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'Upstart Sisters' -- Chechen IS Militant Tired Of Would-Be Brides 'Playing Games'

Chechen militant Abdulmalik Magomadov, aka Abu Umar Grozny, (center) is a member of the Islamic State's North Caucasus battalion Katibat al-Aqsa.
Chechen militant Abdulmalik Magomadov, aka Abu Umar Grozny, (center) is a member of the Islamic State's North Caucasus battalion Katibat al-Aqsa.

A Chechen militant with the Islamic State (IS) group has warned in a recent social media post that if Chechen women do not stop wasting men's time by playing games and only pretending to support IS, then Chechens in Syria will marry Syrian women instead.

In a post on the Russian social networking website VKontakte on April 1, Abdulmalik Magomadov addressed "those upstart sisters who go so far as to imagine that there are mujahedin [militants] standing in line for them, and who talk among themselves saying this or that brother proposed marriage to her."

Magomadov is better known as Abu Umar Grozny, a Chechen commander in the IS North Caucasus battalion Katibat al-Aqsa.

Magomadov appeared to be addressing Chechen women who had not yet traveled to Syria, saying that he and his fellow militants had "found the meaning of life only here, only here are we living authentically... only here are men real men of the Ummah [the global Islamic community], only here does a woman give birth to soldiers of that Ummah..."

"What is it that you see in yourself that you think you can judge the brothers so harshly and be so smug about yourselves!?" Magomadov asks.

Chechen militants in Syria, Magomadov says, "have opportunities to take wives from among the Ansars [local Syrians] and every mujahid has heard about the obedience and the diligence of Syrian women."

Runaway Teenage Brides

The message from Abu Dudjana comes amid reports that the authorities in the North Caucasus are cracking down on young women who are trying to travel to Syria to join men they have met, and in some cases, "married" online.

A Chechen teenager arrested by police in the North Caucasus republic of Kabardino-Balkaria this week is believed to have been attempting to fly to Turkey in order to cross into Syria to join a man she intended to marry.

Letimat Oysaeva, 18, from the Urus-Martan district of Chechnya was arrested in Kabardino-Balkaria's capital Nalchik on April 20, according to the Caucasian Knot website.

A spokesman for the Interior Ministry in Kabardino-Balkaria told Caucasian Knot that Oysaeva's intention to travel on from Turkey to Syria had "become known through operational channels," but did not elaborate on what this meant. However, it is likely that Oysaeva had been under surveillance as part of an ongoing operation to prevent women being recruited to IS.

The arrest of Oysaeva is the second incident this month in which a Chechen woman has been arrested in Kabardino-Balkaria on suspicion of attempting to travel to Syria to join a militant man.

Police in the republic reported on April 9 that they had arrested a woman who was planning to travel to Syria after "marrying" a 25-year-old resident of Kabardino-Balkaria via instant message.

Militant Moms

Law enforcement foiled a "recruitment channel" that is recruiting female militants to join extremist groups in Syria, though it is not clear which group the channel is allegedly recruiting for. There are several militant groups in Syria, including Islamic State (IS) and there are people from the North Caucasus fighting alongside them.

In Oysaeva's case, security forces in Kabardino-Balkaria told Caucasian Knot that the teenager had been assisted on her journey to Syria by the mother of the man she was attempting to join in Syria.

"The girl was persuaded to travel to Syria to a young man who has been there for several months and who is fighting alongside militants. The man's mother was involved with this. She helped Oysaeva get a passport and organized a trip to her bridegroom. Now she denies everything because she knows that such activities are prohibited under the Criminal Code," a police officer was quoted as saying.

The authorities in Kabardino-Balkaria and Chechnya are investigating other incidents of young women, including minors, attempting to travel to Syria.

In one such case, police are investigating reports that a female minor from the Chechen capital, Grozny, ran away from home to travel to Syria.

The most high-profile incident involving a young Chechen woman who ran away to marry a militant in Syria took place in May 2013, when the news broke that the 20-year-old daughter of Asu Dudurkaev, the head of the Chechen Federal Migration Service, had run away to the Middle Eastern country and joined IS militants there. Media sources said the young woman had married an ethnic Kist man from Georgia's Pankisi Gorge who was fighting alongside Islamic State in Aleppo.

The scandal caused personal embarrassment to Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, who responded by firing Dudurkaev. Dudurkaev's daughter, Seda, remained in Syria after her husband, Khamzat Achishvili, was killed in an IS offensive.

Achishvili, who went under the nom de guerre Abu Abdullakh, was photographed with IS military commander Umar Shishani before his death in July 2013 in an offensive at the Menagh Airbase in Aleppo.

Don't 'Marry Out'

It is not known how many young Chechen or other North Caucasus women have gone to Syria.

However, news reports and evidence from social media suggest that North Caucasus women are traveling to Syria to marry North Caucasus men, who they usually have met online.

It is thought that Seda Dudurkaeva, for example, met her husband of two months Achishvili via the Internet. After all, Seda lived in Grozny while Achishvili had lived in Vienna before going to Syria.

The sudden spate of young Chechen women traveling to join their militant boyfriends in Syria comes amid what appears to be a concerted effort by IS to recruit more women to join its ranks in Syria.

In addition, social media accounts linked to North Caucasus militant groups in Syria, particularly IS, have posted calls for women to make "hijra" -- immigration to the lands under IS control.

Part of the reason why Chechen militants in Syria -- including Kists from Pankisi -- are seeking to marry Chechen women is because of a shared language and culture.

Magomadov's social-media posting seems to indicate that Chechen militants prefer to marry Chechen women.

Magomadov said that Chechen militants in Syria are seeking out fellow Chechens for marriage because they want to "share this journey with a person who speaks the same language as them and carries a piece of their native [culture]."

Chechen women are only attractive because they share a language and culture with the militants, Magomadov concludes.

"It's not because you are the best," Magomadov said. "On the contrary. Your pages [on social media] are full of chronicles about IS, slogans, catchphrases and fiery speeches, dreams about resettlement [to Syria]. But, in reality, you are just playing games."

-- Joanna Paraszczuk

About This Blog

"Under The Black Flag" provides news, opinion, and analysis about the impact of the Islamic State (IS) extremist group in Syria, Iraq, and beyond. It focuses not only on the fight against terrorist groups in the Middle East, but also on the implications for the region and the world.


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