Caucasus Emirate

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Not to be confused with Caucasian Imamate or North Caucasian Emirate.
Caucasus Emirate
Кавказский Эмират
Participant in Insurgency in the North Caucasus
Flag of Caucasian Emirate.svg
Flag of the Caucasus Emirate
Active 31 October 2007 – present
Ideology Salafist Jihadism[1]
Islamism
Islamic fundamentalism
Separatism
Religious Nationalism
Leaders Dokka Umarov  (2007–2013)[2]
Ali Abu Mukhammad (2014 – Present)
Headquarters bases in North Caucasus
Area of
operations
Russia
Originated as Flag of Chechen Republic of Ichkeria.svg Chechen Republic of Ichkeria
Flag of the Caucasian Emirate.svg Caucasus Front
Allies Flag of Jihad.svg Mujahideen
Flag of Jihad.svg Al-Qaeda
Jaish al-Muhajireen wal-Ansar.jpg Jaish al-Muhajireen wal-Ansar
Flag of Taliban.svg Taliban
Flag of Jihad.svg Al-Nusra Front
Opponents  Russian Federation
Flag of the Chechen Republic.svg Chechen Republic
North Caucasian Republics
Battles
and wars
Second Chechen War
Insurgency in the North Caucasus

The Caucasus Emirate (IK Chechen: Имарат Кавказ Imarat Kavkaz;Russian: Кавказский Эмират Kavkazskiy Emirat), also known as theCaucasian Emirate, is a militant Jihadist organisation active in Russia. Its objective is to expel the Russian presence from the North Caucasusand to establish an independent Islamic emirate in the region.[3]Caucasus Emirate also refers to the self-declared, unrecognized statethat the group seeks to establish.[1][4][5] Partially a successor to the secessionist Chechen Republic of Ichkeria, it was officially announced on October 31, 2007, by former President of Ichkeria Dokka Umarov, who became its first emir.

History[edit]

Background[edit]

Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union in December 1991, Russia became an independent nation. Chechen nationalists, led by Dzhokhar Dudayev, declared the secession of Chechnya from Russian as an independent Chechen Republic of Ichkeria (ChRI). Following two devastating wars with the Russian Federation in the nineties, the ChRI fought an insurgencyagainst 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.[1]

Declaration[edit]

On 31 October, 2007, the separatist news agency Chechenpress reported that the President of Ichkeria Dokka Umarov had proclaimed an Emirate in the Caucasus and declared himself its Emir, thereby abolishing the Chechen Republic of Ichkeriaand its presidency.[6] The declaration of the Caucasian 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.[7] 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.[8] 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.”

Anzor Astemirov, a top rebel leader from the Russia’s Kabardino-Balkar Republic (KBR), took credit for the idea of establishing the Emirate. He said he had unsuccessfully tried to persuade the Chechen rebel commander Shamil Basayev to do this in Nalchik in 2005, but Basayev strongly declined and instead he demanded the KBR rebel leaders pledge an Oath of Allegiance to the Chechen President Abdul-Halim Sadulayev in return of the Chechen assistance in the Nalchik uprising attempt; supposedly, Basayev’s death in 2006 paved the way for the declaration of the Emirate.[9]

Leadership crisis[edit]

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 became his successor.[10][11][12]However, on 3 August 2010,[13] the original announcement had been replaced by one which stated, that Umarov only “proposed to appoint” Vadalov his successor.[14] A few days later Umarov said he had no intention of stepping down and called the video announcing his resignation a fabrication.[13][15][16][17] The announcements drove the emirate into a state of turmoil, with several key rebel leaders resigning their loyalty to Umarov.[18] According to STRATFOR Umarov had prerecorded a stepping down message to be used in case of his disappearance, which was most likely leaked prematurely. In July 2011, a sharia court ruled in favour of Dokka Umarov.[19] 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.[20]

Organizational structure[edit]

Overview[edit]

Proposed divisions of the Caucasus Emirate

The Caucasus Emirate is claimed to be composed of the following Vilayats(provinces):

However, according to Umarov, the bases of the rebel fighters loyal to him “spread from Azerbaijan to Abkhazia.”[9]

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.”[22]

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.”[23]

Leadership[edit]

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.[24]

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:[25]

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 Ali Abu Muhammad al-Dagestani.[26]

In early 2009, Dokka Umarov announced the revival of the shahid suicide attackers unit Riyad-us Saliheen Brigade of Martyrs,[27] which has been led by Said Buryatsky (killed March 2010) and Aslan Byutukayev.

