Day: March 21, 2009

Russia’s Islamist insurgency

Jamestown’s North Caucasus Weekly has published an exclusive interview by Fatima Tlisova with the Chechen guerrilla leader Anzor Astemirov, in which the Caucasus Emirate’s Sharia legislative head expresses some interesting thoughts on the current status of the Islamist insurgency in the North Caucasus, and answers recent accusations by figures in the Russian military about suspected links with Western and Arab countries:

Financial support from the West or Arab countries is an absolute lie and a myth. If we received any support—even meager, not to mention significant—we would be much more successful in all respects. We created and systematized internal support techniques, and Sharia gives us clear rules for collecting military zakat (taxes). We prepared regulations and orders, which were distributed on our territories by our naibs (deputy commanders). In today’s situation, financial or any other types of support are no longer voluntary actions but fard ‘ain (compulsory) for every true Muslim because we are in war. We do not take anything that is above a fixed percentage rate, we do not rob poor families or those who suffered from the regime; instead, we support them as much as we can afford. For those who deny obeying the law, accepting their duty, we do use various penalties, including physical threats or even death. However, we prevent our people from unnecessary violations; we always recommend beginning with persuasion by the word rather than by the gun.    

Also in North Caucasus Weekly, analyst Mairbek Vatchagaev writes about the major crossroads now being approached by the Ingush insurgency, as the real intentions of the recently-appointed President Yunus-bek Yevkurov start to become apparent.