Category Archives: Pankisi

Umar Margoshvili IS militant from Duisi in Pankisi killed in Iraq

In late June, a number of news reports in Russian and Georgian (I can’t read the latter) noted that a 39-year-old militant from Duisi in the Pankisi Gorge in Georgia had been killed “in Syria.” Some of the reports said that the militant had been in the “Yarmouk brigade” and had fought alongside Akhmad Chatayev. The first fact is almost certainly not true (he died in Iraq) and the second is flimsy and unverifiable, but let’s unpick it. Continue reading Umar Margoshvili IS militant from Duisi in Pankisi killed in Iraq

Umar Shishani To Kebekov: “I Didn’t Have Bay’ah To Umarov When I Came To Syria”

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”

Salakhuddin Shishani Fought Under Gelayev & In Abkhazia

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

Who is Salakhuddin Shishani aka Feyzullah Margoshvili (aka Giorgi Kushtanashvili?)

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?)

Salakhuddin Shishani & The Phenomenon Of “Displaced Conflict” – Integration & Co-Existing Loyalties

Some thoughts on Salakhuddin Shishani, Jaish al-Muhajireen wal-Ansar, and the idea of “displaced conflict.” Continue reading Salakhuddin Shishani & The Phenomenon Of “Displaced Conflict” – Integration & Co-Existing Loyalties

JMA Emir Salakhuddin Shishani: ‘We Wanted To Go To Chechnya But Found Ourselves In Syria’

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’

The Strange Tale Of New IS Chechen Emir Akhmed Chatayev & His Tour Of Europe

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

Via RFE/RL: Chechen Linked To Lopota Gorge Incident Heads IS Battalion In Syria

I wrote this piece for RFE/RL (read the full piece here) on February 25. Continue reading Via RFE/RL: Chechen Linked To Lopota Gorge Incident Heads IS Battalion In Syria