A Department of Homeland Security Emeritus Center of Excellence led by the University of Maryland

Caucasus Emirate Narrative


Caucasus Emirate

Last Update

January 2015

Aliases

Forces of the Caucasus Emirate; Imarat Kavkaz; Islamic Emirate of the Caucasus

History

The Caucasus Emirate is an Islamist militant organization in the North Caucasus region founded by Doku Umarov in 2007.[1] The aim of the Caucasus Emirate is the creation of an independent Islamic state in the North Caucasus ruled via sharia law.[2] The group draws membership from various provinces located in the North Caucasus, including Chechnya, Ingushetia, Ossetia, Dagestan, the United Provinces of Balkaria, Karachai and Kabardia, Krasondar Krai and Stavropol Krai.[3] With an estimated size of 400 to 1,500 members, the Caucasus Emirate operates in a cell structure with many independent groups across Chechnya and Europe.[4]

Caucasus Emirate associates with several other Islamic organizations, including al-Qa’ida, the Taliban and the Islamic Jihad Group.[5] Caucasus Emirate has been responsible for various suicide bombings against civilian targets in Russia, including an attack at the Domodedovo airport on January 24, 2011.[6] The group launched a series of bombing attacks against civilians in Moscow that killed dozens from 2010 to 2011. In 2013, leader Doku Umarov also called for attacks against the Sochi Olympics.[7] In March 2014, the Caucasus Emirate leader Doku Umarov was announced dead and Ali Abu Mohammad was elected as the new leader of the group.[8]

Home Base

Russia

Founding Year

2007

Ideology

  • Religious-Islamist-Salafist. Separatist-Caucasus ethnic groups.
  • The strong influence from al-Qa’ida and other jihadist groups has shifted CE’s ideology from separatism towards radical Islamism.[9]

Specific Goals

  • Liberation of Muslim territories from Russia
  • Creation of an Islamic independent state in the North Caucasus
  • Implementation of sharia law.[10]

Political Activity

None

Financing

  • Kidnapping: Former leader, Doku Umarov, engaged in kidnappings for ransoms.[11]
  • Extortion: Use zakat (an Islamic tax) as an excuse to collect money from local citizens and businesses.[12]
  • Other violent groups: Al-Qa’ida has given money to Caucasus Emirate.[13]

Leadership and Structure over Time

  • The group’s structure is a network of various cells located in the North Caucasus, the Near East and Europe.[14] 
    • The organization has cells in European countries includes an official representative office abroad headed by Shamsuddin Batukayev.[15]
  • Founder of the organization, now-deceased Doku Umarov, joined all the North Caucasus cells under the Caucasus Emirate.
    • In 2009, Doku Umarov created a consultative body known as the Majlisul-Shura, composed of nine emirs who are leaders of large groups.[16]
  • 2007- 2014: Doku Umarov,  killed in March 2014
  • 2014-Present: Ali Abu Mohammand.[17]

Strength

  • 2010: 400-1,500.[18]

Allies and Suspected Allies

  • Al-Qa’ida (allies)[19]
  • the Islamic Jihad Group[20]
    the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan[21]
  • Riyadus-Salikhin Reconnaissance[22]
  • Sabotage Battalion of Chechen Martyrs[23]
  • Hizb ut-Tahrir al-Islami (HTI) [24]
  • Taliban networks in Pakistan and Afghanistan (allies) [25]

Rivals and Enemies

  • Russian Federation (enemy)
    • CE fights against local and federal Russian forces in its attempts to establish a separate government based on sharia law. [26]
  • Western entities that do not support the group’s cause.[27]

Counterterrorism Efforts

  • Domestic, Military: The Russian government is involved in extensive counterterrorism efforts against the group.[28]
  • Domestic, Law Enforcement: Local Russian government and law enforcement is primarily responsible for dealing with the group.[29]
  • International, Law Enforcement: Prior to the death of Doku Umarov, the U.S had offered a $5 million reward for information leading to Umarov and his arrest.[30]

United States Government Designations

  • Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO), May 2011
  • Specially Designated Global Terrorist: Doku Umarov, June 2010.[31]

Other Governments’ Designations

  • Russia (February 2010): Listed terrorist organization.[32]
  • United Nations (July 2011): Listed terrorist organization.[33]
 

[1] “Central Asian Terrorism,” The National Counterterrorism Center.  http://www.nctc.gov/site/groups/cent_eurasian.html

[2] Andrew C. Kuchins, Matthew Malarkey, Sergei Markedonov, The North Caucasus: Russia’s Volatile Frontier, (Center for Strategic and International Studies, 2011)10.

http://csis.org/files/publication/110321_Kuchins_NorthCaucasus_WEB.pdf

[3] Andrew C. Kuchins, Matthew Malarkey, Sergei Markedonov, The North Caucasus: Russia’s Volatile Frontier, (Center for Strategic and International Studies, 2011)10.

