Caucasus Emirate

Caucasus Emirate

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The Caucasus Emirate (Chechen Cyrillic
Cyrillic alphabet
The Cyrillic script or azbuka is an alphabetic writing system developed in the First Bulgarian Empire during the 10th century AD at the Preslav Literary School...

: Имарат Кавказ Imarat Kavkaz, ) also known as the Caucasian Emirate is a self-proclaimed virtual state entity, partially successor to the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria
Chechen Republic of Ichkeria
The Chechen Republic of Ichkeria is the unrecognized secessionist government of Chechnya. The republic was proclaimed in late 1991 by Dzokhar Dudayev, and fought two devastating wars between separatists and the Russian Federation which denounced secession...

 and was officially announced on October 31, 2007 by former President of Ichkeria
President of Ichkeria
This is a list of Presidents of the unrecognised Chechen Republic of Ichkeria, a pro-independence movement that controlled most of Chechnya from 1991 to 1999...

 Dokka Umarov, who became the first Emir
Emir
Emir , meaning "commander", "general", or "prince"; also transliterated as Amir, Aamir or Ameer) is a title of high office, used throughout the Muslim world...

. Its military branch is the Caucasian Front
Caucasian Front (Chechen War)
The Caucasian Front also called Caucasus Front or the Caucasian Mujahadeen, was formally established in May 2005 as an Islamic structural unit of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria's armed forces by the decree of the separatist President of Chechnya Abdul-Halim Sadulayev during the Second Chechen...

 organization. Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

 and the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 have designated the Caucasus Emirate as a terrorist
Terrorism
Terrorism is the systematic use of terror, especially as a means of coercion. In the international community, however, terrorism has no universally agreed, legally binding, criminal law definition...

 organisation. The US has offered $5 million for information leading to the capture of the group's leader Doku Umarov
Doku Umarov
Doku Khamatovich Umarov is a major Chechen Islamist rebel militant in Russia. He is responsible for numerous terror attacks on civilians, earning himself the nickname "Russia's Osama Bin Laden"....

.

Declaration


On October 31, 2007, the separatist news agency Chechenpress
Chechenpress
State Information Agency Chechenpress is the news agency of the Chechen separatists who proclaim themselves to be the representatives of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria...

 reported that the President of Ichkeria
President of Ichkeria
This is a list of Presidents of the unrecognised Chechen Republic of Ichkeria, a pro-independence movement that controlled most of Chechnya from 1991 to 1999...

 Dokka Umarov had proclaimed an Emirate
Emirate
An emirate is a political territory that is ruled by a dynastic Muslim monarch styled emir.-Etymology:Etymologically emirate or amirate is the quality, dignity, office or territorial competence of any emir ....

 in the Caucasus
Caucasus
The Caucasus, also Caucas or Caucasia , is a geopolitical region at the border of Europe and Asia, and situated between the Black and the Caspian sea...

 and declared himself its Emir
Emir
Emir , meaning "commander", "general", or "prince"; also transliterated as Amir, Aamir or Ameer) is a title of high office, used throughout the Muslim world...

, thereby abolishing the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria
Chechen Republic of Ichkeria
The Chechen Republic of Ichkeria is the unrecognized secessionist government of Chechnya. The republic was proclaimed in late 1991 by Dzokhar Dudayev, and fought two devastating wars between separatists and the Russian Federation which denounced secession...

 and its presidency. The declaration of the Caucasian Emirate was quickly condemned by Akhmed Zakayev
Akhmed Zakayev
Akhmed Khalidovich Zakayev is the former Deputy Prime Minister and the current Prime Minister of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria , which is unrecognised by other countries...

, Umarov's own minister of foreign affairs; Zakayev, who lives in exile in London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

, called upon all Chechen separatist fighters and politicians to pledge allegiance directly to his government in exile
Government in exile
A government in exile is a political group that claims to be a country's legitimate government, but for various reasons is unable to exercise its legal power, and instead resides in a foreign country. Governments in exile usually operate under the assumption that they will one day return to their...

 in an attempt to isolate Umarov from power. Zakayev also expressed regret that Umarov had caved in to pressure from "provocateurs
Provocation
Provocation and provoke may refer to:* Provocation , a type of legal defense in court which claims the "victim" provoked the accused's actions...

" 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
Shura
Shura is an Arabic word for "consultation". The Quran and Muhammad encourage Muslims to decide their affairs in consultation with those who will be affected by that decision....

 (the council
Committee
A committee is a type of small deliberative assembly that is usually intended to remain subordinate to another, larger deliberative assembly—which when organized so that action on committee requires a vote by all its entitled members, is called the "Committee of the Whole"...

 of rebel field commanders) or anybody else to declare the Emirate
Emirate
An emirate is a political territory that is ruled by a dynastic Muslim monarch styled emir.-Etymology:Etymologically emirate or amirate is the quality, dignity, office or territorial competence of any emir ....

