Category Archives: ISIS

‘The Story Of How Umar Shishani Went Hungry So The Brothers Could Eat’

Since the announcement of Umar Shishani’s death on 13 July, there has been a process of mythologizing of Umar on Russian-language IS channels and other social media channels. This has been carried out both by “official” channels but also by regular posters on Telegram chats and Facebook. I’ve written about this in a piece for IHS Janes if you have access to that. Some of the mythologizing has taken the form of storytelling about Umar, which serve to emphasize some of his traits — in particular that he was a humble man who deeply loved his fellow North Caucasian IS fighters, who in turn loved him back. Here is the Story Of How Umar Shishani Went Hungry So The Brothers Could Eat’, plus some photos of Young Umar & Umar’s House.

Continue reading ‘The Story Of How Umar Shishani Went Hungry So The Brothers Could Eat’

Akhmad Chatayev Led IS’s North Caucasian Badr Katiba In Kobani, With Heavy Losses


In the light of the current media storm over the rumors that Chechen IS militant Akhmad Chatayev was behind the recent terrorist bombings in Istanbul, we are sharing some more information about him and his activities in Syria here. This is not to confirm the rumors in any way, but simply to add some facts to an increasingly speculative conversation. Continue reading Akhmad Chatayev Led IS’s North Caucasian Badr Katiba In Kobani, With Heavy Losses

How A Jewish Man & Professor’s Son From Volgograd, Nicknamed “Goldfish,” Joined IS

Local media in Russia are reporting that the passport of a Russian militant, Andrey Karasik, has been found in Syria in areas liberated from IS by Kurdish militias. The suggestion is that Karasik and his wife and two children, also Russian converts, have been killed — though this is not proven. Continue reading How A Jewish Man & Professor’s Son From Volgograd, Nicknamed “Goldfish,” Joined IS

Who Was Abu Aisha Kazakhi, The Kazakh IS Militant Killed In Palmyra?

A few days ago, the news broke on IS social media that Abu Aisha Kazakhi, an IS militant from Kazakhstan, had been killed. Here are some of the facts I have gleaned about Abu Aisha in my several months of tracking him. Continue reading Who Was Abu Aisha Kazakhi, The Kazakh IS Militant Killed In Palmyra?

An Note On How IS Chechens Use Said Buryatsky In Mythmaking

Said Buryatsky, a.k.a. Said Abu Saad, continues to be an important and influential figure in North Caucasian jihad circles, even after his death in 2010. Buryatsky is frequently mentioned by various North Caucasian groups in Syria — including North Caucasian factions in the Islamic State (IS) group, who employ his words and image often including as part of their attempts to legitimize their movement as a natural successor to the Caucasus Emirate. Continue reading An Note On How IS Chechens Use Said Buryatsky In Mythmaking

Furat Media Releases New Video Featuring Deso Dogg

IS’s Furat Media, led by Abu Jihad, has used German former rapper-turned-militant Deso Dogg aka Denis Cuspert for their new recruitment new video, “Rejoice In The Deal You Have Secured.”

Which sounds like a mortgage lender advert, but it’s not. In true Abu Jihad fashion, the video is a whopping 32 minutes long.*

I wrote about Cuspert’s part in this video here for RFE/RL where I wrote a little bit about the wider significance of the video.

Here are some more thoughts/ notes on the video. I do not have time to transcribe the whole video but there are some excerpts below from some of the speeches and a translation of Cuspert’s speech — or at least of the Russian subtitles.

This video is a self- congratulatory showreel, really, in which Abu Jihad and his Furat Media group have managed to gather together all of the popular Dagestani preachers he has recruited — including Nadir Abu Khalid, Akhmed Medinsky and Kamil Abu Sultan ad-Daghestani (Sultanakhmedov) — into one lineup and have them perform.

The theme of the video is the establishment of IS’s “province” in the North Caucasus, Vilayat Kavkaz.

Sultanakhmedov opens by greeting “the residents of the Caucasus in general and in particular to the mujahideen who have become part of this global project which our ummah has awaited for over 100 years.”

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He then addresses Rustam Asildarov, aka Emir Abu Muhammad Kadarsky, the leader of the Vilayat Kavkaz, saying that he has become the Wali of the residents of the North Caucasus in general,

Here’s Nadir Abu Khalid.

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And here’s Medinsky, who is a real rabble rouser and perhaps the most charismatic of the lineup. As I said, I don’t have time to translate all their speeches but they are on the same topic: join IS in the North Caucasus because it brings prestige.

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I did translate Cuspert’s speech, since I used some of it in the RFE/RL story above. At least, I translated the Russian subtitles since I don’t speak German:

First I would like to greet my dear brothers in Vilayat Kavkaz with the best of greetings. I praise Allah who made you a part of this caliphate and made your province its province. This is the grace of Allah, that he took you out of decline and chaos and gave you light, the light of the caliphate, the light of victory. The light that lights up your path to paradise and which will lead you to the highest level. This was the reason for the blood shed by your martyrs. The blood that has been flowing for several years. Today we are in the land of the caliphate, in teh land of Sham. We decided to send a greeting to the vilayat Kavkaz, to our dear brother mujahideen. Dear brothers, this message, my little part. It is an honor for me to greet you and to see you as a part of us. We have pledged allegiance to the leader of the believers and you have pledged allegiance to him. We fought for this and you fought for this. And at the end of the journey there will be paradise, inshallah. Dear brothers, this is a message to the Chechen and Daghestani youth and the youth from all the rest of Vilayat Kavkaz. O, my brother mujahideen, O youth, I call on you to join the caravan of the caliphate. Join the vilayat Kavkaz. Those who have not yet pledged allegiance, I call on you to pledge the leader of the true believers. Hurry to wage jihad! Be a part of this caliphate… Allah called us together so that we woudl be in the same ranks.

I mentioned in my RFE/RL piece that Deso Dogg has been photographed alongside North Caucasian militants before — i.e. Muslim Shishani’s jamaat, Junud al-Sham. Here’s that pic, shared by the group of German media activists who used to be in charge of Muslim’s propaganda (it is likely they had a connection with Cuspert).


* The only glimmer of amusement here is wondering how on earth Deso managed to sit still through the roughly 25 minutes of preaching that was not his in a language I presume he does not speak.

Dagestanis From Jabhat Al-Nusra Hit Back At IS

Earlier this week, I wrote a piece for RFE/RL about how Dagestanis from Jabhat al-Nusra’s Katiba Sayfullah (aka Sayfullakh Shishani’s jamaat, though I rarely hear it called that any more) have pushed back against increased recruitment and propaganda efforts by IS. Continue reading Dagestanis From Jabhat Al-Nusra Hit Back At IS

Akhmad Medinsky Addresses ‘Vilayat Kavkaz’ From Baiji

Akhmad Medinsky, a Dagestani preacher who has joined IS in Iraq, has appeared in a new video address, “Послание Из Бейджи К Львам Халифата В Вилаяте Кавказ” (A Message From Baiji To The Lions Of The Caliphate In Vilayat Kavkaz). Continue reading Akhmad Medinsky Addresses ‘Vilayat Kavkaz’ From Baiji