What’s the Minbar doing in Moscow? (Part 3)

In the previous two parts of this short series (here and here), we saw that the Jordanian radical ideologue Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi and his website, Minbar al-Tawhid wa-l-Jihad, have been closely involved in efforts to support the mujahidun in the Caucasus by offering advice, translating books into Russian and encouraging and praising their efforts. We still don’t know why this is the case, however. In this final part of the series, we will try to answer that question. The Shari’a Committee To understand why al-Maqdisi and his website are so interested in the mujahidun in the Caucasus, we need to go back a few years to an interview that al-Maqdisi gave to the Jordanian newspaper Al-‘Arab al-Yawm, which was published on 5 July 2005. As regular Jihadica readers know, al-Maqdisi used his week-long release from prison in that year to criticise his former pupil Abu Mus’ab al-Zarqawi and to scold

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What’s the Minbar doing in Moscow? (part 2)

In part 1 of this short series of posts, we saw that the Minbar al-Tawhid wa-l-Jihad website published a communique by the leader of the Islamic Emirate in the Caucasus, Dokku ‘Umarov, claiming responsibility for the attacks in Moscow on 29 March 2010. This was slightly odd since the Minbar mostly publishes books, articles and fatwas, not claims of responsibility for attacks committed anywhere. Although a quick glance at the website may give the impression that this is indeed an exception, a more detailed look reveals that it is part of a broader trend. It appears that the Minbar has been involved in the conflict between Russia and the Islamic Emirate of the Caucasus for some time. For instance, the Jordanian owner of the website, Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi, has written an epistle in support of the mujahidin in the Caucasus. In it, al-Maqdisi praises the supposed ideological purity, leadership and

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What’s the Minbar doing in Moscow? (Part 1)

Although I’m awfully late in paying attention to it, there is an interesting dimension to the Moscow metro attacks that occurred just over a month ago that is relevant for jihad watchers but has not been dealt with in the media or blogs as far as I know. While attention has obviously focused on the attacks themselves and on the video claim of responsibility by the leader of the Islamic Emirate of the Caucasus, Dokku ‘Umarov, I have not seen any references to a written statement by the same man posted on the online jihadi library Minbar al-Tawhid wa-l-Jihad (the Pulpit of the Unity of God and Jihad). This statement – and particularly the fact that it was posted on the Minbar, the largest jihadi online library – is interesting. It indicates a development of potentially great significance to the future of jihadi ideological production. This post is the first

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Magazine Update

It has been a good week for jihadi magazine buffs. There are new issues of Qadaya Jihadiyya and Tala‘i Khurasan, as well as two brand new magazines, Sawt al-Qawqaliz (sic) and Markaz Ansar al-I‘lam. The newcomers are not particularly impressive and I do not expect them to last long in the fiercely competitive world of jihadi media. Sawt al-Qawqaliz seems intended as a mouthpiece for the Caucasus Emirate, and it is clearly the work of non-native Arabic speakers, for the language is full or errors and low on idiom. Incidentally, I cannot figure out what “Qawqaliz” is supposed to mean (suggestions anyone?). It could simply be a misspelling of Qawqaz, but how could they get the very name of the magazine wrong? In terms of content, the 24-page publication is almost entirely focused on Caucasian issues and does not even mention Gaza. The Shabab of Somalia are the only outsiders

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From the Ingush Front: Intel Units Paved the Way for a Better Jihad

[Mike Honcho]  The Ingush State of the Caucasus Emirate released a statement last week via Kavkaz Center highlighting some its failures and successes since the 2nd Chechen War. While it contained the usual lip service to mujahidin unity and the need to expel the Russians from the Northern Caucasus, it also detailed how, even though outnumbered and outgunned, the establishment of Special Operation Groups (SOG) proved tremendously effective in eliminating apostates, hypocrites, and traitors. The message begins with an admission of bad judgment, stating that the mujahidin realized they had been too lenient on some of their fellow Ingush who were employed in the Republic’s security and military services. Allegedly there was an unwritten agreement between the mujahidin and local security forces. The agreement was that as long as Muslims and resistance fighters were left alone, the focus of mujahidin attacks would be on the Russians and that state employees

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Amir Hussein’s Message: Mujahidin are Unified

[Mike Honcho]  Today Kavkaz Center released portions of a transcript from a June 12, 2008 video by the commander of the Shali Sector of the Caucasus Emirate Eastern Front, Amir Hussein (Hussein Gakaev). Hussein is a Chechen with considerable fighting credentials, and his family has a long history of involvement in the resistance movement. During the last twelve years, he lost three brothers in the fighting, and had a sister kidnapped. His younger brother, Muslim Gakaev, is the Deputy Commander of the Shali sector. Prior to the formation of the Caucasus Emirate in late 2007, Amir Hussein was the Minister of Internal Affairs of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria for several months. The portion of the video transcribed had two main themes: one, that the mujahidin are unified, and two, that the services of the members of the so-called Chechen Government in-exile, which he calls the “London Criminal Group,” are

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More Commentary on the Russian-Georgian Conflict from the Caucasus Emirate

[Mike Honcho] This past week, the editorial board of the Caucasus Emirate asked the Chief of their Information and Analytical Service, Movladi Udugov to comment on the events in Georgia and the resulting challenges in relations between Russia and the West, as well as thoughts on the conflict from the leadership of the Emirate. Udugov starts by stating that all sides in the conflict made serious miscalculations, with Georgia and the West making larger errors in judgment than the Russians. The West was fooled into thinking that because of its non-interference in matters concerning the Russian republics of the Northern Caucasus that Russia would not meddle in the affairs of the sovereign Southern Caucasus nations. Additionally, the West’s approval of the Russian campaign of terror against Muslims in the Northern Caucasus within the context of the “War on Islam,” combined with Russia’s newfound energy revenue, re-awakened the “imperial instinct” of

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War in Georgia Good for Jihadis

The consensus on the forums is that Russia’s war with Georgia in South Ossetia is a boon for the Caucasus Emirate, a Jihadi group that seeks rule over the North Caucasus. According to its founder and self-proclaimed amir, Dokka Umarov, the emirate includes: “Dagestan, Nokhchiycho (Chechnya), Ghalghaycho (Ingushetia), Iriston (North Ossetia), the Nogay steppe (includes parts of northern Chechnya, Dagestan and Stavropol district) and the combined areas of Kabarda, Bulkar and Karachay.” (see his proclamation) Basically, all of these regions are north of Georgia in Russia. On Ekhlaas, Shamil `Abd Allah opines that Russia’s incursion into Georgia will take pressure off the mujahids and turn Russia’s attention away from the Georgia-Chechnya border.  Quraysh1 cryptically observes that the war will “open the door of help to the mujahids by means of Georgia.” On his website, popular Jihadi scholar Hamid al-`Ali writes that the war is really between the West and Russia. 

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Interview with Umarov, North Caucasus Amir

The attention of Western analysts today was focused on Abu Yahya al-Libi’s statement on Somalia. I read it and there’s not a lot there. Basically, Libi says keep fighting, no matter who is in power, until an Islamic state is established. More interesting is Kavkaz Center’s newly-released interview with Dokka Umarov, the amir of the North Caucasus Emirate that he declared at the end of 2007. Here’s what stands out: The decision to declare an emirate was not taken lightly and occurred after much debate. Umarov acknowledges that he has taken a lot of heat from fellow travelers for aligning himself ideologically with al-Qaeda and declaring war on the world. The mujahids do control some territory, but their control is not absolute. Therefore, he does not want his supporters rushing to form a state. The two translations, Arabic and English, diverge over what sort of state Umarov is talking about.

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