By Ramazan Khalidov and Lee Jay Walker
August 10th, 2013
The conflict in Syria continues to cause mayhem because of outside meddling which continues to support terrorism and sectarianism. It is ridiculous that the term “rebels” is still being used because untold numbers of international jihadists, mercenaries and covert operatives are in Syria. Indeed, several leading terrorist groups in Syria are led by international jihadists and clearly the Caucasus terrorist network and many others are thriving. After all, NATO Turkey appears to have open borders whereby not only international jihadists, mercenaries and covert operatives have an open border; but all the above can also obtain major military arms and logistics courtesy of a NATO member.
In the Russian Federation many politicians are worried about the increasing growth of NATO because the Warsaw Pact collapsed after the demise of communism. Despite this, NATO continues to expand in the direction of the Russian Federation therefore until this nation becomes compliant, then the suspicion remains that this military organization is aimed at Moscow in the worst case scenario. However, now it is also clear that international jihadists have easy access within NATO nations because Turkey is ample evidence of this. Therefore, given the volatility of the Caucasus region and past ratlines linking Georgia and Turkey with Chechen terrorism; then the Russian Federation should be extremely alarmed by events in Syria. It must be stated that Georgia and Turkey have favourable relations with America and the United Kingdom respectively.
President Vladimir Putin may have been able to quell the Chechen crisis by adopting a favourable stance with the Kadyrov clan, after this family changed sides at the start of the Second Chechen War. Yet all is not well under the surface because the Russian Orthodox Christian community is on the back-foot throughout most of the Caucasus region. This is based on ethnic Russians leaving various parts of the Caucasus region alongside other ethnic groups which follow the Christian faith. In other words, modern day Chechnya, and other parts of the Caucasus, are being Islamized by stealth because Moscow appears lost about what to do, apart from adopting policies related to regional loyalty within the Russian Federation.
If you look at China, then this nation refuses to allow this scenario therefore many Han Chinese have moved to mainly Muslim Xinxiang and Buddhist Tibet. This issue is important in the long-term for the Russian Federation. However, equally worrying now is the Salafi Islamist ticking time bomb within Chechnya, the Caucasus region and now increasing its powerbase in Tatarstan.
Regional Muslim figures are alarmed by the threat towards traditional Islam within various parts of the Russian Federation. Likewise, in Syria several Sunni Muslim clerics have been killed for either being pro-governments or merely calling for accommodation; therefore, certain Gulf nations are a threat to internal Muslim sects throughout the Russian Federation and Syria. Therefore, with sizeable numbers of Chechens and other Caucasus Islamist militants going to Syria; then clearly this will become a major issue unless policies are implemented quickly.
In another article by Modern Tokyo Times about Tatarstan it was stated that “Salafi Islamists in 2012 tried to kill the most influential Muslim leader in Tatarstan. This applies to Ildus Faizov who is a powerful Muslim spiritual leader in this part of the Russian Federation. However, Ildus Faizov escaped the ravages of a bomb attack against his life on July 19, 2012. Valiulla Yakupov, who was extremely close to Ildus Faizov, sadly didn’t escape on the same day because he was shot dead in Kazan.”
The President of Tatarstan, Rustam Minnikhanov, stated that “Unfortunately, (the) intensively developing economy attracts attention of not only investors, but foreign special services and radical extremist organizations,” Rustam Minnikhanov said. He noted that activity of radical extremist groups aimed at destabilization of public and political situation required (the) mobilization of all forces and structures. Tatarstan state power and law enforcement bodies took measures on counteracting terrorism and religious extremism.”
In this sense, it is imperative that al-Qaeda affiliates, Sunni militant terrorist groups and Salafi sectarians are defeated equally in the Russian Federation and Syria. Any weakness in the chain will cause convulsions throughout the region which links the Middle East and the Caucasus region – which in turn will spread throughout other parts of the Russian Federation if not checked.
The CIA, MI6 and other secret services from France – and within the anti-Syrian government alliance – are now working far and wide in order to maintain the fluid terrorist, sectarian and military channels. On top of this, neighbouring Jordan and Turkey are involved in destabilizing Syria by allowing the CIA, MI6, and others secret services, to train and equip the so-called Free Syrian Army (FSA). At the same time, parts of Lebanon is being used – just like Turkey – whereby these two countries are links within the ratlines emanating from parts of the Balkans (Bosnia, Croatia and Kosovo); North Africa (notably Libya and Tunisia); and the Caucasus region (applies to Turkey). Obviously, Middle East links come naturally based on geography but elements within Lebanon are opposed to the shenanigans of Gulf and Western powers. Also, the government of Iraq is opposed to the destabilization of Syria. However, Iraq can’t stop the terrorist angle whereby al-Qaeda affiliates from this country enter Syria because of internal issues related to terrorism and sectarianism.