, as it is "his duty as a Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

" to establish an Islamic state
Islamic State
An Islamic state is a type of government, in which the primary basis for government is Islamic religious law...

 "as required by Sharia
Sharia
Sharia law, is the moral code and religious law of Islam. Sharia is derived from two primary sources of Islamic law: the precepts set forth in the Quran, and the example set by the Islamic prophet Muhammad in the Sunnah. Fiqh jurisprudence interprets and extends the application of sharia to...

."

Anzor Astemirov
Anzor Astemirov
Anzor Astemirov , also known as Emir Sayfullah , was an Islamist militant leader in the Russian republic of Kabardino-Balkaria, in the North Caucasus....

, a top rebel leader from the Russia's Kabardino-Balkar Republic (KBR), took credit for the idea of establishing the Emirate. He said he already unsuccessfully tried to persuade the Chechen rebel commander Shamil Basayev
Shamil Basayev
Shamil Salmanovich Basayev was a Chechen militant Islamist and a leader of the Chechen rebel movement.Starting as a field commander in the Transcaucasus, Basayev led guerrilla campaigns against the Russian troops for years, as well as launching mass-hostage takings of civilians, with his goal...

 to do this in Nalchik
Nalchik
Nalchik is the capital city of the Kabardino-Balkar Republic, Russia, situated at an altitude of in the foothills of the Caucasus Mountains; about northwest of Beslan in the Republic of North Ossetia–Alania. It covers an area of...

 in 2005, but Basayev strongly declined and instead he demanded the KBR rebel leaders to be pledge an oath
Oath
An oath is either a statement of fact or a promise calling upon something or someone that the oath maker considers sacred, usually God, as a witness to the binding nature of the promise or the truth of the statement of fact. To swear is to take an oath, to make a solemn vow...

 of loyalty 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.

Structure



The Caucasus Emirate is claimed to be composed of the following wilayah
Wilayah
A wilāyah or vilâyet , or vilayat in Urdu and Turkish, is an administrative division, usually translated as "province", rarely as "governorate". The word comes from the Arabic "w-l-y", "to govern": a wāli — "governor" — governs a wilayah, "that which is governed"...

s
(provinces):
  • Vilayat Noxçiyçö (Chechnya
    Chechnya
    The Chechen Republic , commonly referred to as Chechnya , also spelled Chechnia or Chechenia, sometimes referred to as Ichkeria , is a federal subject of Russia . It is located in the southeastern part of Europe in the Northern Caucasus mountains. The capital of the republic is the city of Grozny...

    )
  • Vilayat Ġalġayçö (Ingushetia
    Ingushetia
    The Republic of Ingushetia is a federal subject of Russia , located in the North Caucasus region with its capital at Magas. In terms of area, the republic is the smallest of Russia's federal subjects except for the two federal cities, Moscow and Saint Petersburg...

     and North Ossetia)
  • Vilayat Cherkessia (Adygea
    Adygea
    The Republic of Adygea is a federal subject of Russia enclaved within Krasnodar Krai. Its area is with a population of 440,388 . Its capital is Maykop.-Geography:...

     and southern part of Krasnodar Krai
    Krasnodar Krai
    -External links:* **...

    )
  • Vilayat Dagestan
    Dagestan
    The Republic of Dagestan is a federal subject of Russia, located in the North Caucasus region. Its capital and the largest city is Makhachkala, located at the center of Dagestan on the Caspian Sea...

  • The joint Vilayat of Kabarda, Balkar (Kabardino-Balkaria
    Kabardino-Balkaria
    The Kabardino-Balkar Republic , or Kabardino-Balkaria , is a federal subject of Russia located in the North Caucasus. Population: -Geography:The republic is situated in the North Caucasus mountains, with plains in the northern part....

    ) and Karachay (the greater part of Karachay-Cherkessia
    Karachay-Cherkessia
    The Karachay-Cherkess Republic , or Karachay-Cherkessia is a federal subject of Russia . Population: -Geography:*Area: *Borders:**internal: Krasnodar Krai , Kabardino-Balkar Republic , Stavropol Krai ....

    )
  • Vilayat Nogay steppe (northern part of Krasnodar Krai
    Krasnodar Krai
    -External links:* **...

     and Stavropol Krai
    Stavropol Krai
    Stavropol Krai is a federal subject of Russia . Its administrative center is the city of Stavropol. Population: -Geography:Stavropol Krai encompasses the central part of the Fore-Caucasus and most of the northern slopes of Caucasus Major...

    )


However, according to Umarov, the bases of the rebel fighters loyal to him "spread from Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan , officially the Republic of Azerbaijan is the largest country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded by the Caspian Sea to the east, Russia to the north, Georgia to the northwest, Armenia to the west, and Iran to...

 to Abkhazia
Abkhazia
Abkhazia is a disputed political entity on the eastern coast of the Black Sea and the south-western flank of the Caucasus.Abkhazia considers itself an independent state, called the Republic of Abkhazia or Apsny...

