Insurgent Activity in Dagestan Likely To Remain Constant Over The Next Twelve Months Due To Rising Islamic Militancy, Economic Instability, And Local Governmental Corruption

Executive Summary:

Insurgent activity in Dagestan is likely to remain at the same level of violence over the next twelve months due to rising Islamic militancy, economic instability, and government corruption within the republic. Aliyev, the newly installed Dagestani president, is unlikely to provide effective response to the growing violence in Dagestan and has failed to address social, economic problems and political tensions in the Dagestani republic. As more of the population is becoming discontent with the current political and socio-economic situation, it is likely that the insurgency will continue to grow and levels of violence will remain active and constant throughout Dagestan over the next twelve months.

Severity and Effectiveness: Despite the geographic shift westward of the North Caucasus insurgency, Dagestan had an increase in attacks and remains relatively active. During the thirteen month time period, September 2006 through September 2007, Dagestan had 50 individual attacks, resulting in 117 casualties, which is approximately 2.3 casualties per attack. The primary targets were Russian security forces suffering 65 percent, or 77, of the total casualties, however, Dagestan accounted for the second highest casualties among civilians with 33 behind Ingushetia. While the most prolific type of attack used by the insurgents in Dagestan were shootings, representing 78 percent of the total attacks, and second was bombings with 20 percent. Although Dagestan averaged 3.8 attacks per month, during September 2007 and December 2006 the highest number of attacks occurred, with 7 and 6 individual attacks respectively. In addition, the city of Makhachkala registered the highest frequency with 14 total attacks, while the Khasavyurt district had 13.
  • Insurgency: It is likely that insurgent activity in Dagestan will maintain its current level over the next 12 months, as violence has recently began to escalate in the republic. September 2007 recorded the highest number of attacks in the republic with a total of seven. Although the insurgents want the Russians to withdraw from Dagestan, it is likely that Islam is the main ideal which is fueling the insurgent activity. However, along with Islamic motivations, it is likely that the insurgents are also motivated by nationalist and separatist principles.
  • Socio-Economic: Socio-economic factors likely play a main role in the growing number of Muslims in Dagestan. It is likely that low economic and social standings of the republic drive many to turn toward radical forms of Islam, as more of the population becomes dissatisfied with living conditions. The lack of response by Dagestani President, Mukhu Aliyev is likely a key factor in the population's discontent, as one of the main issues not being addressed and of the greatest concern, the unemployment rate lingers at 27%.

Russian Capabilities and Effectiveness: Russian Security forces are likely to continue using kidnapping as method in attempts to decrease insurgent activity in Dagestan. Although traditionally the insurgents have been known for engaging in kidnapping, the number of kidnapping by insurgents has actually decreased, while the number of kidnapping by Russian Security Forces on the other hand has increased.

Kremlin Ability to Control: The installment of Mukhu Aliyev as Dagestani president, is unlikely to stabilize the republic and more specifically unlikely to effectively combat the insurgency. Many in Dagestan have called him a "massive disappointment" due to his lack of attention and response to the major problems in the Dagestani republic. Aliyev has failed to address the growing numbers of radical Muslims, a suffering economy within unemployment at 27%, a high level of corruption among officials in the government, and ethnic tensions among the 32 ethnic groups living in Dagestan. These factor can be likely linked to the growing level of violence in Dagestan and number of militant Muslims in the region.

Additional Comments:


Source Reliability: 8
Analytic Confidence: 7.5

Kathryn Connelly

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