Therefore, it is essential for the Russian Federation to provide genuine military support to Syria which will help greatly in combating the current insurgency being backed by outside powers. Syria needs weapons that enable a major advantage at night, to move quickly and freely with increased firepower, more advanced tanks and other obvious military arms to alter the current military playing field. It isn’t good enough for China, Iran, the Russian Federation – and many other nations, to just condemn terrorism and call for talks. Instead, Syria needs greater economic, political and military support with the emphasis being on defeating the outside funded insurgency.
The Kurds are now feeling the wrath of al-Qaeda affiliated groups like al-Nusra and the various remnants of the FSA. In recent weeks many Kurdish civilians have been killed after Kurdish areas have either come under attack or have fallen to al-Qaeda based groups and the FSA. Of course, the stronghold for al-Qaeda affiliated groups is in various areas linked to the border of Syria and Turkey and linking up with parts of Aleppo and other areas.
This chain linking NATO Turkey with brutal terrorist groups; just shows you how low America, France, Turkey and the United Kingdom have sunk. After all, these militant terrorist and sectarian groups are being served openly by ratlines in Jordan and Turkey respectively and clearly the CIA and MI6 are involved. Hezbollah is trying to stem the ratlines in Lebanon but it is a very difficult to achieve given the fragile and delicate nature of this nation.
On the Kavkaz Center website, a propaganda vehicle for Chechen and Caucasus Islamists, it is stated that “Troops of the Northern Directorate of the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham began a decisive attack on the positions of Assadites, anchored on the territory of an important strategic facility – airport Minnag near Aleppo.”
It continues by stating that “Recently, Emir of the Army of Emigrants of Supporters, Omar al-Chechen, was appointed to the post of the commander of the Northern Directorate of the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham. Most forces of the Mujahideen in northern Syria came under his command.”
What is clearly noticeable is that many of the fighters killed in this assault came from Chechnya and Dagestan. The noticeable features of Caucasus sectarian terrorists are clearly an advantage for covert operatives from the Russian Federation to take them out internally or externally. However, it appears that the Russian Federation isn’t doing enough in this sense to help the armed forces of Syria. Therefore, how come America openly uses drones in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen – and in other parts of the world – however, the Russian Federation is doing little to stem the Caucasus sectarian terrorist angle both internally and externally when it comes to Syria?
Also, the usage of terrorists from Chechnya, Dagestan, and other parts of the Caucasus region, is clearly in line with the logic of the CIA, MI6 and other services in this field. It is noticeable, that Caucasus Islamists are utilizing the terrain in the north of Syria whereby NATO Turkey is on hand and the same applies to covert operatives. Another distinguishing feature is that airports and other visible and well defined attacks are being singled out and clearly logistics are being driven by other motives outside of the scope of terrorist attacks. Of course, not all Caucasus sectarian terrorists are highly skilled because others are involved in senseless attacks against civilians including beheading fellow Muslims and killing Syrian women who refuse to marry jihadists temporarily – yes, this is their sick morality.
The Kavkaz Center also states about the recent attack in another report that “The capture of the military airport Minnag on 27 Ramadan 1434 (August 5, 2013) was a major tactical success of the forces of the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS) in the ongoing battle for the economic capital of the Syria, the city of Aleppo.”
“It is to be recalled that the seizure of the airport Minnag followed after 10 months of siege and fierce fighting. During that time, about 300 Mujahideen martyred (Insha’Allah). The core of the ISIS troops in the area is the units of the Army of Emigrants and Supporters which lost in total more than 100 fighters, mostly Caucasians.”
It is factual that Islamist sectarian forces and Takfiris are going to Syria from many different countries but the Caucasus factions have a goal which lies outside of other terrorist groups. Also, why are more Caucasus terrorists dying and fighting in Syria rather than fighting at home? Clearly, financial factors emanating from the Gulf are at play alongside the CIA, MI6 and the role of Turkey. Yet, why is the Russian Federation being so passive given the threat of the Caucasus Islamist angle?
This threat applies to the Russian Federation and Syria respectively. It is just like Iran which sends military arms to Hamas which is anti-Shia at heart but the same Iran neglects the persecution of Shia Muslims in Bahrain and Pakistan. Syria is standing alone apart from Hezbollah helping to a minor extent in border areas between Lebanon and Syria. However, while Hezbollah is trying to support Syria despite the limitations of this entity with regards to numbers of people available; it is baffling why the Russian Federation is inactive given the Caucasus sectarian terrorist angle to the crisis in Syria.
After all, the Russian Federation will face the same terrorist factions in the future and important links are being made by these terrorist groups with other international jihadists throughout the Middle East and North Africa. Likewise, the Salafi and Takfiri doctrines will be spread by their increasing militancy once they return back to the Caucasus region. Given this reality, then why is Iran so passive in the military area and more important – why is the Russian Federation standing by while the enemies of this nation are sending untold numbers of jihadists to Syria – and in the knowledge that Caucasus militants will try to spread their ideology to fragile areas of the Russian Federation when they return home?