|Active 7 October 2007 – 2016|
Part of Al-Qaeda
|Headquarters North Caucasus|
|Ideology Salafist Jihadism
Leaders Dokka Umarov † (2007–2013) Aliaskhab Kebekov † (2014–2015) Magomed Suleimanov † (2015) Zalim Shebzukhov † (2015-2016)
Area of operations Russia, Syria, Iraq, Georgia and Azerbaijan
Interview shamsuddin botokayov caucasus emirate representative
The Caucasus Emirate (IK Chechen: Имарат Кавказ Imarat Kavkaz; Russian: Кавказский Эмират Kavkazskiy Emirat), also known as the Caucasian Emirate, is a militant Jihadist organisation active in southwestern Russia. Its intention is to expel the Russian presence from the North Caucasus and to establish an independent Islamic emirate in the region. Caucasus Emirate also refers to the state that the group seeks to establish. Partially a successor to the secessionist Chechen Republic of Ichkeria, it was officially announced on 7 October 2007, by former President of Ichkeria Dokka Umarov, who became its first emir.
- Interview shamsuddin botokayov caucasus emirate representative
- Raw russian special forces op against suspected caucasus emirate jihadist leader
- Leadership crisis
- Claimed and alleged attacks
- List of Emirs of the Caucasus Emirate
The Emirate is included as a terrorist group on the War on Terror.
Raw russian special forces op against suspected caucasus emirate jihadist leader
Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Chechen nationalists, led by Dzhokhar Dudayev, declared the secession of Chechnya from Russia as an independent Chechen Republic of Ichkeria (ChRI). Following two devastating wars with the Russian Federation in the nineties, the ChRI fought an insurgency against the Russian forces and their Chechen allies from 2000, initially under the leadership of Aslan Maskhadov. Although the ChRI was largely founded by Sufi Muslims motivated by nationalism, over time the literalist Salafist form of Islam became increasingly popular with some Chechens, leading to a schism between nationalists and Salafists. As many of the original nationalist figures were killed by Russian forces, the insurgency took on an increasingly Salafist tone embodied by commanders like Shamil Basayev and the Arab fighter Khattab. Many of the surviving nationalists gave up the fight, and by the time Dokka Umarov was declared President of Ichkeria in June 2006, Islamists held increasing influence in the movement.
On 7 October 2007, President of Ichkeria Dokka Umarov abolished the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria and its presidency and proclaimed an Emirate in the Caucasus, declaring himself its Emir. The declaration of the Caucasus Emirate was quickly condemned by Akhmed Zakayev, Umarov's own minister of foreign affairs; Zakayev, who lives in exile in London, called upon all Chechen separatist fighters and politicians to pledge allegiance directly to his government in exile in an attempt to isolate Umarov from power. Zakayev also expressed regret that Umarov had caved in to pressure from "provocateurs" and committed a "crime" that undermines the legitimacy of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria. Umarov said that he did not need any sanction from the Majlis-ul-Shura (the council of rebel field commanders) or anybody else to declare the Emirate, as it is "his duty as a Muslim" to establish an Islamic state "as required by Sharia."
On 1 August 2010 Kavkaz Center, the official web site of the Emirate, distributed a video where Dokka Umarov indicated that he had stepped down from his position as Emir and appointed Aslambek Vadalov to become his successor. However, on 3 August 2010,. A few days later Umarov said he had no intention of stepping down and called the video announcing his resignation a fabrication. The announcements drove the emirate into a state of turmoil, with several key rebel leaders resigning their loyalty to Umarov. This combined with the death of Muhannad is believed to have paved the way for Hussein Gakayev, Aslambek Vadalov and Tarkhan Gaziyev to re-affirm their allegiance to Umarov. Umarov eventually died from food poisoning in September 2013. 6 months later, Aliaskhab Kebekov was announced as his successor.
In the period from 2010 to 2014, the number of casualties in the North Caucasus insurgency declined each year, with the overall death toll falling by more than half. Reasons suggested for the decline include the deaths of high-ranking insurgency commanders, the increased targeting by security forces of the support infrastructure relied on by the insurgents, and an exodus of insurgents to other conflict zones.