Umarov died due to food poisoning on 7 September 2013.[2][28] He was succeeded by Ali Abu Muhammad al-Dagestani in March 2014.[29]

External relations[edit]

Western Countries[edit]

In the same October 2007 statement in which Umarov proclaimed the Caucasian Emirate, he also described the United States, Great Britain and Israel as common enemies of Muslims worldwide.[30] However, on November 20, 2007, Anzor Astemirov, then head of the Vilayet KBK, said that “Even if we wanted to threaten America and Europe every day, it is clear for anybody who understands politics that we do not have any real clashes of interests [with the West]. The people in theWhite House know very well that we have nothing to do with America at the moment.” In his statement, Astemirov not only described the Caucasian rebels’ threats against the West as empty, but also even asked the United States for assistance in their fight against “Russian aggression.”[31] Following its criticism, many rebel websites removed the phrase that regarded Western countries as enemies.[32]

Reaction to the 2008 South Ossetia war[edit]

On August 9, 2008 in response to the conflict between Georgia and Russia, Movladi Udugov stated that “for the time being neither Tbilisi nor Washington has appealed to us with any requests or offers” to fight alongside Georgian forces against the Russian forces. Udugov also noted: “But I clearly can say that the command of the Caucasus Emirate is following with great interest the development of the situation.”

Syrian Civil War[edit]

A number of Chechen and other North Caucasian volunteers travelled to fight in the Syrian Civil War against the government of Bashar al-Assad. Dokku Umarov released a video in November 2012 expressing support for all those trying to install Sharia law in Syria, but rebuked those who had weakened the Jihad in the North Caucasus by leaving to fight there.[33] However, as the war went on and North Caucasians took an increasingly prominent role in the fighting owing to their combat experience, those who went to fight in Syria were viewed increasingly positively by the Emirate’s websites and supporters.

In 2013, a Chechen known as Emir Salauddin was appointed as the official representative of the Caucasus Emirate in Syria.[33] In December 2013, the Chechen led Syrian Jihadist group Jaish al-Muhajireen wal-Ansar split away from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and appointed Salauddin as their new commander, emphasising that they wished to continue respecting the Oath of Allegiance they had made to the Caucasus Emirate’s Dokku Umarov.[34] Following his appointment as the Emirates new leader, Ali Abu Mukhammad advised the North Caucasians in Syria to remain independent rather than align with other groups. He also voiced support for Al-Qaeda affiliated Al-Nusra Front and criticised Abu Omar al-Shishani, the Chechen commander who formerly lead the Jaish al-Muhajireen wal-Ansar before joining the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.[35]

Designation as a terrorist organization[edit]

Both the Russian Federation and the United States have designated the Caucasus Emirate as a terrorist organisation.[36][37]The United States government offered US$5 million for information leading to the capture of the group’s leader, Dokka Umarov.[38] On 29 July, 2011, the United Nations Security Council Al-Qaeda and Taliban Sanctions Committee added the Caucasus Emirate to the list of entities associated with Al-Qaeda.[39] In December 2013, the Caucasus Emirate was listed as a terrorist group by the United Kingdom and Canada.[40][41]

Claimed and alleged attacks[edit]

