Caucasus Emirate leader survived Russian raid

Doku-Riyah-video-Kavkaz.jpg

From left to right: Khamzat, the commander of the Riyad-us-Saliheen Martyr Brigade; Doku Umarov, the leader of the Caucasus Emirate; and Saifullah, the suicide bomber of the deadly Jan. 24 suicide attack at Domodedovo International Airport in Moscow that killed 35 people.

The leader of the al Qaeda-linked Islamic Caucasus Emirate spoke to the media and confirmed he survived a late March raid by Russian commandos that killed 17 terrorists, including the terror group’s deputy commander.

Doku Umarov, the emir of the Islamic Caucasus Emirate, confirmed he was alive and ‘absolutely healthy” in a telephone interview with Radio Free Europe yesterday. Umarov also said he would continue to carry out attacks against Russia.

“There was an operation in which several Mujahideen died,” Umarov said, according to a translation of his interview by Kavkaz Center, a propaganda arm of the Islamic Caucasus Emirate. “My death was announced too. They won’t receive any respite from me. I’m preparing my answer to them. They should expect news from me soon.”

Umarov has yet to release a videotape via Kavkaz Center, as he has done in the past to deny reports of his death.

Despite Umarov’s survival, the March 28 raid in Ingushetia exacted a heavy toll on the top leadership of the Caucasus Emirate. Emir Supyan, Umarov’s second in command, and Umarov’s doctor were among the 17 Caucasus Emirates members killed during the operation. Supyan was a longtime jihadist who fought with the “Islamic Battalion,” the unit comprised of Arab and other foreign fighters.

There also was speculation that Emir Khazmat, the commander of the Riyad-us-Saliheen Martyr Brigade, the terror group’s suicide squad, was killed in the attack but this was not confirmed.

Kavkaz Center denied that the raid targeted a suicide camp, but instead said the base was used by Supyan for “training ordinary new recruits.”

“The base in Upper Alkun was under the responsibility of Emir Supyan and was only one of the centers for training ordinary new recruits, and had nothing to do with the Martyr Brigade Riyad-us-Saliheen which is responsible for martyrdom attacks in Russian enemy heartland,” Kavkaz Center claimed.

Russian security forces have been hunting Umarov and other top leaders of the Caucasus Emirates for years. Umarov and Khazmat have masterminded some of the most deadly terror attacks in Russia and the Caucasus republics. Umarov and Khazmat claimed credit for the deadly Jan. 24, 2011 suicide attack at Domodedovo International Airport in Moscow that killed 35 people and wounded scores more. Umarov also claimed responsibility for the March 29, 2010 suicide attack by two female bombers that killed 39 people in the Moscow metro.

Several times in the past, Umarov has been rumored to have been killed, but he has later appeared on videotapes to confirm he was alive. [See LWJ reports, US designates Caucasus Emirate leader Doku Umarov a global terrorist, and Caucasus Emirate leader thought killed in raid.]

For more information on the Islamic Caucasus Emirate and its war with Russia, see LWJ report, 35 killed in suicide attack at Moscow airport.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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28 Comments

  • Villiger says:

    Weird that Radio ‘Free’ Europe would give this evil free air and a platform for his propaganda.

  • Soccer says:

    They have always condemned Islamic extremism and spoke against their propaganda, but at the same time they have always given extremists a platform to spew their bullocks.
    Rferl should be ashamed for giving so many terrorists the publicity they have. Yeah sure, it’s all free speech as long as they are not hacking off YOUR heads or bombing YOUR cities.

  • Russ says:

    It’s interesting to know,how Umarov can be evil when Chechen resistance fights Russians? What’s the logic here? Is that because Russians say Umarov is evil or something else? There is a big question mark on Russian anti-terrorist campaign in North Caucasus.

  • vito says:

    no wonder he called Radio Free Europe … they are his long time friends after all, just check out their archives for 95-2003 and everything is then in place (for Radio Free Europe obviously umarov and his terrorists were always sympathetic as so-called “freedom”, “independance” fighters all time along till recent times) … “buddies” (umarov and co. & Radio Free Europe are) haven’t talked in a while then an opportunity arose – such as Russian forces raid on umarov’s base – and umarov is readily available to talk and discuss it … an expert, indeed, lol

  • bullseye says:

    Russia Today???
    I wonder what Russia Today’s story will be, or will there be time for a story about Umarov, given RT’s constant bashing of the USA and Europe.

