Below is my interview with AbdulHakim Shishani, the Amir of Ajnad al-Kavkaz. English follows Russian.
As I have written before here and elsewhere, it is my belief that understanding the various foreign fighter groups in Syria is key to a deeper understanding not only of the conflict in that country, but also of other conflicts around the globe, including those in these fighters’ countries of origin. By gathering information over time, we can see how these conflicts are interconnected, and how one affects the other.
By avoiding discussing these questions, refusing to examine these groups or understand them, or indeed by oversimplifying them including by making assumptions based on what we would like to be true, or by avoiding knowledge about these groups’ motivations and beliefs, we are harming our ability to make sense of and address important issues that lead to war, conflict and displacement of peoples. Here is the interview:
JP: Как Вы бы прокомментировали ситуации на Кавказе? Кажется, что ситуация там сильно изменилась с тех пор как Вы там воевали — ИК уж практически нету, амиры джамаатов присягнули ИГИШ итд… Continue reading Эксклюзив: интервью с АбдулХакимом Шишани, Амир Аджнада/ Exclusive: Interview With AbdulHakim Shishani, Amir of Ajnad al-Kavkaz
An essay written by a North Caucasian Russian-speaking woman and wife of a Russian-speaking jihadi formerly based in Latakia province in Syria (and not connected in any way with The Islamic State group) was posted on 8 July on the telegra.ph site. As part of my work I collect posts/essays/poems etc by Russian-speaking fighters — almost all of which are written by men. Because this is comparatively unusual I thought I’d quickly translate and share it. We don’t often get a glimpse of the lives of the Russian-speaking women who have accompanied their husbands to Syria — and the overwhelming majority of what has been written is about IS “jihadi brides” or women connected with IS in other ways. Anyway the original piece has some rather fascinating photos of the interior of the house that the woman describes, which I have also posted here.
Continue reading “A Woman’s View” – essay by a Russian-speaking wife of a jihadi in Latakia
Even if I’m not posting publicly, apart from this brief post, I’ve been doing research on IK v Shame & the current situation. But I wanted to share this fantastic photo, which was taken very recently* and is of Imarat Kavkaz’s very first base in Haritan, Aleppo province. Continue reading ‘Only the T-shirts are left’ – the Archaeology of Imarat Kavkaz in Syria
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!]
Continue reading Nohchicho’s Interview with Muslim Shishani
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.
Continue reading ‘The Story Of How Umar Shishani Went Hungry So The Brothers Could Eat’