  • The Caucasus Emirate claimed responsibility for the 2009 Nevsky Express bombing in an online statement describing it as an “act of sabotage”, and part of a series of operations targeting strategic sites in Russia.[42]
  • The 2010 Moscow Metro bombings which left 39 people dead, and over 100 injured were ordered by Doku Umarov[43]
  • In December 2010, Austrian police arrested a Chechen refugee on suspicion of planning a militant attack on NATO targets. “Belgian authorities suspect a group of Chechen extremists, who were seeking to set up a religious state in northern Chechnya, planned to attack NATO facilities in Belgium,” Interior Ministry spokesman Rudolf Gollia said.[44]
  • The Caucasus Emirate claimed responsibility for the Domodedovo International Airport bombing, which killed at least 36 people.[45]
  • The group was the prime suspect in the 2012 Makhachkala attack that occurred on 3 May 2012 and killed at least 13 people[46]
  • After it was revealed that the perpetrators in the Boston Marathon bombings were ethnic Chechens, the Command ofVilayat Dagestan denied any link to the bombing or the Tsarnaev brothers and stated that it was at war with Russia, not the United States. It also said that it had sworn off violence against civilians since 2012.[47][48] The statement said “The Command of the Province of Dagestan indicates in this regard that the Caucasian Mujahideen are not fighting against the United States of America. We are at war with Russia, which is not only responsible for the occupation of the Caucasus, but also for heinous crimes against Muslims. Also, remember that even in respect to the enemy state of Russia, which is fighting the Caucasus Emirate, there is an order by the Emir Dokku Umarov, which prohibits strikes on civilian targets.[49]In July 2013, Doku Umarov released a video message rescinding his prior directions not to attack civilians, declaring that the Russians had construed the declaration as a sign of weakness and had stepped up attacks in the North Caucasus.[50]
  • The October 2013 Volgograd bus bombing was blamed on the group[51]
  • A statement and video claiming responsibility for the December 2013 Volgograd bombings was placed on the website of the Caucasus Emirate’s Vilayat Dagestan. The suicide bombings killed 34 people overall[52]

List of Emirs of the Caucasus Emirate[edit]

Emirs of Caucasus Emirate
Order Name Tenure
1 Dokku Umarov 31 October 2007 – 1 August 2010
2 Aslambek Vadalov 1 August 2010 – 3 August 2010
3 Dokku Umarov 3 August 2010 – 7 September 2013 (deceased)[2]
4 Ali Abu Mukhammad 18 March 2014 – Present[53]

*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.[15]

List of active separatist movements in Europe

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Map of active separatist movements in Europe. Red names indicate regions with movements that only claim greater autonomy within the actual state. Black names indicate regions with important secessionist movements, although both categories include moderate movements. The nations highlighted in colors are the territories claimed by the local nationalist groups, including areas out of the state’s borders and cases of annexation to other states (click to enlarge).

This is a list of currently active separatist movements in Europe. Separatism often refers to full political secession,though separatist movements may seek nothing more than greater autonomy.

What is and is not considered an autonomist or secessionist movement is sometimes contentious. Entries on this list must meet three criteria:

  1. They are active movements with active members;
  2. They are seeking greater autonomy or self-determination for a geographic region (as opposed to personal autonomy);
  3. They are the citizen/peoples of the conflict area and do not come from another country.

Under each region listed is one or more of the following:

Various ethnic groups in Europe are seeking greater autonomy or independence. In the European Union (EU), several of these groups are members of the European Free Alliance (EFA). In some cases, the group seeks union with a neighbouring country.

Albania Albania

Northern Epirus

Azerbaijan Azerbaijan

Belgium Belgium

Further information: Partition of Belgium

 Brussels-Capital Region

 Flemish Region or the Flemish Community (the latter includes Brussels)

German-speaking Community of Belgium

 Walloon Region

Bosnia and Herzegovina Bosnia and Herzegovina

 Republika Srpska

 Croatian Republic of Herzeg-Bosnia

Croatia Croatia

Istria

Rijeka

Cyprus Cyprus

Breakaway state:

 Northern Cyprus

Czech Republic Czech Republic

 Moravia

Czech Silesia

Denmark Denmark

For movements in Greenland, see List of active separatist movements in North America.

 Bornholm

 Faroe Islands

Finland Finland

 Åland

Sápmi (area) Sápmi

France France

Some of the claimed nations and/or regions – 1. Brittany, 2. France proper (excluding Wallonia), 3. Occitania, 4.Lorraine which is sometimes part of France proper, 5. Alsace, 6. Basque Country, 7. Catalonia and 8. Corsica.

