Six months after the death of Ibragimkhalil Daudov (Amir Salikh), self-styled Caucasus Emirate head Doku Umarov has issued a formal decree naming Daudov’s first deputy, Rustam Asildarov (Amir Abu Mukhammad), to succeed him as head of the Daghestan wing of the North Caucasus insurgency.
At the same time, Umarov named Asildarov
vali (civilian ruler) for Daghestan. The decree is dated August 8; it was uploaded to the insurgency website
on August 24.
Asildarov, 35, should not be confused with the Abu Mukhammad who is qadi (religious head) of the Caucasus Emirate. (He is seen here
expounding on the theological arguments against Muslims participating in Russian elections.)
Asildarov succeeded Daudov as amir of the Central Sector when Umarov named Daudov amir of Daghestan in May 2010 following the death
of Israpil Velidjanov (Amir Hassan).
Daudov then named Asildarov
as his first deputy last fall. (Asildarov is seen here
giving detailed instructions on how to construct a hideout.)
Asildarov convened a shura (war council) of commanders in April, which suggests that he automatically assumed the role
of acting commander after Daudov’s death.
At that gathering, Asildarov listed several major operations launched by the police and security forces against the insurgency that were a spectacular failure. In the four months since then, however, Daghestani police and security forces have killed 14 men subsequently identified as amirs of local sectors and up to 60 rank-and-file fighters.
The amirs were Yusup Magomedov (Khasavyurt); a Turkish citizen identified as Abdusalam (Sergo-Kala); Ali Aminov (Nogai jamaat); Aslan Mamedov (“Muaz”), northern sector; Rustam Gasanov (Kizlyar); Nazhmudin Nazhmudinov (Tsumada); Magomed Abdulsalamov (Izberbash); Islam Magomedov (Sergo-Kala); Arsen Magomedov (“Abdula”) (Izberbash); Isa Dalgatov (Kayakent); Temirbek Temirbekov (“Abu Muaz”) (Kizilyurt); Yusup Murtuzaliyev (Shamkhal); Israfil Ismailov (Tabasaran); and Magomedarip Zhamalov (Shamkhal).
Those losses do not appear to have impacted the combat effectiveness of the Daghestan wing of the insurgency, which Daghestan’s interior minister, Lieutenant General Abdurashid Magomedov, described last month
as “very active, well-organized and well-equipped, and armed with a large variety of weaponry.” Between April and June, insurgents in Daghestan killed 33 police
and members of the security forces and injured 92. A further 10 members of the police and security forces were killed
in July and 14 injured.
And as the weekly “Chernovik” pointed out
in its most recent issue, the violence continues to escalate, as evidenced by the shootings one week ago at a mosque in Khasavyurt frequented by the town’s Azerbaijani Shi'a community.