Chechen and Caucasus Islamists in Syria: Turkey, Russian Federation and UK Policies
Chechen and Caucasus Islamists in Syria: Turkey, Russian Federation and UK Policies
Murad Makhmudov and Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
It is odious for the British government to claim that you have to support “a so-called third force” in Syria, while the secular government of this nation is fighting international jihadists, sectarianism and forces of sedition. The same equivalent would be to attack the central government of Afghanistan and Iraq, while both nations face a deadly Islamist insurgency. However, the United Kingdom wants to increase the pressure on Syria by arming “a third force” while Syria is being attacked by various Islamist factions.
The British Foreign Secretary, William Hague, desires to up the ante against the government of Bashar al-Assad in Syria. Yet, it is obvious that Islamist terrorists will fill the vacuum and gain from weakening the government of Syria. It would be like inviting Al-Qaeda to make the most while government forces fight “a third force” which is controlled by outside nations. This would lead to more sectarianism, fresh persecution of religious minorities and more brutal terrorist attacks.
Also, it is abundantly clear that the “troika” of Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Qatar, are all responsible to varying degrees for aiding and abetting terrorism, sectarianism and sedition against the government of Syria. However, with these nations being the allies of America, France, and the United Kingdom, when it comes to Syria; then clearly William Hague fully knows that fellow partners are assisting the most militant of Islamist terrorist factions in Syria. Therefore, does the United Kingdom wish to peddle “two factions” within the many proxy wars against Syria – and then distance the British government from the “Islamist terrorist angle” if things go to plan by claiming that the United Kingdom “supported progressive forces?”
If America and the United Kingdom were against international terrorism and Islamist factions which have no qualms in planting car bombs and killing religious minorities; then surely the political elites in Washington and London would have put pressure on Ankara, Doha, and Riyadh, to stop their policies. Yet this is clearly not the case because more international jihadists are entering Syria. Likewise, greater military hardware is being given to various internal and external terrorist factions.
Chechen and Caucasus Islamists
In many video footages of the crisis in Syria it is clear that some anti-Syrian government factions are amateurish to the extreme. Yet in other video footages it is abundantly obvious that covert operatives, hired mercenaries, well trained international jihadists, the Chechen and Caucasus angle, and the role of murky intelligence operatives are involved. Similarly, the “professional angles” are all focused on high level operations aimed at destroying the infrastructure and assassinating important individuals which support the government of Syria.
However, why are Chechen and Caucasus Islamists entering Syria in greater numbers given the situation in the Caucasus? After all, the government of President Ramzan Kadyrov is clearly in the ascendancy against Chechen Islamists. Therefore, why are Chechen Islamists flocking to Syria when “their jihad” at home continues to falter compared with the past? Also, why are other Islamists from various regions of the Caucasus entering Syria because you have ongoing problems in many areas, for example in Dagestan (Daghestan) – therefore, which forces are behind this?
On the (http://www.kavkazcenter.com/eng/) Kavkaz Center website it is stated that “Mujahideen from different regions and countries are fighting in Syria as a part of Kataeb al-Muhajireen/Muhajirun, or Brigade of Emigrants. The main forces consist of Mujahideen from Caucasus Emirate, Crimea, Russia, Tatarstan, and some of CIS countries, as well as of Arab Mujahideen, including Syrians.”
According to the Kavkaz Center it is reported that Chechens and other Islamists from the Caucasus region recently attacked a military airfield called Neirub. The information provided is that 36 Islamist militants mainly from the Caucasus were killed. Despite this, it is claimed that the operation was a success because they managed to overrun Neirub.
Names like Umar Shishani (Abu Omar al-Chechen) keep on propping-up and Chechens and other Caucasus Islamists are said to be located in various parts of Aleppo. Obviously, for the government of Syria this provides further evidence that they are fighting international jihadists from an array of different nations. Also, it is obvious that militant Islamists will bring their sectarian hatred with them and commit all types of atrocities against various religious minorities in Syria. Despite this, voices in London, Paris, and Washington, have mainly been muted. After all, they fully know that it is their allies in Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Qatar, which are sponsoring terrorism, sectarianism, sedition, mercenaries, and funding covert operatives.