Secessionist movements
Gradual and eventual secession
Autonomist movements

Georgia (country) Georgia

Breakaway states:

 South Ossetia

Proposed autonomous movements:

Armenia Armenians in Samtskhe-Javakheti

Azerbaijan Borchali Azerbaijanis

Germany Germany

Bavaria

East Frisia

Franconia

Lusatia

Schleswig-Holstein

Italy Italy

Sardinia

South Tyrol

Veneto

Kosovo Kosovo

See: International recognition of Kosovo

Serbia North Kosovo

Latvia Latvia

Latgale flag.JPG Latgale

 Moldova

Breakaway state:

 Transnistria

Proposed independent and autonomous movements:

 Gagauzia

Taraclia[26]

Netherlands Netherlands

Frisia

  • Ethnic group: Frisian
    • Proposed autonomous region: Frisia
      • Political party: Frisian National Party, (EFA member)
      • Status: Democratic movement seeking greater autonomy for Frisian-speaking people in Friesland[27]

Norway Norway

 Sápmi

Kvenland

Poland Poland

Upper Silesia

Kashubia

  • Ethnic group: Kashubians
    • Proposed autonomous area: Kashubia
    • An association of people: Kaszëbskô Jednota who want to actively participate in the life of the Kashubian nation and who recognize its right to cultural autonomy and self-identity within the multi-ethnic society.

Romania Romania

The geographical distribution of Hungarians in Romania

Székely Land, Transylvania, Banat, Partium

Szekler National Council,[37] Hungarian National Council of Transylvania, Liga Pro Europa, a Romanian-Hungarian regionalist NGO.,[36] Provincia, a group of intellectuals promoting regionalization of Romania,[36] Autonomy for Transylvania (AFT) campaign, it demands autonomy for Transylvania.[38] Democratic League of Transylvania (Liga Transilvania Democrată), a regionalist NGO,[39] an active supporter of the “Autonomy for Transylvania” campaign,[40] League of Banat (Liga Banateana), a regionalist NGO.[41][42]

Russia Russia

Russia’s North Caucasus

Russia’s other European regions[edit]

Serbia Serbia

Vojvodina Vojvodina

Sandžak

Preševo Valley

Breakaway state:

Kosovo Republic of Kosovo

Slovakia Slovakia

The geographical distribution of Hungarians in Slovakia

Autonomist movements:

  • Political parties: Party of the Hungarian Community,[48] In 2010, the party renewed their demand for autonomy.[49]
    • Goals: Territorial autonomy for the compact Hungarian ethnic block and cultural autonomy for the regions of sporadic Hungarian presence.[50]

Spain Spain

Areas in Spain with separatist movements.

The disputed territory of Olivenza.

 Canary Islands (Main article: Canarian nationalism)

 Andalusia (Main article: Andalusian nationalism)

 Aragon

Asturias Asturias (Main article: Asturian nationalism)

Balearic Islands Balearic Islands

Basque Country (autonomous community) Basque Country (autonomous community) (Main article: Basque nationalism)

Cantabria Cantabria

Catalonia Catalonia (Catalan independence)

 Castile

Galicia (Main article: Galician nationalism)

Bandera del País Leonés.svg Leonese Country (Main article: Leonesismo)

Sweden Sweden

Sápmi (area) Sapmi

Scania

Switzerland Switzerland

Geneva

  • Regional group: Genevan
    • Proposed state: La République de Genève” or “Free State of Geneva”

Jura

Flag of Canton of Tessin.svg Ticino

Turkey Turkey

Flag of Kurdistan.svg Northern Kurdistan[53]

Ukraine Ukraine

Breakaway state:

Map of protests by region, indicating severity of the unrest at its peak

Federal State of Novorossiya Novorossiya

Disputed status:

 Republic of Crimea

City of Sevastopol

Proposed autonomous regions:

 Crimea

Subcarpathian Ruthenia

United Kingdom United Kingdom and its dependencies

The United Kingdom, the Crown Dependencies and the Republic of Ireland (click to enlarge)

Constituent countries of the United Kingdom

See also: Home Nations

England

 Cornwall (possibly including the ScillonianCross.svg Isles of Scilly)

 England

Ceremonial counties in Southern England[64]

 Yorkshire (historical county)

Northern Ireland

 Ulster

Reunification of Northern Ireland with Ireland

Scotland

 Scotland

Northern Isles ( Orkney and  Shetland)

Western Isles Council Flag.svg Outer Hebrides (Western Isles)

Wales

 Wales

Crown dependencies

Channel Islands[edit]

 Bailiwick of Guernsey (including  Alderney,  Sark and other smaller islands and rocks)

 Bailiwick of Jersey (including smaller islands and rocks)

Isle of Man

Overseas Territories

For movements in other British Overseas Territories, see the List of active separatist movements in North America.

 Gibraltar