http://csis.org/files/publication/110321_Kuchins_NorthCaucasus_WEB.pdf

[4]Andrew C. Kuchins, Matthew Malarkey, Sergei Markedonov, The North Caucasus: Russia’s Volatile Frontier, (Center for Strategic and International Studies, 2011)10.

http://csis.org/files/publication/110321_Kuchins_NorthCaucasus_WEB.pdf; United Nations, Security Council Committee, “QE.E.131.11. EMARAT KAVKAZ,” last modified July 19, 2011.

http://www.un.org/sc/committees/1267/NSQE13111E.shtml

[5]United Nations, Security Council Committee, “QE.E.131.11. EMARAT KAVKAZ,” last modified July 19, 2011.

http://www.un.org/sc/committees/1267/NSQE13111E.shtml; “Islam, Islamism and Politics,” in Eurasia Report (IIPER),” Center for Strategic and International Studies CSIS, February 17, 2012.

http://csis.org/files/publication/120217_Hahn_IIPER_52.pdf

[6] “Central Asian Terrorism,” The National Counterterrorism Center.  http://www.nctc.gov/site/groups/cent_eurasian.html; United Nations, Security Council Committee, “QE.E.131.11. EMARAT KAVKAZ”, last modified July 19, 2011.

http://www.un.org/sc/committees/1267/NSQE13111E.shtml

[7] “Central Asian Terrorism,” The National Counterterrorism Center.  http://www.nctc.gov/site/groups/cent_eurasian.html

[8] Mairbek Vatchagaev, “North Caucasus Militants Announce New Leader to Replace Umarov,” The Jamestown Foundation, March 21, 2014. http://www.jamestown.org/regions/thecaucasus/single/?tx_ttnews%5Btt_news%5D=42133&tx_ttnews%5BbackPid%5D=54&cHash=c5c4e18c1d85da3b6fe48616e89262da#.VB8qEPldVZ8

[9] International Institute for Strategic Studies IISS, Volume 2012, Edition 25, December 4, 2012. http://www.iiss.org/en/publications/strategic%20comments/sections/2012-bb59/jihad-in-russia--the-caucasus-emirate-2-345b; United Nations, Security Council Committee, “QE.E.131.11. EMARAT KAVKAZ,” last modified July 19, 2011.

http://www.un.org/sc/committees/1267/NSQE13111E.shtml; The American Foreign Policy Council’s World ALMANAC of Islamism, last modified July 11, 2013. http://almanac.afpc.org/Russia

[10] “Central Asian Terrorism,” The National Counterterrorism Center.  http://www.nctc.gov/site/groups/cent_eurasian.html; Andrew C. Kuchins, Matthew Malarkey, Sergei Markedonov, The North Caucasus: Russia’s Volatile Frontier, (Center for Strategic and International Studies, 2011)10.

http://csis.org/files/publication/110321_Kuchins_NorthCaucasus_WEB.pdf; International Institute for Strategic Studies IISS, Volume 2012, Edition 25, December 4, 2012.

 http://www.iiss.org/en/publications/strategic%20comments/sections/2012-bb59/jihad-in-russia--the-caucasus-emirate-2-345b

[11] Dmitriy Sedov, “Caucasus Emirate in Europe,” Strategic Culture Foundation, June 5, 2013.

http://m.strategic-culture.org/news/2013/05/06/caucasus-emirate-in-europe.html

[12] “Insurgency In Daghestan Extorts Funding From State Budget, Businessmen,” Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty, May 2, 2013.

http://www.rferl.org/content/daghestan-extortion-insurgency/24975168.html; “Islam, Islamism and Politics,” in Eurasia Report (IIPER),” Center for Strategic and International Studies CSIS, February 17, 2012.

http://csis.org/files/publication/120217_Hahn_IIPER_52.pdf

[13]“Report Links Al-Qaida to Caucasus Insurgency,” The Moscow Times, October 3, 2011. http://www.themoscowtimes.com/news/article/report-links-al-qaida-to-caucasus-insurgency/444658.html

[14] United Nations, Security Council Committee, “QE.E.131.11. EMARAT KAVKAZ,” last modified July 19, 2011.

http://www.un.org/sc/committees/1267/NSQE13111E.shtml; “The American Foreign Policy Council’s World ALMANAC of Islamism,” last modified July 11, 2013. http://almanac.afpc.org/Russia

[15] United Nations, Security Council Committee, “QE.E.131.11. EMARAT KAVKAZ,” last modified July 19, 2011.

http://www.un.org/sc/committees/1267/NSQE13111E.shtml 

[16]United Nations, Security Council Committee, “QE.E.131.11. EMARAT KAVKAZ,” last modified July 19, 2011.

http://www.un.org/sc/committees/1267/NSQE13111E.shtml 

[17] Mairbek Vatchagaev, “North Caucasus Militants Announce New Leader to Replace Umarov,” The Jamestown Foundation, March 21, 2014. http://www.jamestown.org/regions/thecaucasus/single/?tx_ttnews%5Btt_news%5D=42133&tx_ttnews%5BbackPid%5D=54&cHash=c5c4e18c1d85da3b6fe48616e89262da#.VB8qEPldVZ8