  • Vito says:

    @Soccer … you’re so right about that … Rferl always blurred the line between freedom of speech and radical propoganda

  • Vito says:

    @Russ … the reality is that most of us were brainwashed by liberal propaganda here about Chechen resistance – in reality it happened to be very diverse group of terrorists, former criminals and some ordinary Chechen who sincerely thought they fought for freedom, but it quickly became obvious in 1997-2000b what kind of “freedom” it was indeed – freedom from law, freedom to kidnap and enslave people, freedom of financial frauds, ethnic cleansing (before war there was over 400 thousands of non-Chechen population and by year of 2000 fewer than 8 thousand left) … so, even given Russian really poor record of conducting war in North Caucasus – there’s no question mark for me who umarov is … what about osama? is there a question mark for him for you too? you can say it all because US wants to see him evil and so on … come on …

  • Russ says:

    To Vito: I suggest you might wanna do better homework on Chechen conflict.There is very little known about Osama-Chechen connection besides jordaninan Hattab’s involvement (who is dead by the way) Moreover,it is very crucial to read former ex-KGB officers.Follow the lead with poison.ed Litvinenko in London (who was in Chechnya during the first war as FSB operative)
    Foreigners from Muslim nations have been involved in Bosnia as well so does it make Bosnians terrorists given example with Chechnya?
    One thing needs to be understood about Chechen wars.It’s strictly about independence from Russia.Check Ruslan Gelaev’s comments on FSB in Chechnya including mentioned by you episode with foreign journalists abduction cases

  • TMP says:

    Doku Umarov is the Zarqawi of the Caucasus, in that unlike UBL (if alive) and Zawahiri …who have ran to Mtns, far from the front lines of the fight…..Umarov has managed to stay alive for an extended period of time….while right in the sh*t of it.
    Wish him dead! But from the warrior side you have to respect that from him….

  • blert says:

    If you read The Soviet Mafia ( Arkady Vaksberg )
    ISBN 0-312-07135-3
    you’ll come to know of the VERY tight connection between the KGB and the Chechens — the basis for the Russian Mafia.
    The RM is behind the fiasco in both Iceland and Ireland – -but you hardly see it in the press.
    Billions were stolen and hauled off to Moscow.
    Western governments are expecting Icelanders and the Irish to make good on Russian Mafia thefts.
    Any discussion of the Chechens is of the shadow world. Hence it is impossible to untangle the ball of lies.
    Putin is a KGB man ( St. Petersburg clan ) and the Russian Mafia up in St Petersburg is famed for trafficking in H.
    Naturally enough, Moscow is now screaming about too much Afghani opium getting to Europe.
    Everything is in the shadows: one doesn’t know what to think.

  • Soccer says:

    Russ: A man responsible for numerous bombings, beheadings and suicide bombings IS evil, no matter how you stretch it, no matter how much he is “resisting” the “oppressors”.
    One day you’ll see what I mean, obviously right now your mind is blocking out the true horrors of what Chechen jihadists have done. One day your mind and opinion will change and you will see why they are referred to as evil men.

  • Russ says:

    To Soccer: It’s quite easy way out with “evil” terminology.Remember,”axis of evil” crap? Everybody is evil FYI in that case.As far as Umarov’s involvement in beheadings and so forth.I already mentioned,commander Gelaev who by the way is one of the most respected Chechens from Resistance even Russians recognized him as talented military leaders.Gelaev in his last interview to English reporter in 2003 specifically highlighted FSB’s role in kidnappings and beheadings of foreign journalists.I advise to look into that.As far as beheadings by Chechens and Russian Nazi style concentration camps in Hankala, it’s a deal between Russians and Chechens since they have issues for more than 2 centuries already.read assassinated Anna Politkovskaya reports from Chechnya.it will certainly open up some perspective about so-called “global terrorism” in Chechnya.

  • Mohmad says:

    As a Chechen and Sufi Muslim I am confused by your comments Russ. How are they freedom fighters and fighting for the freedom of my homeland if they kill Chechen? They bomb Chechen Mosques, markets and target Sufi clerics who stand up against terrorism. Oh wait they consider Sufi the native faith of Chechen infidels since we are not Wahhabist Islam like Saudi Arabia. Wahhabist consider everyone who is not like them including other Muslims infidels. Sorry Russ I do not want Chechnya to be under the control of Wahhabist Muslims and Strict Sharia law that allows honor killing, bride napping or other acts of abuse toward women. I do not want people hate all of Islam or innocent lives dead because of a few coward who hide and cant act like men.
    As a Muslim this Terrorism disgust me. Terrorism is a threat to all life and Islam as whole. It should be never justified it anyway and never used as a pretense for freedom fighters.
    Do not use us for your silly propaganda garbage or agenda.

