Monday, December 2, 2013

Chechens drawn south to fight in Syria

Last one for a couple of days-
Following up on- Meet the Rebel Commander in Syria That Assad, Russia and the U.S. All Fear

The BBC article mentions the feared Commander, ethnic Chechen, Georgian Army/Covert Operative- Tarkhan Batirashvili or U/Omar al-Shishani

Omar Shishani (centre) has urged Muslims to support the "jihad" against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad
Chechens in Syria
On the flight from Istanbul to Tbilisi, I had a conversation with a former employee of the UN's refugee agency who had worked with Chechens living in the Pankisi Gorge.
The remote area in north-eastern Georgia had been "forgotten", because "the pro-Russian regime in Chechnya led by Ramzan Kadyrov does not want the valley's Chechens, the Georgian government cannot support them, and Russia - of course - does not care about them", the former UN official said.

I went to the Pankisi Gorge to find out why many young Chechens from there have travelled to Syria to fight alongside rebels trying to topple President Bashar al-Assad.

One of the most prominent, Omar Shishani, is the leader of Jaysh al-Muhajirin wa al-Ansar (Army of the Emigrants and Helpers), an al-Qaeda-aligned jihadist group comprising hundreds of mostly foreign fighters, many of them from the North Caucasus.
Omar/Umar Shishani is the most feared rebel commander (WSJ) of ISIS. Previous post linked above.
The Pankisi Gorge sits in the foothills of the Caucasus Mountains.

Pankisi Gorge: It has about 15,000 ethnic Chechen residents, whose ancestors migrated there in the 18th Century.

The population suffers from relatively high rates of poverty and pensions form the primary source of income for most of the families there, according to the Georgian government.
Pankisi Gorge The Pankisi Gorge has about 15,000 ethnic Chechen residents

What type of pensions? 

During the two wars between Russian government forces and separatist rebels in Chechnya in the 1990s and 2000s, the Pankisi Gorge's Chechen population expanded.

The valley became a refuge for those wanting to flee the fighting and, as the Russian state re-established control, rebel fighters seeking protection from attack.
Many of the rebels were ultraconservative Islamists, or Salafists, who wanted to create an Islamic state in the North Caucasus.
 As their numbers increased, their ideology - which calls for a return to the political and moral practice of the first Muslims - became increasingly popular among young people in the Muslim majority valley.   
It appears that Pankisi has been intentionally populated with extremists... which is odd and interesting and causes much tension between ethnic Chechens because...............
Ayoub Borchashvili (left, with our reporter) says Chechens believe they must help "protect oppressed people" in Syria
This caused tension between the ethnic Chechens, who traditionally are Sufis.
Ethnic Chechens are Sufis and these transplanted fighters appear to be neither ethnic Chechens or Sufis?

But Ayoub Borchashvili, (photo above with BBC journalist)a Salafist imam in the village of Jokolo, was keen to play down the disagreements, because they also share tribal and familial ties.
The Salafists, he said, were only "aiming to live according to the Quran and Sunnah".
In the past, many young Salafists from the Pankisi Gorge travelled north to fight in Chechnya, or in the neighbouring Russian republics of Dagestan, Ingushetia and Kabardino-Balkaria, where there are also Islamist insurgencies.
Pankisi Valley

 They tended to fight under the banner of the Caucasus Emirate, an Islamist militant umbrella group led by the Chechen separatist warlord Doku Umarov.
Doku Umarov- a name that has been mentioned here previously
Doku Umarov

But since the uprising in Syria began in March 2011, an increasing number of Chechens have ignored the call of the Caucasus Emirate and instead travelled south to help the predominantly Sunni rebels seeking to topple President Assad.

Umar Idigov, a senior figure in Georgia's Chechen community, believes there are currently about 200 Chechens fighting in Syria, something he opposes.

Doku Umarov initially expressed reservations about the exodus of Chechen fighters to Syria, saying that they ought to be helping the cause of the Caucasus Emirate.
But he later extended his support, saying that the flow of volunteers was the result of the Caucasus Emirate's refusal to accept more youth into its ranks.

The last word I had seen from Doku Umarov, he had called for fighters to come back and attack Russia at the Sochi Olympics

A source close to the Chechen fighters in Syria also told the BBC: "There are no training camps in the North Caucasus like there are in Syria and not enough resources.

"We feel ashamed of our presence in Syria while the Caucasus are still occupied, but young people are returning after being trained here. One of my comrades returned directly to the mountains after receiving training in explosives.

"In that sense, [the Caucasus Emirate] is benefiting from us being here; they will have trained and ready fighters," the source added.

