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 stories and rumors around Islamic State’s Syria military Emir (commander) Umar Shishani continue apace, with the recent claim by Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov providing a convenient springboard for new myths and hype, in both Russia and among Umar’s associates in Syria. Let’s take a look at some of them. Continue reading In Russia & Raqqa, The Umar Shishani Myth Continues
Last week, a social media account linked to the Chechen-led Aleppo-based faction Jaish al-Muhajireen wal-Ansar posted something rather intriguing: a photograph of JMA emir Salakhuddin Shishani (Feyzulla Margoshvili) in a car, with a note to say that he was going to visit the emir of Ahrar as-Sham. Continue reading Jaish al-Muhajireen wal-Ansar Emir Visited IS In Raqqa To Ask For Truce
The US Department of State has designated Jaish al-Muhajireen wal-Ansar as “Foreign Terrorist Fighters”.
Here’s what the description says:
Formed in February 2013, Jaish al-Muhajireen wal-Ansar (JAMWA) is a Chechen-led terrorist organization based in Syria that consists primarily of foreign fighters. Cooperating with other violent extremist organizations in Syria, including al-Nusrah Front and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), JAMWA has launched deadly assaults against civilian communities, and kidnapped civilians and other foreigners in Syria.
There are some factual errors here that, frankly, are rather sloppy.
First of all, JMA’s re-naming from Kataib al-Muhajireen was announced in March 2013, not February.
In December 2013, JMA split, with the group remaining under the JMA name bearing little resemblance to the group has it had been under Umar Shishani.
JMA cooperated with ISIS/IS only from summer 2013 through Umar’s eventual pledge to Baghdadi in December that year. The current version of JMA is opposed to ISIS and has expressed that in official statements. There is intense, bitter rivalry between JMA and ISIS, though the faction has refused to fight ISIS).
There are no recorded incidences of JMA kidnapping foreigners or attacking civilian communities. JMA has concentrated on fighting the Assad government in Aleppo, mostly north-western Aleppo.
The time to designate JMA as a “foreign terror group” would surely have been last summer, when it fought with ISIS under the leadership of Umar Shishani. Not now, when the group has been weakened considerably (Assad’s forces have attacked JMA bases on multiple occasions) and the group has retrenched from its positions in Aleppo.
The effect of the designation will be this:
As a result of the designations, all property subject to U.S. jurisdiction in which these individuals or groups have any interest is blocked and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in any transactions with them or to their benefit.
Which in the case of JMA means literally nothing, unless the US is concerned that JMA will commit terror attacks on US soil. While Russia has a definite reason to be concerned about JMA, and blowback from it and other Russian-speaking factions in Syria, does the US have a reason to fear blowback from Chechen groups?
Sayfullah Shishani’s jamaat have published a video explaining why they are on the front line against the Islamic State. Continue reading Chechen vs. Chechen? Sayfullah’s Jamaat on Ribat Against IS
Georgia’s Maestro TV have produced this report (in Georgian) on Umar Shishani, with an interview with his father.
The Adamalla forum provided these translations from Georgian into Russian. I do not speak Georgian, so cannot verify them… (Some posters on the forum are claiming that Umar is Georgian and not Chechen).
From 2:45 – I don’t want him to be a Muslim. Because neither my father, nor his father and grandfather, or the father of my great grandfather were Muslims. Why should I be a Muslim?
From 3:27 – He is such a Georgian patriot. He would give his life for Georgia.
From 5:00 He is a born warrior. At age 14 he was with Gelaev in Abkhazia.
Russian-speaking jihadis associated with the Islamic State of Iraq and as-Sham (ISIS) are publishing a series of claimed eye-witness accounts of what they say is a conspiracy against them, led by Syrian brigades. Continue reading ISIS: Syrian Brigade Massacred Families From Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan
As the rift between North Caucasians in ISIS and other factions deepens, Chechen and other North Caucasian fighters in Syria openly criticize ISIS military emir Umar Shishani. Continue reading “He’s Been In ISIS So Long, He’s One Of Them” – Chechens Slam Umar Shishani
Chechens in the Islamic State of Iraq and as-Sham are circulating a written tale of a young man from the Caucasus who wages jihad in Syria, and who is “tempted” by the Caucasus Emirate. Continue reading “The Devil’s Tricks”: ISIS Chechens Slam Caucasus Emirate In “Jihadi Tale”
New footage– taken on a cellphone– of Chechen fighters with the Islamic State of Iraq and as-Sham.
The location is Sheikh Najjar in Aleppo Province.
One of the fighters, seen at 01:19, is named as Abdullah Shishani, a former boxer from Chechnya. Abdullah was killed some weeks ago.