Russian Federation and Chechnya
President Ramzan Kadyrov of Chechnya, who is loyal to the Russian Federation, commented in 2009 that“We’re fighting in the mountains with the American and English intelligence agencies. They are fighting not against Kadyrov, not against traditional Islam; they are fighting against the sovereign Russian state.”
He further states that “The West is interested to cut off the Caucasus from Russia….Now they strike a blow against Putin and Russia. Chechnya and Dagestan are weak, vulnerable parts of the Russian state.”
Kadyrov also comments in the Reuters article about the role of the CIA and MI6. He states that “There was a terrorist Chitigov, he worked for the CIA. He had U.S. citizenship…When we killed him, I was in charge of the operation and we found a U.S. driving licence and all the other documents were also American.”
It must be stated that Turkey and Georgia are known to have many rat lines which link these two nations to very murky dealings. Also, Turkey and Georgia are both firmly within the American and British camp. Therefore, the Russian Federation must be very concerned about the Chechen and Caucasus Islamist angle in Syria because major economic incentives must have been given to these elements. Similarly, with Dagestan and other areas seeing a growing Islamist angle – for example, even in Tatarstan moderate clerics are not out of the reach of international jihadists. Then surely Spetsnaz and other special forces from the Russian Federation should do something to counter the growing presence of Islamists from the Caucasus who are entering Syria. This applies to covert operations, to increase the military power of the armed forces of Syria and to provide greater intelligence work to the government of Syria. If no measures are taken, then this will come back to haunt the Russian Federation.
In another article by Modern Tokyo Times about Syria it was stated that “Similarly, it is possible that the CIA and Ankara are working in coordination with other operatives. Other intelligence services in the United Kingdom and France could also be involved in certain areas because it is known that many operatives from various nations played a more important role in Libya than was ever stated. While the armed forces of Libya were relatively weak and minor in comparison to Syria, you clearly have many ratlines linking many aspects of both conflicts. This not only applies to the nations involved and the media war but also to the covert nature of events; whereby in recent months more military installations in Syria have come under attack despite being outside the nature of the conflict.”
Bill Roggio, The Long War Journal, stated (November 23, 2012) that “The Al Nusrah Front for the People of the Levant, an al Qaeda-linked jihadist group that is fighting Bashir al Assad’s regime in Syria, has claimed credit for yet another suicide attack as well as another joint operation with Chechen fighters.”
“Al Nusrah claimed the attacks in a series of three statements released on jihadist websites on Nov. 21. The statements were translated by the SITE Intelligence Group.”
“The suicide attack was executed by “the knight Abu ‘Aun al Shamali,” who used a car bomb “laden with 2 tons of explosives.” The statement was accompanied by pictures of the car bomb as well as the explosion at the hospital. Al Nusrah then detonated a car bomb parked outside the hospital and launched “an armed attack by a group of mujahideen on what remained of the headquarters.”
Other operations clearly have “a murky angle” which lies outside of the conflict in Syria. This applies to Chechen Islamists attacking other military installations despite the objectives being outside of the main theater of the conflict. Likewise, the Free Syrian Army (FSA) is showing its proxy nature because tensions with the Kurds have deliberately been stirred on the auspices of Turkey. After all, Damascus is in a different direction therefore the Chechen angle and the FSA are involved in fighting for proxies.
Turkey and the Russian Federation
If you look at a map of the Middle East and the Caucasus region then it isn’t difficult to understand why Chechen Islamists and others from the Caucasus region have “a free hand.” This applies to the linkage of Chechnya, Georgia, Turkey, and then entering northern Syria; whereby military hardware, operation guidelines and so forth are awaiting Chechen and Caucasus Islamists. Like previously mentioned both Georgia and Turkey are within the American and British camp and clearly many parts of northern Syria are out of the control of central forces in Syria. In saying that, it is remarkable that no major city belongs to the FSA and array of various Islamist factions. After all, the US and its allies can’t control vast areas of Afghanistan and clearly the military capability of Syria is much lower than NATO powers.
The Foreign Minister of Syria, Walid al-Moualem, stated (October 2012) that America, France, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey “clearly induce and support terrorism in Syria with money, weapons and foreign fighters.”
