New Regional Leaders Likely To Increase Authority And Expand Operations Throughout The North Caucasus Over The Next Twelve Months

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Executive Summary:

Despite Dokka Umarov being the president of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria resistance movement, it is likely that (Dr.) Muhannad Abu Anas, Akhmed Yevloyev (Magas), and Anzor Astemirov (Sayfullah) will increase their authority and expansion of the insurgency due to their established links throughout the North Caucasus Front, their high degree of closeness to Umarov, and the westward shift of the insurgency towards Ingushetia and Kabardino-Balkaria. In addition, even with the deaths of many of the prominent leaders, like Shamil Basaev, Ibn ul-Khattab, and Abu Hafs al-Urdani, its is likely that the inter-connected command structure of the insurgency across the North Caucasus region will remain intact due to the ability of the individual fronts and high commanders to nominate and appoint new leaders upon the deaths of important figures within the resistance.

  • The Chechen Republic of Ichkeria (ChRI) High Command presides over the North Caucas
    (Dr.) Muhannad Abu Abus
    us insurgency as a whole, with fronts and sectors within Chechnya and each Russian republic, including Dagestan, Ingushetia, North Ossetia, Kabardino-Balkaria, Karacheyevo-Cherkesski, and Adygeia.

  • While Dokka Umarov and Shamil Basaev hold, or have held, the highest degree of closeness within the North Caucasus insurgency, it is not shown on the link chart due to the extremely high number of links it would create.

  • Within the insurgency, (Dr.) Muhannad Abu Anas is a central node due to holding the leadership positions of president of the Foreign Volunteer’s front, first vice-president of the Armed Forces of the North Caucasus front of the ChRI, as well as holding a high ranking within the High Command and Western front of the ChRI. Additionally, following the death of Abu Hafs al-Urdani, Muhannad became the highest ranking foreign volunteer in the North Caucasus, and quite possibly filled the role as al-Qaeda’s link within the region.

  • Within the insurgency, Akhmed Yevloyev, aka Magas, is a central node due to holding the leadership positions of president of the
    Akhmed Yevloyev (Magas)
    Armed Forces for the North Caucasus front of the ChRI and as president of the Ingushetia front. In support, Yevloyev was personally appointed to these two positions by Umarov, which shows his closeness and access to the High Command of the insurgency. Thus, with Yevloyev’s centrality, an increase in insurgent attacks took place in Ingushetia since June 2007.

  • Within the insurgency, Anzor Astemirov, aka Sayfullah, is a central node due to holding the leadership positions of Chief of the High Sharia Court of the ChRI and as president of the Yarmuk Jamaat in Kabardino-Balkaria. Thus, with Astemirov’s centrality, a significant increase in insurgent attacks took place in Kabardino-Balkaria since July 2007.
    • On 8 September 2007, Dokka Umarov decided to replace Mansur Yovmirzaev with Anzor Astemirov, who is the leader of Yarmuk Jamaat in Kabardino-Balkaria, as the new head of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria’s Sharia Court. It is unknown why Umarov decided to dismiss Yovmirzaev.

  • Despite the death of Rappani Khalilov on 18 September 2007, who was the leader of the Dagestan front of the ChRI, Abdul Madzhik, on 6 October 2007, took over as its new leader, which shows the capability of the individual fronts to designate new commanders following the deaths of key nodes in the insurgency.

  • The status of “Musa” is currently unknown, however he has a high frequency amongst the pictures available on the internet of being in close proximity to Umarov, therefore, it is likely that he is a personal bodyguard (see first two videos below).

  • Russian Security forces killed al-Qaeda’s four main actors within the insurgency, which included Shamil Basaev, Ibn ul-Khattab, Abu al-Walid al-Ghamidi, and Abu Hafs al-Urdani.

Ibn ul-Khattab and Shamil Basaev

  • The foreign volunteers within the insurgency come from Turkey, Azerbaijan, Kuwait, Kazakhstan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Jordan, and Sudan; while financial aide, weapons, and assistance comes from Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Turkey, and, prior to 9 September 2001, the United States through the Benevolence International Foundation in Chicago.

  • The Chechen Diaspora communities contribute the highest number of foreign volunteers, from which Turkey currently has four individual fighters, including Said Emin Dadaev, Abu Zarr, Abdul Gyafur, and Abdullah Zaurbek. In addition, the leader of the Jundallah Brigade of foreign volunteers, Hussein Gakieyev, is disputably of Turkic descendents.

Additional Comments:
It is important to note that, due to the limited amount of information regarding the names of individual insurgents and the lack of a Chechen speaking analyst, it is necessary to consider a degree of error when analyzing the link chart. Additionally, the ranking of “Emir” is equal to that of a president, while the role of “Naib” represents a vice-president. In the first two videos below, "Musa," standing to the right with the long hair and automatic weapon, is shown in close proximity to Dokka Umarov. In the third video, the primary leaders of the ChRI came toegther for the 2007 Madzhlisul Shura Council meeting, which consisted of members from the High Command, North Caucasian Fronts, and the Foreign Volunteers Front.

Source Reliability: 7
Analytic Confidence: 7

For the full size Link Analysis Chart please click on this file

Link Chart Resources

Authors: Christopher Anderson I Kathryn Connelly I Matthew Gurto I Robert Williams

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