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Kazakhstan's Jihadists Solicit Assistance From Ingush Insurgency Website

The website, which bills itself as the mouthpiece of the Ingush jamaat of Doku Umarov's Caucasus Emirate, posted on November 10 what it claims is a statement it received from a jihadist cell in Kazakhstan. The statement by the hitherto unknown Ansaru-d-din (Helpers of Religion) jamaat is addressed to Muslims in Kazakhstan who sympathize with its aims. The Ingush website was asked not only to post the statement, together with a handbook on waging jihad, but to assess and comment on the content of those recommendations in a spirit of "fruitful cooperation in promoting the word of Allah."

The Kazakh statement begins with an expression of regret that the umma is currently more humiliated and divided than at any point in its history, and denounces those "many" leaders of nominally Muslim states who have turned away from God.

It then proceeds to summarize the most crucial recommendations to those who "wish to raise the banner of jihad against the traitors." The first is an elementary warning about information security, given that disseminating such information can be punished (in which countries is not clear) by a prison term of 10 to 15 years. For that reasons, the statement warns, it is imperative not to visit jihadist websites when someone else is present in the room. It stresses that knowledge about waging jihad is necessary primarily "in order to take action, not to engage in polemics with idiots…so don't rush off to the mosque and start an argument with those whom you haven't been able to convince up till now."

The recommendations for action include recruiting four or five like-minded brothers who fear God and can be trusted completely; choosing a leader; acquiring weapons from discreet and reliable sources; and eschewing any behavior that could identify one as a militant, including growing a beard or even going regularly to the mosque to pray. On the contrary, the aspiring jihadist should avoid any contact with the uninitiated, even at the risk of being perceived as ignorant of Islam (джахиль -- the term used in the Koran to designate those pagans who rejected monotheism).

The statement acknowledges that it will take much time and effort to raise the currently very low level of knowledge of Islam in Kazakhstan to the point that the need for jihad will become widely accepted. Meanwhile, however, it argues that "we have an inalienable right to exact revenge" for distortions of the word of God, and on behalf of co-religionists imprisoned for their faith.

At the same time, it warns that amirs should select targets for military attacks with the utmost care, focusing on the most egregious offenders against God's law. They should also make a point of posting to the Internet a brief and objective account of the operation that does not exaggerate what it accomplished.

The statement stresses that any military action must be preceded by a lengthy period of acquiring knowledge and the appropriate physical and military skills. It notes the possibility of either participating in, or providing material and financial assistance for, the jihad currently being waged in the Caucasus and Afghanistan.

The statement ends by stressing yet again the need for absolute operational security.

The statement is, as noted above, the first circulated in the name of the Ansaru-d-din jamaat. The identity and number of that group's members can only be guessed at. The difficulty and risks inherent in trying to post such a statement on a website based in Kazakhstan -- or even in Russia -- are self-evident. But that does not explain why they selected to publicize their aims, rather than one of the better-known North Caucasus insurgency websites based outside the Russian Federation.

At least one militant from Kazakhstan, Amir Abdullah al-Kazaki, is known to be fighting in the ranks of the North Caucasus insurgency. But to posit any formal nexus between the Caucasus Emirate and jihadists in Kazakhstan would be premature at this juncture.

About This Blog

This blog presents analyst Liz Fuller's personal take on events in the region, following on from her work in the "RFE/RL Caucasus Report." It also aims, to borrow a metaphor from Tom de Waal, to act as a smoke detector, focusing attention on potential conflict situations and crises throughout the region. The views are the author's own and do not represent those of RFE/RL.