Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Caucasus Report

How Long Will Umarov's Ban On Terrorism Last?

Islamist insurgent leader Doku Umarov (center) recorded his appeal in an undisclosed location.
Islamist insurgent leader Doku Umarov (center) recorded his appeal in an undisclosed location.
Doku Umarov, the self-styled Caucasus Emirate leader, has resurfaced after a six-month silence and ordered the end of attacks by his fighters on civilian targets in Russia.

In a four-minute video clip posted on February 3 on the Caucasus Emirate's main website, Kavkazcenter. com, Umarov notes that developments in Russia today, meaning the protests against the outcome of the December State Duma election, and the corruption and iniquities of the Russian leadership in general, show that the civilian population does not support what he termed Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's "Chekist regime, of which they are the hostages."

Umarov said the insurgents were constrained by their religion not to harm those Russian civilians who do not participate in or support the Russian leadership's "war against Muslims."

Umarov ordered all militants in the Caucasus and sabotage groups preparing attacks in Russia to ensure that they do not injure civilians. At the same time, he said Russian military and security personnel and the pro-Moscow Chechen leadership remained legitimate targets.

The video clip is the first of Umarov since his triumphal announcement last summer of the reconciliation with senior emirs Khusein Gakayev and Aslambek Vadalov, who broke with him in August 2010. The footage was shot outdoors, in a snowy forest. Umarov is shown seated, flanked by two younger fighters, and he supports his right elbow with his left hand while talking. Whether he has been wounded or is suffering from rheumatism after a decade of living rough is impossible to say.

Umarov's renunciation of terrorist attacks like those in the Moscow subway in March 2010 and at Domodedovo Airport in January last year marks a return to the strict compliance with the Geneva Conventions demanded by his predecessors as Chechen president, Aslan Maskhadov and Abdul-Khalim Sadullayev. In his last interview with RFE/RL's North Caucasus Service, just days before he was killed in March 2005, Maskhadov stressed that he always insisted that his fighters avoid harming civilians. He said he even told them not to target police officers who lay down their arms.

Indeed, Umarov himself initially complied with Maskhadov's ban on terrorism as a tactic, telling RFE/RL in 2005 that "If we resort to such methods, I do not think any of us will be able to retain his human face." He specifically condemned the Beslan school hostage taking of September 2004 in which at least 334 hostages were killed, 186 of them children.

Umarov's reversal may reflect the influence of Gakayev and Vadalov, who advocated confining military activities to Chechnya and targeting primarily the pro-Moscow Chechen leadership.

By contrast, the new young generation of commanders in Kabardino-Balkaria consider all those who are not with them to be against them, and have warned that they will not go out of their way to avoid injuring civilians who ignore their duty to join the ongoing jihad.

Finally, it is not clear whether the ban on harming Russian civilians is simply a moratorium, as Umarov hinted, and whether it will be lifted on the eve of the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi in two years' time. Russian and Western experts alike have long assumed that the insurgency is already making plans to stage terrorist attacks to disrupt the games and humiliate and embarrass the Russian leadership.

Either way, it is highly unlikely that Umarov's statement will either effect a review of the U.S. decisions to designate him personally a terrorist, and the Caucasus Emirate a terrorist organization, or that it will radically change most Russians' negative perception of him.

Tags: umarov,Chechnya

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Nina Ivanovna
February 04, 2012 01:06
Umarov is certainly the one saying the words, but who is to say that he even wrote them? This seems uncharacteristically forward thinking for him, to be quite honest. More power to them if it works, but is the Caucasus Emirate even capable of targeting Russia’s heartland, anymore? It seems much more likely that Umarov, and the CE are taking advantage of the current political situation to portray strength. However, everything about this video made Umarov look weak to me.

by: ER
February 04, 2012 01:30
Russians killed millions of Chechens and North Caucasians. It is stupid to believe that Russians will change their Nazi-blood-thristry conquest which occupies only one sixth of the land. Umarov will get sweet-talked into another Stalinist-Russian deportation with heavy losses in human lives.
In Response

by: J from: US
February 04, 2012 19:41
millions? Don't exaggerate now
In Response

by: F from: US
February 05, 2012 13:25
Ruski, what's the matter truth hurts? Try to goole "Ubykh people".

by: NinaIvanovna
February 04, 2012 19:05
And he's not really banning terrorism, is he? He's declared a moratorium on civilian targets. Civilian targets have not been that effective for them anyway. They certainly are not winning friends by attacking civilians. If you'll recall, after Beslan, the response of the authorities was to end the direct election of governors. And after last year's tragedy at Domodedovo, the authorities blamed the airport's owners, rather than their own poor response. Attacking civilians in an autocratic society is just not effective.

by: sascha from: Germany
February 07, 2012 15:52
None of you,absolutely none of you,have the right to criticize Umarov. This man is living in Southern Chechnya´s mountain forests since February 2000, already 12 years now! This man is the hardest of the hard and if you are calling him a terrorist,what is Putin then? Umarov may have killed several hundred russian civilians in Moscow etc....but Putin killed more than 200.000 chechen civilians only between October 1999 and April 2000. Not to mention the thousands of murdered chechen civilians since the start of the guerilla war in spring 2000. If Umarov is a terrorist,then Putin is the personified Satan!!!!!! I wish Umarov good health and good luck in his further fight against the colonial russian Vampire-Empire!!!
In Response

by: Russian from: Russia
February 07, 2012 23:05
You know sasha Russian people wish that Umarov make a successful attack on the rats from Putin and Co. People are tired of them.

by: Sergey from: Chicago, USA
February 09, 2012 08:11
"Umarov's renunciation of terrorist attacks like those in the Moscow subway in March 2010 and at Domodedovo Airport in January last year marks a return to the strict compliance with the Geneva Conventions demanded by his predecessors as Chechen president, Aslan Maskhadov and Abdul-Khalim Sadullayev. "

RFE/RL and Liz Fuller. Do you even realize what a BUNCH OF NONSENSE you are writing ? It is such a ridiculous piece of pro-Islamic terrorist propaganda that I wonder if RFE/RL by any chance had not become affiliated with the favorite Osama Bin Laden's network--Al Jazeera.

Umarov "renounced" terrorism in a "return to a strict compliance with Genevea Convention" after he explicitly took responsibility for the Moscow Domodedovo bombing in a video message.


Who CARES whether Umarov decided to "renounce" terrorism. He has already participated in massive acts of terror (like against random people and in any sane world he is beyond the pale. Moreover, his Domodedovo suicide bombing was aimed at International Arrivals area where people from all over the world coming to Moscow or using Moscow as a connection to other international flights. So his talk about stopping harming Russian civilians (implying that originally his terror campaign was aimed "only" at Russian civilians supporting Putin) is a pure
BALONEY ! If anyone attacks random people on the streets, airports, subways or other public places-- he or she becomes an outlaw and the SCUM OF EARTH who does not deserve anything but a bullet to the head.

My question is also how long the US Taxpayer's money is going to fund such an obvious bunch of pro N. Caucasus Islamic terrorism propaganda and what a few luminaries on RFE/RL corporate board of directors (current US Sec of State Hillary Clinton and famous historian and writer Walter Isaacson) think about it. If they do support such an obvious pro-Islamist propaganda on RFE/RL site at the expense of American taxpayers, at least American taxpayers should be fully aware of that.

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.