Russian Federation: Doku Umarov an Islamic terrorist vows to stop civilian attacks
Murad Makhmudov and Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
The Russian Federation faces many internal problems in the North Caucasus region because of Islamic terrorism, civil wars, nationalism, criminality, kidnappings, and many unsavory factors. Therefore, this instability led to many convulsions whereby military might, guerilla tactics, the rule of fear, terrorism, and kidnapping became all too familiar. This in turn created an atmosphere based on loathing, fear, and massive frustration among various ethnic and religious groups.
Doku (Dokka) Umarov was one of the many prominent Islamists who rose to power based on fear and supporting terrorism in the North Caucasus and throughout the Russian Federation. He knew full well that brutal kidnappings were part and parcel of the brutality unleashed during the first Chechen War. Therefore, the initial war in Chechnya witnessed many massacres and like in all civil wars “no hands were clean.” Indeed, the brutality of Islamists decapitating individuals and torturing not only installed fear, it also meant that a cycle of vengeance and hatred increased to an even higher degree.
The North Caucasus remains volatile and while the crisis in Chechnya is now a low intensity conflict, other areas like Dagestan highlight the frailty of the situation. Also, the current leader of Chechnya may be loyal to the Russian Federation but “the dark shadows” of Ramzan Kadyrov means that fear is part of the apparatus. However, in fairness to Ramzan Kadyrov he had little option because any weakness would have resulted in his death and further bloodshed on a bigger scale.
Ramzan Kadyrov took part in the first Chechen war but in the second Chechen war he followed his father and sided with the Russian Federation and clearly he and Vladimir Putin have a strong relationship. In 2004 his father, President Akhmad Kadyrov, was assassinated and since this time Ramzan Kadyrov began to openly crush the opposition. He also started on a rebuilding process in Chechnya backed by support from central forces in Moscow once the insurgency became less intense.
Ramzan Kadyrov commented after being asked about avenging the death of his father that “I’ve already killed him, whom I ought to kill. And those, who stay behind him, I will be killing them, to the very last of them, until I am myself killed or jailed. I will be killing [them] for as long as I live… Putin is gorgeous. He thinks more about Chechnya than about any other republic [of the Russian Federation]. When my father was murdered, he [Putin] came and went to the cemetery in person. Putin has stopped the war. Putin should be made president for life. Strong rule is needed. Democracy is all but an American fabrication… Russians never obey their laws. Everyone was stealing, and only Khodorkovsky is in jail”
Therefore, Ramzan Kadyrov and Doku Umarov have taken different paths and while one helped in the creation of the biggest mosque in Europe, Doku Umarov continued with supporting terrorism and targeting civilians. Indeed, Doku Umarov proclaimed himself to be the leader of the Caucasus Emirate which only exists in name. However, this aspiration is dreamt about by many Islamists in the region despite the ethnic and religious diversity of this complex part of the Russian Federation.
Recent terrorist attacks with the involvement of Doku Umarov applies to the 2010 Moscow Metro terrorist attack and the 2011 international terrorist attack which happened at Domodedovo International Airport. It is also presumed that internal tensions within the terrorist movement occurred or possible health factors during the same period. This applies to either a power struggle which emerged between himself and Aslambek Vadalov or because of illness, or other natural factors, confusion occurred after Doku Umarov temporarily resigned his leading position on August 1, 2010.
Doku Umarov commented “that jihad should be led by younger and more energetic commanders.”Although he did stress that he would “continue to wage jihad and will do his utmost to help the new leadership. [Stepping down] does not mean that I give up jihad. I will do whatever I can by word and deed.” Yet by August 4, 2010, he retracts everything by stating that “Due to the situation in the Caucasus I consider that it is impossible for me to quit my duties. The previous declaration is annulled. It is a falsification. I declare that my health is good to serve Allah. And I will serve the word of Allah and work to kill the enemies of Allah in all the time that he gives me to live on this earth.”
In the past Doku Umarov on the one hand claimed that he was against killing civilians but on the other hand he supported or planned operations which killed civilians. Also, while he condemned the barbaric Beslan school hostage massacre of children in 2004, Doku Umarov then installed Shamil Basayev who was known for his brutality. Therefore, just like he claims that he isn’t an Islamist but proclaims the Caucasus Emirate, it is clear that his approach is either schizophrenic or that he is a natural survivor who will do or say anything depending on the situation.
Valery Dzutsev states in his article published on The Jamestown Foundation that “On February 2 (2012), the leader of the North Caucasus rebels Doku Umarov made an astonishing statement in support of the growing movement in Russia against Vladimir Putin. In a dramatic departure from the previously circulated views, the head of the Caucasus Emirate called on the rebels to stop attacks against Russian civilians. In a short video recording posted on the rebels’ primary website Kavkazcenter, Umarov spoke against a wintery background, presumably in the North Caucasus mountains, flanked by two young militants.”
Valery Dzutsev continues by stating that “Umarov issued direct orders to curb operations that are in progress, if civilians might suffer in these attacks. Instead, Doku Umarov called on the insurgents to focus their efforts on attacking law enforcement agencies, the military, the security services, state officials and the so-called “national traitors” or “collaborators.”
However, in the past Doku Umarov hinted at similar things but the reality is that little changed. It could imply a temporary weakness or being a survivor of many attacks against his life then maybe he is bidding for time. This applies to the need for him to strengthen the powerbase of the insurgents. After all, it is difficult to take his words at face value given past deeds and the fact that he supported Shamil Basayev despite the barbaric reality of Beslan.