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
Almost three hours of video footage from 2014 featuring Umar Shishani, IS’s military commander, and his close confidante Abu Jihad has come to light, in which Umar addresses the then-emir of the Caucasus Emirate, Kebekov, and says he did not have a bay’ah to Dokku Umarov when he came to Syria in the autumn of 2012. Continue reading Umar Shishani To Kebekov: “I Didn’t Have Bay’ah To Umarov When I Came To Syria”
The Emir of Jaish al-Muhajireen wal-Ansar has given an interview (his longest yet) in which he says he fought in Chechnya under Ruslan “Hamzat” Gelayev including in Abkhazia. Continue reading Salakhuddin Shishani Fought Under Gelayev & In Abkhazia
Salakhuddin Shishani, the Emir of Jaish al-Mujahireen wal Ansar (JMA) — the faction that considers itself the Caucasus Emirate’s affiliate in Syria — has always been something of a mystery. Recently, I have uncovered some fresh information that might shed some light onto Salakhuddin’s past in the North Caucasus, and which also demonstrates the complicated relationship between Russia and Georgia regarding militancy in the North Caucasus and links with the Pankisi Gorge. Continue reading Who is Salakhuddin Shishani aka Feyzullah Margoshvili (aka Giorgi Kushtanashvili?)
Veteran Chechen militant Abdul Hakim Shishani, the emir of the Latakia-based Ajnad al-Kavkaz (AK) faction (formerly known as the Khalifat Battalion or Khalifat Jamaat) has been linked to a member of a Chechen militant group who fought alongside Emir Khattab, the Saudi foreign fighter who fought in the first and second Chechen wars. Continue reading Abdul-Hakim Shishani, Emir of Ajnad al-Kavkaz, Linked To Khattab
Turkish pro-jihadi website Ummet-i Islam has published an interview with the Emir of Jaish al-Muhajireen wal-Ansar (JMA), Salakhuddin Shishani. Continue reading JMA Emir Salakhuddin Shishani: ‘We Wanted To Go To Chechnya But Found Ourselves In Syria’
As a follow up to my piece for RFE/RL about how Akhmed Chatayev, aka Akhmed Shishani, has turned up in Syria in a video with Abu Jihad and apparently the Emir of a Chechen-led faction called the Yarmouk Battalion, below is a translation of an interesting piece from Kommersant, published after Chatayev’s arrest in Georgia in 2012.
Continue reading The Strange Tale Of New IS Chechen Emir Akhmed Chatayev & His Tour Of Europe
The ethnic Circassian group Katibat Ahrar al-Sharkas has issued an audio statement announcing that it was joining the Junud al-Qawqaz faction. The move raises some interesting questions about Circassian nationalism, the Caucasus Emirate, networks of jihadis in Syria, and their extension into the North Caucasus. Continue reading “Displaced Conflict”: Ethnic Circassian Ahrar Al-Sharkas Joins Junud Al-Qawqaz
(UPDATED – see below) A Georgian news outlet has published an interview with a childhood friend of Muslim Shishani (Murad Margoshvili), the Emir of the Latakia-based jamaat Junud a-Sham. Continue reading Muslim Shishani’s childhood friend: “Everyone was surprised when Murad didn’t go to university”