[18] “The American Foreign Policy Council’s World ALMANAC of Islamism,” last modified July 11, 2013.  http://almanac.afpc.org/Russia

[19] United Nations, Security Council Committee, “QE.E.131.11. EMARAT KAVKAZ,” last modified July 19, 2011.

http://www.un.org/sc/committees/1267/NSQE13111E.shtml; “Islam, Islamism and Politics,” in Eurasia Report (IIPER),” Center for Strategic and International Studies CSIS, February 17, 2012.

http://csis.org/files/publication/120217_Hahn_IIPER_52.pdf

[20] United Nations, Security Council Committee, “QE.E.131.11. EMARAT KAVKAZ,” last modified July 19, 2011.

http://www.un.org/sc/committees/1267/NSQE13111E.shtml; “Islam, Islamism and Politics,” in Eurasia Report (IIPER),” Center for Strategic and International Studies CSIS, February 17, 2012.

http://csis.org/files/publication/120217_Hahn_IIPER_52.pdf

[21] United Nations, Security Council Committee, “QE.E.131.11. EMARAT KAVKAZ,” last modified July 19, 2011.

http://www.un.org/sc/committees/1267/NSQE13111E.shtml; “Islam, Islamism and Politics,” in Eurasia Report (IIPER),” Center for Strategic and International Studies CSIS, February 17, 2012.

http://csis.org/files/publication/120217_Hahn_IIPER_52.pdf

[22] United Nations, Security Council Committee, “QE.E.131.11. EMARAT KAVKAZ,” last modified July 19, 2011.

http://www.un.org/sc/committees/1267/NSQE13111E.shtml; “Islam, Islamism and Politics,” in Eurasia Report (IIPER),” Center for Strategic and International Studies CSIS, February 17, 2012.

http://csis.org/files/publication/120217_Hahn_IIPER_52.pdf

[23] United Nations, Security Council Committee, “QE.E.131.11. EMARAT KAVKAZ,” last modified July 19, 2011.

http://www.un.org/sc/committees/1267/NSQE13111E.shtml; “Islam, Islamism and Politics,” in Eurasia Report (IIPER),” Center for Strategic and International Studies CSIS, February 17, 2012.

http://csis.org/files/publication/120217_Hahn_IIPER_52.pdf

[24] United Nations, Security Council Committee, “QE.E.131.11. EMARAT KAVKAZ,” last modified July 19, 2011.

http://www.un.org/sc/committees/1267/NSQE13111E.shtml; “Islam, Islamism and Politics,” in Eurasia Report (IIPER),” Center for Strategic and International Studies CSIS, February 17, 2012.

http://csis.org/files/publication/120217_Hahn_IIPER_52.pdf

[25] United Nations, Security Council Committee, “QE.E.131.11. EMARAT KAVKAZ,” last modified July 19, 2011.

http://www.un.org/sc/committees/1267/NSQE13111E.shtml; “Islam, Islamism and Politics,” in Eurasia Report (IIPER),” Center for Strategic and International Studies CSIS, February 17, 2012.

http://csis.org/files/publication/120217_Hahn_IIPER_52.pdf

[26] “Islam, Islamism and Politics,” in Eurasia Report (IIPER),” Center for Strategic and International Studies CSIS, February 17, 2012.

http://csis.org/files/publication/120217_Hahn_IIPER_52.pdf

[27] “Islam, Islamism and Politics,” in Eurasia Report (IIPER),” Center for Strategic and International Studies CSIS, February 17, 2012.

http://csis.org/files/publication/120217_Hahn_IIPER_52.pdf

[28] International Institute for Strategic Studies IISS, Volume 2012, Edition 25, December 4, 2012, accessed September 21, 2012,

 http://www.iiss.org/en/publications/strategic%20comments/sections/2012-bb59/jihad-in-russia--the-caucasus-emirate-2-345b

[29] “Islam, Islamism and Politics,” in Eurasia Report (IIPER),” Center for Strategic and International Studies CSIS, February 17, 2012.

http://csis.org/files/publication/120217_Hahn_IIPER_52.pdf

[30] “Report Links Al-Qaida to Caucasus Insurgency,” The Moscow Times, October 3, 2011. http://www.themoscowtimes.com/news/article/report-links-al-qaida-to-caucasus-insurgency/444658.html;

[31] U.S Department of State, “Designation of Caucasus Emirate.” http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2011/05/164312.htm

[32] United Nations, Security Council Committee, “QE.E.131.11. EMARAT KAVKAZ.” last modified July 19, 2011.

http://www.un.org/sc/committees/1267/NSQE13111E.shtml

[33] United Nations, Security Council Committee, “QE.E.131.11. EMARAT KAVKAZ,” last modified July 19, 2011.

http://www.un.org/sc/committees/1267/NSQE13111E.shtml