."

In August 2008 Movladi Udugov
Movladi Udugov
Movladi Saidarbievich Udugov was the First Deputy Prime Minister of the separatist Chechen Republic of Ichkeria...

, 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
Tatarstan
The Republic of Tatarstan is a federal subject of Russia located in the Volga Federal District. Its capital is the city of Kazan, which is one of Russia's largest and most prosperous cities. The republic borders with Kirov, Ulyanovsk, Samara, and Orenburg Oblasts, and with the Mari El, Udmurt,...

, Bashkortostan
Bashkortostan
The Republic of Bashkortostan , also known as Bashkiria is a federal subject of Russia . It is located between the Volga River and the Ural Mountains. Its capital is the city of Ufa...

, 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
Moscow
Moscow is the capital, the most populous city, and the most populous federal subject of Russia. The city is a major political, economic, cultural, scientific, religious, financial, educational, and transportation centre of Russia and the continent...

, Blagoveshchensk
Blagoveshchensk
Blagoveshchensk is a city and the administrative center of Amur Oblast, Russia. Population: -Early history of the region:The early residents of both sides of the Amur in the region of today's Blagoveshchensk were the Daurs and Duchers...

, Tyumen
Tyumen
Tyumen is the largest city and the administrative center of Tyumen Oblast, Russia, located on the Tura River east of Moscow. Population: Tyumen is the oldest Russian settlement in Siberia. Founded in 16th century to support Russia's eastward expansion, the city has remained one of the most...

 – 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."

On 1 August 2010 Kavkaz Center
Kavkaz Center
The Kavkaz Center is a privately run website by pro-Chechen which aims to be "a Chechen internet agency which is independent, international and Islamic" that "does not represent the viewpoint of any state structures"...

, the official web site of the Emirate, distributed a video where Doku Umarov indicated that he had stepped down from his position as Emir and appointed Aslambek Vadalov
Aslambek Vadalov
Aslambek Ilimsultanovich Vadalov , also known by his nom de guerre Emir Aslambek, is a Chechen rebel leader fighting in the North Caucasus. He was appointed the supreme leader of the Caucasus Emirate on 1 August 2010, though this was later retracted....

 to became his successor. However, on 3 August 2010, the original announcement had been replaced by one which stated, that Umarov only "proposed to appoint" Vadalov his successor. 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. According to STRATFOR
Stratfor
Strategic Forecasting, Inc., more commonly known as STRATFOR, is a global intelligence company founded in 1996 in Austin, Texas by George Friedman who is the founder, chief intelligence officer, and CEO of the company...

 Umarov had prerecorded a stepping down message to be used in case of his disappearance, which was most likely leaked prematurely.

Abortive declaration of hostility towards the West


In the same October 2007 statement in which Umarov proclaimed the Caucasian Emirate, he also described the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, Great Britain
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 and Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

 as common enemies of Muslims worldwide.

However, on November 20, 2007, Anzor Astemirov, head of the Yarmuk Jamaat
Yarmuk Jamaat
Yarmuk Jamaat is a militant Islamist jamaat organization connected to numerous attacks against the local and federal security forces in Russian republic of Kabardino-Balkaria in the North Caucasus...

, 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 the White House
White House
The White House is the official residence and principal workplace of the president of the United States. Located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW in Washington, D.C., the house was designed by Irish-born James Hoban, and built between 1792 and 1800 of white-painted Aquia sandstone in the Neoclassical...

 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
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 for assistance in their fight against "Russian aggression." Following its criticism, many rebel websites removed the phrase that regarded Western countries as enemies.

Reaction to the 2008 South Ossetia war


On August 9, 2008 in response to the conflict between Georgia
Georgia (country)
Georgia is a sovereign state in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded to the west by the Black Sea, to the north by Russia, to the southwest by Turkey, to the south by Armenia, and to the southeast by Azerbaijan. The capital of...

 and Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

, Movladi Udugov stated that "for the time being neither Tbilisi
Tbilisi
Tbilisi is the capital and the largest city of Georgia, lying on the banks of the Mt'k'vari River. The name is derived from an early Georgian form T'pilisi and it was officially known as Tiflis until 1936...

 nor Washington
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

 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."

Planned terrorist attack against NATO


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.

List of Emirs of the Caucasus Emirate

Emirs of Caucasus Emirate
Order Name Tenure
1 Dokku Umarov 31 October 2007 - 1 August 2010
2 Aslambek Vadalov
Aslambek Vadalov
Aslambek Ilimsultanovich Vadalov , also known by his nom de guerre Emir Aslambek, is a Chechen rebel leader fighting in the North Caucasus. He was appointed the supreme leader of the Caucasus Emirate on 1 August 2010, though this was later retracted....

1 August 2010 – 3 August 2010
3 Dokku Umarov 3 August 2010 – Present


*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.