By Emil Souleimanov (07/02/2014 issue of the Turkey Analyst)
News has recently resurfaced in media outlets across the world referring to Omar al-Shishani, an ethnic Chechen leader of the north-Syrian sector of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), as one of the presently most influential and reputed jihadist leaders. Indeed, since around 2012, when fighters of North Caucasian origin appeared at the forefront of international jihadists engaged in the Syrian civil war, they have become a significant component of the anti-Assad force. They have grouped into various, increasingly divergent, mujahideen armies and their prospective return to the North Caucasus holds significant security implications.
By Tomáš Šmíd (05/07/2014 issue of the CACI Analyst)
Federal authorities, the Chechen administration, and North Caucasian Islamist insurgents have confirmed the death of Doku Umarov, leader of the Caucasus Emirate. His successor, Ali Askhab Kebekov, is the first non-Chechen to lead the insurgents in the North Caucasus and is also the first leader who does not have a militant background. This change could signify a considerable shift in how the entire insurgency operates. As Kebekov is a Dagestani Avar, it may be expected that intensification of the “Dagestanization” of insurgents, which has already been underway for several years, will continue. In addition, he will influence operations as a religious leader and not as a fighter.
By Haroutiun Khachatrian (the 11/12/2013 issue of the CACI Analyst)
Russia's President Vladimir Putin visited Armenia on December 3, for the third time since he took office in 2000. The visit was strategically scheduled immediately after the EU's Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius.
By Emil Souleimanov and Megan Ouellette (the 27/11/2013 issue of the CACI Analyst)
On October 11, word spread through social media about the murder of a 25-year old Russian by a suspect from the Caucasus during a street clash in Moscow’s southern periphery, an event that prompted anti-immigrant riots in Moscow accompanied by attacks on foreigners’ properties as well as foreigners themselves. The alleged murderer was arrested a few days later by Russian police, yet the scope of the riots and the authorities’ subsequent response signaled that much more was behind the incident than a simple, yet tragic, homicide.
The Central Asia-Caucasus Analyst is a biweekly publication of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Program, a Joint Transatlantic Research and Policy Center affiliated with the American Foreign Policy Council, Washington DC., and the Institute for Security and Development Policy, Stockholm. For 15 years, the Analyst has brought cutting edge analysis of the region geared toward a practitioner audience.