of this blog are laboring under the delusion that it a pro-jihad site run by Chechens.

I had thought this was patently obvious…

This blog tracks North Caucasian militants in Syria and Iraq and the impact of their participation in the Syrian battlefield on the insurgency in the North Caucasus.

Kabardino-Balkaria Man Now In Syria Apparently Complained Of Harassment Against Muslims Back In 2007

One of the areas that I am interested in is “radicalization” — how do people get involved with militant groups and end up in Syria? In many (most) cases the journey is somewhat more complex than simply “s/he read some IS propaganda online and decided to go to Syria.” So with that in mind I am always interested in learning information about the background of militants. In terms of North Caucasian militants in Syria this is often not very easy. But maybe that is why it is more intriguing.

Anyway, a bit of recent research threw up the following item of interest: a man from Kabardino-Balkaria who is listed on the Federal Wanted List as having gone to fight in Syria in 2013 apparently complained of pressure and maltreatment against himself and other practicing Muslims from the security authorities in the republic back in 2007. Continue reading Kabardino-Balkaria Man Now In Syria Apparently Complained Of Harassment Against Muslims Back In 2007

A More Detailed Biography Of Khamza Shishani of Ajnad al-Kavkaz

Ajnad al-Kavkaz have provided a longer biography of the group’s military commander (emir), Khamza Shishani which I have translated below. I wrote a short biography of Khamza here, taken from Ajnad’s previous postings on their social media. Continue reading A More Detailed Biography Of Khamza Shishani of Ajnad al-Kavkaz

Ajnad al-Kavkaz Amir Abdul Hakim Shishani Was Amir of Central Sector In Chechnya

Abdul Hakim Shishani, the leader of the Latakia-based predominantly Chechen jamaat Ajnad al-Kavkaz was the Amir of the IK Nokhchiycho Wilayah Central Sector*, sources close to the group have said. Continue reading Ajnad al-Kavkaz Amir Abdul Hakim Shishani Was Amir of Central Sector In Chechnya

A (Very) Short Bio of Khamza Shishani, Military Amir of Ajnad al-Kavkaz

Ajnad al-Kavkaz, the Chechen-led militant group based in Latakia province, has posted some images and details about its military amir, Khamza Shishani, who like the group’s amir Abdul Hakim Shishani is a Chechen who fought in Chechnya before he came to Syria. Continue reading A (Very) Short Bio of Khamza Shishani, Military Amir of Ajnad al-Kavkaz

Translation Of Muslim Shishani’s Interview With Al Jazeera Turkish

Muslim Shishani, the Emir of Junud al-Sham, a small Latakia-based North Caucasian group of about 30 North Caucasian militants*, has given an interview to Turkish-language Al-Jazeera, which someone has conveniently translated into Russian. So I have translated it into English. I cannot guarantee the accuracy of the Russian translation from Turkish, and it sounds as clunky as heck, so caveat emptor. Continue reading Translation Of Muslim Shishani’s Interview With Al Jazeera Turkish

Katiba Sayfullah + JMA = Liwa Al-Muhajireen

One of the speculations that arose* when Jaish al-Muhajireen wal-Ansar joined Jabhat al-Nusra was whether the group’s dwindling number of Russian-speakers, mostly North Caucasians, would join Katiba Sayfullah, the Uzbek-led group that has a dwindling number of Russian speakers.

And the answer is — Continue reading Katiba Sayfullah + JMA = Liwa Al-Muhajireen

UPDATE: Has The Crimean Jamaat Pledged Bay’ah To Nusra?

An informed source has said that the Крымский Джамаат (Crimean Jamaat) has pledged allegiance to Nusra. I am leaving the headline as a question, though, because I have not been able to confirm it by asking the Crimean Jamaat themselves or seeing a statement from them. Continue reading UPDATE: Has The Crimean Jamaat Pledged Bay’ah To Nusra?

Salakhuddin Shishani In New Video Address: ‘Our Position Will Remain As Before’

Salakhuddin Shishani, the emir (commander) of Imarat Kavkaz V Shame, has made a video address “concerning leaving JMA (Jaish al-Muhajireen wal-Ansar) and the position of Imarat Kavkaz v Shame.” Continue reading Salakhuddin Shishani In New Video Address: ‘Our Position Will Remain As Before’

Jihadi Poetry: ‘The Mujahideen Of The Caucasus Are Strong!’

As I have mentioned before and elsewhere, I am interested in Russian-language jihadi poetry and writing. I am collecting poems as well as the writings of fighters themselves, in order to write something more in depth about them. But in the meantime, here is a poem that I found recently… Continue reading Jihadi Poetry: ‘The Mujahideen Of The Caucasus Are Strong!’

JMA Statement On Pledging Bay’ah To Jabhat Al-Nusra

Because I am a completist I have translated the statement given by Jaish al-Muhajireen wal-Ansar (JMA) on pledging allegiance to Jabhat al-Nusra. Continue reading JMA Statement On Pledging Bay’ah To Jabhat Al-Nusra

Tracking Russian-speaking Foreign Fighters In Syria