I’m working on something related to Muslim Shishani so as part of my preparation I typed out his interview with the Nohchicho website in English as I read it, & thought I’d post it here for non-Russian speakers. [I actually thought I had posted this about 10 days ago or more but then realized I forgot to hit Publish. It’s been an insanely busy month and I didn’t notice. Sorry!]
A passport belonging to the well-known Islamic State fighter Abu Umar Grozny has been found in Mosul according to a photo shared on Twitter on 16 March Continue reading Passport of IS’s Abu Umar Grozny found in Mosul
Two sources say that Abu Bakr Shishani, Muslim Shishani’s former military amir, has his own jamaat in Latakia. Continue reading Abu Bakr Shishani (Muslim’s Former Military Amir) Has His Own Jamaat
The Nohchicho website has undertaken and published an interview with Ajnad al-Kavkaz Amir Abdul Hakim Shishani; Abdul Hakim also wrote a letter published on the same website in support of a rally in Strasbourg by Chechens on the anniversary of the 23 February 1944 mass deportations by Stalin.
I’m writing an analysis of these and as I was reading them and thinking about them I just typed them out in translation on the fly as I find that’s a good way to get space to think. Continue reading Interview & Letter from Ajnad al-Kavkaz Amir Abdul Hakim Shishani
The Chechen-led group Tarkhan’s Jamaat (Джамаат Тархана) — which is, of course, the Jamaat of Chechen amir Tarkhan Gaziyev — has renamed itself this week to Katibat Ibad ar-Rahman. Continue reading Tarkhan’s Jamaat Renames Itself Katibat Ibad Ar-Rahman
Someone on Twitter asked me why Sayfullakh Shishani left Umar Shishani’s jamaat back in 2013.
I realized that I had translated part of a letter written by Khalid Shishani, who used to be part of Sayfullakh’s jamaat, who gave his account of what had happened. Umar is not portrayed in a good light here — Khalid did not admire Umar. However, it seems as if I did not post my translation anywhere (if I did, I cannot find it here — the search has been terribly slow lately. Anyway it can’t do any harm to post it twice.) Continue reading Khalid Shishani On Why Sayfullakh Shishani & Umar Fell Out
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.
I had wondered what had happened to Abu Musa Shishani, the Amir of Ansar a-Sham, a Syrian jamaat in Latakia.
I have recently learned that he is alive, still fighting, still the amir of Ansar a-Sham and has good relations with other North Caucasian groups in Latakia province. He just hates being photographed.
Abu Musa Shishani is also the cousin of Salakhuddin Shishani, but he had lived in Ingushetia.
North Caucasian fighters in Syria have commented on social media about Umar Shishani, with interesting reactions to comments by other fighters that Umar was not a good military commander. While the debate over Umar has been incredibly polarized, with anti-IS North Caucasians slamming him and IS mythologizing him (and reports in the Western press doing the same, more on that below), here we have some context from North Caucasians who experienced the conflict first hand. I have translated the comments below. Continue reading North Caucasian Fighters: Umar Shishani Was Brave, Honest & Talented Even If He Made Mistakes
The Chechen-led group Ajnad al-Kavkaz have issued a statement in Turkish on their website that condemns the 28 June 2016 terrorist bombing at Ataturk Airport. (Updated 9 July: the group has issued a longer statement in Russian setting out their position on the attack in Istanbul and on the 5 July bombing in Medina).
Continue reading UPDATED: Ajnad al-Kavkaz Issue Statement Condemning Istanbul Terror Attacks