Yah, a three post day. No posts for a couple of days, but, I will let through comments.
And hopefully respond? 
Post 1- Ukraine's EU Snub? It's the Economy, Stupid!

 Quite frankly, Ukraine looks to be another colour revolution of some unnamed, not yet chosen colour.  No way are the people wanting to hook up with the dead weight of the EU and pay double the gas prices and likely a big increase in taxes
Post 2:  Canada to file claim to dramatically extend Arctic boundaries


  1. is it a coincidence that the rebels raided a catholic town in the wake of Putin visiting the Pope. The Vatican message was conciliatory to the Russian negotiated settlement going back to the Sept threats. Message?

    1. could be a message?
      Hard to say.
      It could be just more of the same for the western backed mercs


  3. Voice of Russia interview with American policy/ think tanky Brookings mouthpiece aka apologist

    The school that pumbs out the likes of Ford , Rice, Armstrong.. and a long list more.
    Totally dispassionate, imperial attitude that destroying an ancient country and murdering 125K+ and uprooting millions more, is nothing but business as usual.

    I'm to the point that lining them up against a wall and killing them all would not bother me one little bit. IMO the world and the everyday people in it who are the salt of this Earth, deserve better than to have to deal with the likes of them.

    Guess that's why I"m a lowly blog commenter, part time twitter critic and half-assed geopolitician. :))
    Damn they piss me off !!

    1. Hi Karin

      what an interview that is!
      "Going back two and a half years the US was a little too quick to assume that President Assad would fall"

      I would agree with that
      however all this nonsense about 'moderates'

      And then he goes on with this partition agenda.... the agenda that the US has always worked towards
      Weak fragmented squabbling states with Israel reigning supreme in the ME and stealing land and resources at will

      You are one of a kind karin!

      And they piss me off too
      the talking heads, the powers that shouldn't be
      and all their nonsensical language

  4. Mother Agnes in Toronto....telling it like it is in syria

    Q and A with Mother Agnes

    1. thanks brian
      I look forward to watching this and am amazed she got into Canada

    2. Mother Agnes on tour in N.America and nuns kidnapped by the Zionist backed Islamist terrorists. Coincidence?
      US, Israel ordered kidnapping of Syria nuns: Mark Glenn on PressTV

    3. In the video its said there is a move to have her removed from Canada or prevented entry , can't recall which . Note too mother Agnes rebuking the MSM for its flagrant lies ...the video tends too focus on mother Agnes and doesn't always show what she is showing on screen : apparently very graphic double X rated stuff

  5. Hizbollah claims isreal assasinated Top Commander

    I don't doubt it, and expect more fires ignighted. Already seeing comments dividing Shia and Sunni again just when it looked like there was some unity, which in my opinion, is the only way they will beat isreal NATO and the saudis.

    Late last night I ran across an article by Finnian Cunningham on Iran that ititially made me angry and I almost stopped reading it, but because I respect his work in the ME and devotion to Palestine, I made myself continue.

    Is Iran Being Lured to Shore up US Hegemony in Middle East?
    He gives some good points and disects an article I did see at VoR. Have to say I don't trust the new prez entirely nor that pipsqueak at Geneva negotiating. It's evident I'm no intellectual, so I base my judgements on my street knowledge and personal observations. I'm learning how Diplomacy works to a degree and maybe that's why I respect the Russians so much, they are masters at diplomacy but when push comes to shove, they tell it like it is too.

    I'm interested to see your comments if time allows on that second article Pen.

    Yes, I know they broke the mold on me
    the buck stops here tho, I had no children but I'm a hopeless 'mother hen' for my causes ;^)

    1. Hey karin:

      I read the first paragraph and I gotta say my husband was talking along this line when the P5+1 agreement was made
      The US needs the big economic powerhouse interacting in the global market, to keep the game going longer
      James from WP, IMO, thinks along the same line
      Especially if they can coerce Iran into using American dollars.
      I will read the whole article and thanks for pointing out to me
      I have one child but am a 'mother hen' also
      so I understand that

  6. What a bloody avalanche of news today! I hate days like this, it's info overload.
    And, I firmly believe the assasination, the scum going back to Maalooula, the assasination in Pakistan and all the other things are planned by the 'beast' isreal.

    Anyhow.. the Chechnyn 'red headed step-child' ( sorry, I have to laugh sometimes) is shown at the end of Video where the Syrian UN Amb says the saudis are emptying their prisons for jihad in Syria.

    He's the cameo shot at the end, which even the dumbest American, Canadian, European et al would realize he's NOT arab
    Alot more at PressTV, it's moving so fast go to middle east catagory. Interview with Mark Glenn also.
    Penny, publish at your own discretion, as always :)