  • Villiger says:

    Mohmad, RESPECT! (From a fellow global villager 🙂

  • vito says:

    barkalla, Mohmad …. my respect for what you said, i wish there were more people like you in Chechnya … and to Russ – read also about “respected” commander Gelayev when because of his brilliant guidance 1,500 Chechen fighters perished in siege of Komsomolskoye of year 2001 and Basayev wanted to court-marshall him and Gelayev was removed from commandment and had to flee to Pankissi Gorge, Georgia … pls, do some homework too. also, Russ as far as FSB and so on involved in beheadings again by Gelaev’s accounts (which are not so trustworthy after all), please go on any jihadist website (i can provide you link if wish) and there absolutely openly posted videos of Hattabs, Arbi Barayevs, Basayev’s etc. fighter performing beheadings, tortures without any reference to FSB or any other secret service – example – Basayevs and Hattab invasion of Dagestan in summer 1999 where plenty of atrocities were documented on video by these terrorists … so, one needs to be blind not to see obvious who and what is evil.

  • Russ says:

    Well of course,anything but terrorist slides quite good.With that view everything is one way street folks.There are different sorts of opinions on how Chechnya was and how it wants to be including details with Islam versions.It’s up to Chechens.Here is the point though whatever happened in Chechnya from the beginning of 90s and over could be explained by Chechen divisive internal politics weather it’s Sufi or other.As far as Gelaev’s Komsomolskoy battle,thanks to another Russian FSB fed Chechen criminal Baraev who set it up making Gelaev’s group wide open there.It’s part of a Russian strategy to use Chechens against Chechens (widely used KGB tactic in Afghanistan in the 80s) There is no surprise in Chechnya.

  • Soccer says:

    Just forget it, he’s close minded and like I said he thinks his version of events are right over all others.
    Documentation, videos, articles, facts, etc. will not convince otherwise at all. Just let him think he’s right and ignore him, it’s pointless.

  • Soccer says:

    BTW, sort of off-topic, but I would shake Mohmad’s hand if I could.

  • Vito says:

    Russ … respectfully desagree with you on main subject, but agree that FSB is using tactics of KGB in 80’s in Chechnya, so is CIA in 60’s against Viet Cong, in Iraq most recently and covertly in Afganistan now to no surprise – it’s common tactic regardless of state affiliation … still, for some reason you ignored to comment Basayevs and Hattabs invasion of 1999 into Dagestan and atrocities widespread documented in its course – is that an example of bravery and valor in your opinion (beheadings of captured APC crew, captured solders, so-called dagestani collaborators etc.) … i think you simply don’t like anything russian (i’m not fond of them either but try to be impartial) and that the course of your association anything evil comes and can come only from russian – very biased view – at least the it sounds as main line in your post … i think, in my view, Bill has very excellent and impartial account in regard to both Russian FSB affairs and presenting Chechen terrorists who they really are.

  • Russ says:

    Hey,I ain’t pro-Chechen neither pro-Russian but to name Chechen independence movement a terrorist is a dead wrong.Just look at the roots of the conflict deeper traced over 2 centuries ago.Just this fact alone indicates that Chechen people struggle for independence is not a recent phenomenon but something much more than that.So to go for “cliche” terrorist is not an answer.That’s want Russians’re making of it given a fact of wide spread Kremlin propaganda in Russia which is not a news at all nowadays with Putin in the game (5th department of KGB back in the 80s when Putin was in East Germany)Moreover,Russian journalist Politkovskaya has been writing about war crimes of Russian security services and troops in Chechnya quite in perspective.So all I’m trying to tell is that there is much more bigger picture here but not that crap that Russian propaganda produced.Since this is LWJ somehow dedicated to intelligence you should research more and come up with detailed analysis instead of some half baked product about Chechen war.

  • Soccer says:

    How can you claim others come up with “half baked product” on the Chechen conflict, when most of your post is one VERY long driveling run on sentence that is not even coherent?
    It’s obvious you’re anti-Russian and pro-Chechen, just admit it. You constantly highlight Russian crimes but never talk about Chechen crimes, and you label Russians as tyrants while you label Chechens as people struggling for freedom and independence.
    Your true colors shine through with every post you make.

