By John C.K. Daly (09/17/2014 issue of the CACI Analyst)
In the 23 years since the collapse of the USSR, Central Asia’s interest in its Islamic heritage has grown, with many mosques opening and increasing numbers of Central Asians making the haj. This interest has coincided with militant unrest roiling the Muslin world, from the Maghreb to Xinjiang, leaving Central Asian governments concerned whether radicals, particularly from neighboring Afghanistan, may seek to raise the banner of jihad in their countries. In mid-August, Kazakh FSB officers detained four men in Pavlodar in northeastern Kazakhstan, ranging in age from 20 to 46, who called themselves Salafis. The quartet was subsequently charged with promoting terrorism and extremism under Chapter 9, Article 233 of the Criminal Code of the Republic.
By Emil Souleimanov (08/05/2014 issue of the CACI Analyst)
In March 2014, jihadist websites confirmed the death of Doku Umarov, the founder in 2007 of the Caucasus Emirate, a virtual theocracy claiming the territories of Russia’s North Caucasus. Pro-Moscow Chechen authorities were quick to claim they had liquidated Umarov, considered by many as a personal foe of Ramzan Kadyrov, as a result of special operation. Yet the jihadist websites posit that Umarov died of natural causes a few months before the formal announcement of his death. Several months later, a new amir of the Caucasus Emirate, Aliaskhab Kebedov, an ethnic Avar from neighboring Dagestan going by the nomme de guerre Ali Abu Muhammad, was elected by the shura, i.e. Council, of the Emirate.
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.