Starting in November 2014, mid-level commanders of the Caucasus Emirate began publicly switching their allegiance from Emirate leader Aliaskhab Kebekov to the Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, following al-Baghdadi and his group's declaration of a caliphate earlier in the year. By February 2015, many commanders of the Emirate's Vilayat Nokhchicho and Vilayat Dagestan had defected. Loyalists within the Emirate released statements denouncing them, and accused the most senior defector, Rustam Asildarov, of betrayal. Vilayat Nokhchicho leader Aslan Byutukayev pledged allegiance to al-Baghdadi in June 2015, and an audio statement was released in the same month purportedly pledging allegiance on behalf of militants in Dagestan, Chechnya, Ingushetia and Kabardino-Balkaria. On 23 June 2015, ISIL's spokesman Abu Mohammad al-Adnani accepted these pledges and announced the creation of a Caucasus Province, a new branch operating in the North Caucasus region. Adnani named Asildarov as its leader and called on other militants in the region to follow him.
The Caucasus Emirate continued to operate independently, but suffered further high-profile losses, including the killing by Russian security forces of Kebekov in April 2015, and his successor Magomed Suleymanov several months later. By late 2015, the militants still operating in Russia's North Caucasus Republics had largely unified under ISIL's Caucasus Province.
The Caucasus Emirate is claimed to be composed of the following Vilayats (provinces):
In August 2008 Movladi Udugov, an ideologue and a spokesman for the Caucasus Emirate, said that "as Dokka Umarov very accurately observed, this Islamic state does not yet have any borders. It’s not correct to say that we want to build some sort of enclave on the territory of these North Caucasus republics. No, today many Muslims living in Tatarstan, Bashkortostan, Buryatia, Russians from the most widely differing regions of Russia who have accepted Islam, swear an oath of allegiance to Dokka Umarov as the legitimate leader of the Muslims. And wherever he is – in Moscow, Blagoveshchensk, Tyumen – when a Muslim swears that oath, he becomes a fighting unit. Just because these people are not visible in their cities just now and are not active, that doesn’t mean that they won’t become active in the future."
In a May 2011 interview posted on the pro Caucasus Emirate Kavkaz Center website, Umarov stated "Now we know that we should not secede, but must unite with our brothers in faith. We must recapture Astrakhan, Idel-Ural, Siberia and indigenous Muslim lands."
Professor Gordon M. Hahn of the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, described the Caucasus Emirate to be a decentralized organisation, but structured hierarchically with Emir Dokku Umarov appointing the Emirs of each Vilayat or Province, who in turn swear him a bay'at or oath of allegiance. Each vilayat contains multiple Fronts or Sectors, which in turn contain multiple Jamaats or units. The vilayats, sectors and local jamaats independently raise funds, recruit members and carry out operations, while following the overall strategy as set by the Emirate's leadership.
In May 2009, Umarov established a ruling consultative body, or Majlis al Shura, for the Caucasus Emirate consisting of his top commanders. At the time of the announcement, the positions and the individuals holding them were:
The Caucasus Emirate maintains a Supreme Sharia Court, which is headed by a Qadi. This position has been held by Anzor Astemirov (killed in March 2010), Magomed Vagabov (killed August 2010), and Aliaskhab Kebekov (killed in April 2015).
In early 2009, Dokka Umarov announced the revival of the shahid suicide attackers unit Riyad-us Saliheen Brigade of Martyrs, which has been led by Said Buryatsky (killed March 2010) and Aslan Byutukayev.
Umarov died due to food poisoning on 7 September 2013. He was succeeded by Aliaskhab Kebekov (killed April 2015) and Magomed Suleymanov (killed August 2015).
Caucasus Emirate receives significant funds from overseas Islam terrorists organizations, but the primary source of funding for the Caucasus Emirate is a wide range of criminal activity. Militants extort money from local businessmen and residents in their areas of operation under the premise of a religious tax. Russian media reports in early 2011 claimed that militants extorted a 20 per cent "jihad" tax from prominent figures considered to be pro-government. In addition to extortion, Russian officials have alleged that Caucasus Emirate militants also derive funds from involvement in Drug trafficking and Robbery.
Claimed and alleged attacks
List of Emirs of the Caucasus Emirate
*Note: There was confusion as to who was Emir, as Umarov issued a second video a few days later saying he had not stepped down.