  • Russ says:

    Soccer:You have no idea who I’m or what I do.One thing I know,there is more to conflict in Chechnya than what Kremlin is pushing.As far as Chechen people,world organizations counted up to 200 000 dead.Out of a little over a million of total population this is up to 10% of population in Chechnya killed by Russian army and security services. It’s plain genocide commited by Russians under Putin regime. How about that,hah?

  • Soccer says:

    Proving my point AGAIN.
    Focusing on Russian atrocities and ignoring the Chechen ones while making it look like they are the victims.
    Why continue digging your hole?

  • Russ says:

    Soccer: Well,if my stuff makes you feel this way,I’m glad you’re reading it.By the way,there is none new what I’m presenting here.Your reaction is similar to Russian because they do not except any other opinion than theirs on Chechen.I should say,mainstream.But there are different perspectives as well.I already mentioned a few.

  • villiger says:

    Russ, you are wrong about your statistics above–back them up authentically.
    You are neither pro-chechnya, nor pro-Russia. You can neither tell the difference between a freedom fighter and a terrorist. (Innocent civilian victims can. And some of us who feel compassion for them.) You can neither tell the difference between whats legitimate and what is evil. Thats beginning to fit the profile of a wahhabi.
    Want some credibility? Reply to Mohmad above and sort out your confusion. And don’t get too lost in history. The context is now, 21C and the War against hard-line, jihadist Islam. Hope thats clear.

  • Vito says:

    @Russ .. please, tell me one thing – politics aside (even though despite your claim being impartial here it hardly looks so) – can you admit that without ignoring inconvenient questions once and for all – are documented proven atrocities – beheading, mass and individual kidnappings, suicide bombings etc. at hands of Chechen rebels between 1994 and now – is it terrorists acts or legitimate acts of resistance? no answer also counts an answer in this case, cuz i somehow predict your answer as it’s all mess staged FSB setup ….

  • Russ says:

    Vito:Aside from everything,CIA wasn’t involved in ethnic cleansing as it took place in Chechnya guided by FSB and GRU.Try Politkovskaya tours in Chechnya and her accounts on “zachistkas” (similar to German NAZI style raids through Jewish neighborhoods).Besides,”ethnic cleansing” Russian troops commited uncounted cases of rapes of Chechen women (highly published rape and murder of Chechen girl by Russian army officer Budanov). Plus,assassinations of Human Rights activists in Chechnya,for instance:Murdered HR rep.Estemirova.Again,Chechen conflict is much more complicated than “white-black”.Understand that.But do not assume Chechen war is a part of a global terror campaign.That’s how Putin portrays it.In reality,Russia as state conducted wide scale gestapo type “ethnic killings” in Chechnya.take it from there. Also try,FSB operative Litvinenko who was poisoned in London.read Litvinenko’s comment on 1999 bombings in Moscow.

  • Vito says:

    Russ .. i’m not arguing with you about Russian crimes, they’re proven … my point is what about crimes from Chechen side starting since pre-war times of 1994 till now – are those well-documented by Russian human-rights organization “Memorial” (which is by no means pro-Russian, but rather like you are pro-Chechen) – their accounts of murders, rapes, terrorist acts by Chechen fighters which even they unwillingly had to admit took place before and after war … you mentioned genocide of chechen poopulation at both war claiming 200,000 perished, but accordingly to “Memorial” again it was by their account about 81,000 total (which is confirmed by OSCE and UN – again not 200,000 as you claim – please back it by facts in future) of which majority is unfortunate non-Chechen population left behind and killed by widely inaccurate and indiscriminate Russian shellings because chechens have large extended families in mountainous part of Chechnya and they evacuated most of their relatives and family member there, so you get who took main casualty again? also you plainly ignored the fate of all non-chechen population before war started which stood at nearly 400,000 but by year of 2000 fewer that 8,000 left – isn’t it a form of ethnic cleansing too? again, you can’t blame it all on FSB and state security apparatus, where i agree with you on Litvinenko – i can’t do this on rest of the subject …. your argument is always lopsided and very one-sided and focused on Russian crimes only while always intentionally omit crimes of adverse side which is not yet again neutral as you claim … so, how you then classify crimes of Chechen side because it took place on both sides of the aisle? pls, answer this simple question, thank you.

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