“Under the pretext of concepts such as the ‘Responsibility to Protect,’ drums of war are beaten, and sedition and unrest are spreading and damaging the structure of national societies…..Worst of all is to see permanent members of the Security Council, who launched wars under the pretext of combating terrorism, now support terrorism in my country.”
The government of Turkey under Erdogan had hoped to obtain “a no-fly zone” which would have been supervised by NATO. On top of this, the Erdogan government had hoped that Aleppo would have fallen to the FSA and various Islamist factions. This appeared feasible because of the closeness of Aleppo to Turkey. However, despite all the covert operations, countless ratlines, infiltration of international jihadists, covert operatives, increasing the military hardware, and other important areas – the armed forces of Syria have managed to prevent this.
On the Pan Armenia website (Feb 16, 2013) it is stated that “According to the state-run news agency SANA, in two identical letters addressed on Friday, Feb 15, to head of the UN Security Council and the UN Secretary-General highlighting Turkey’s subversive role in the Syrian crisis, the ministry said that the Turkish government has sought to obstruct the implementation of the political program announced by President Bashar al-Assad for solving the crisis in Syria, and the ensuing measures undertaken by the Syrian government for that end.”
”Turkey has turned its territories into a stamping ground for hosting, training, funding, arming and smuggling armed terrorist groups, mainly al-Qaeda and Jabhat al-Nusra and other terrorist groups, into Syria,” the letters said, adding ”and it publicly supports and justifies their destructive practices of killing and methodical vandalism of infrastructure and public and private property.”
”According to international law, the rules governing international relations and good neighborliness, the Turkish government’s conduct constitutes a flagrant violation of the international law,” the ministry added. The ministry affirmed that in so doing, the Turkish government violates the UN charter which states that “all Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.”
In modern day Syria this nation is awash with international jihadists and covert operatives, which are intent on various different objectives. The free movement of Islamist jihadists from Chechnya and the Caucasus region should worry both Syria and the Russian Federation. Clearly, this reality is based on the Georgia and Turkey angle alongside both nations being allies of America and the United Kingdom respectively.
It is ironic that Al-Qaeda and various Islamist groups in Syria are waging jihad against the last major independent nation in the Arabic speaking world. After all, if Al-Qaeda and Islamist jihadists are so intent on fighting the West and Israel – then it certainly doesn’t look like it in Syria. On the contrary, in the north you have NATO Turkey and in the south you have Israel – in the middle, so to speak, you have independent Syria. However, international jihadists are not attacking NATO Turkey or Israel; instead, on the auspices of outside powers, they are intent on crushing Syria which is the last major independent and secular nation in the Arabic speaking world.
The proxy nature of events is unfolding all the time in Syria. After all, many FSA factions have been attacking the Kurds in the north (in the wrong direction of Damascus). Meanwhile, the experienced nature of Chechen and Caucasus Islamists are being used in order to destroy the military infrastructure of Syria. Also, like stated above in the last paragraph, it is ironic that NATO Turkey and Israel have nothing to fear from Al-Qaeda jihadists and other Islamist factions. Therefore, it is imperative that nations like the Russian Federation supply adequate military arms to Syria alongside providing intelligence information. After all, Chechen Islamists will use their gains against the Russian Federation in the long-term and the same applies to Dagestan and other parts of this nation.
Syria is the last major independent and secular nation in the Arabic speaking world and today this nation faces an array of ratlines. Some nations like the United Kingdom want to strengthen “a third force” based on the objectives of Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey. However, the majority of nations in the European Union oppose the United Kingdom despite this bloc being negative towards Syria.
Sadly, for the people of Syria they are being caught up “in a confused proxy war” whereby many nations and forces are involved. All and sundry continues to be thrown at the government of Bashar al-Assad and clearly more powerful military hardware and the growing international jihadist angle are deeply problematic. It is time for the friends of Syria to increase their support of this nation and for neutral nations to speak out against the terrorist, sectarian and seditious rat lines. Also, it is essential that the Russian Federation responds to the Chechen and Caucasus Islamist terrorist angle because clearly these jihadists will manipulate what they gain in Syria, in order to use against the Russian Federation in the long term. This applies to smuggling new military hardware into the Caucasus region, developing new terrorist networks and funding Islamist indoctrination in order to sow the seeds of hatred.