Chechen connection with Al Nusrah Front in Syria is growing. By Murad Makhmudov and Lee Jay Walker
International Sunni Islamists are flocking to Syria in increasing numbers and the nations they are coming from keeps on growing in diversity. Some so-called jihadists are naďve and only united in their hatred towards other sects in Islam. However, the Chechen angle is worrying because of their experience and tenaciousness. Also, given the current instability in several parts of the Caucasus, then why are Chechens involving themselves in Syria?
It is known that Turkey and Georgia have given either tacit approval of safety to Chechen Islamists in the past, or both nations have been involved in covert operations aimed at the Russian Federation. Either way, it is clear that Chechen Islamists were given breathing space in parts of Turkey and Georgia. Georgia could claim that the internal convulsions which continue to cause problems in several parts of this nation, is a valid reason why they couldn’t prevent Chechen Islamist intrigues in the past. Yet, Turkey can’t provide any such excuse and given the nature of this nations support for sectarianism, terrorism and sedition within Syria, then clearly the “Chechen connection” may be based on the intrigues of Ankara.
Similarly, it is possible that the CIA and Ankara are working in coordination with other operatives. Other intelligence services in the United Kingdom and France could also be involved in certain areas because it is known that many operatives from various nations played a more important role in Libya than was ever stated. While the armed forces of Libya were relatively weak and minor in comparison to Syria, you clearly have many ratlines linking many aspects of both conflicts. This not only applies to the nations involved and the media war but also to the covert nature of events, whereby in recent months more military installations in Syria have come under attack despite being outside the nature of the conflict.
Bill Roggio, The Long War Journal, comments that “The Al Nusrah Front for the People of the Levant, an al Qaeda-linked jihadist group that is fighting Bashir al Assad’s regime in Syria, has claimed credit for yet another suicide attack as well as another joint operation with Chechen fighters.”
“Al Nusrah claimed the attacks in a series of three statements released on jihadist websites on Nov. 21. The statements were translated by the SITE Intelligence Group.”
“The suicide attack was executed by “the knight Abu ‘Aun al Shamali,” who used a car bomb “laden with 2 tons of explosives.” The statement was accompanied by pictures of the car bomb as well as the explosion at the hospital. Al Nusrah then detonated a car bomb parked outside the hospital and launched “an armed attack by a group of mujahideen on what remained of the headquarters.”
Chechen Islamists and Al Nusrah aimed the latest suicide attack against the Syrian armed forces, which were allegedly using a hospital for cover in Aleppo. Of course, for Sunni Islamists it is clear that killing journalists, minorities, car bombings, anyone connected with the government of Syria and daily carnage is “fair game” to these brutal terrorists.
In October this year it was clear that the Chechen element was involved in a major operation aimed at a Syrian air defense base in the region of Aleppo. When images emerged of a Scud missile base being overrun by Islamists it had all the hallmarks of Chechens fighters and covert operatives from the “third force.” The aim was based on the objectives of Turkey and other powerful players which don’t want their hands to be connected with this operation. Therefore, the Al Nusrah Front and Free Syrian Army (FSA) which also participated in the attack were mere “covers” for the real culprits.
The Russian Federation should be very worried about this angle because in recent times several Sufi Muslim leaders have been killed in Dagestan and Tatarstan by Sunni Islamist terrorists. Not only this, these new ratlines could trigger more bloodshed in the Caucasus region and in other parts of the Russian Federation. At the same time, the situation in Chechnya could be reignited in the future if bases become obtainable alongside fresh armaments and capital.
According to RIA it was stated about the Chechen terrorist Doku Umarov that “The Imarat Kavkaz head, Umarov, has been maintaining close ties with Georgian intelligence agencies and coordinated deliveries of explosives to Sochi, where they were to be kept in special caches,” the anti-terror committee said.”
“During a special operation in Abkhazia on May 4-5, Russian special services discovered ten caches containing arms, explosives, ammo and other illegal weapons, including three portable anti-aircraft missile complexes, Igla and Strela, two anti-tank guided missiles with launchers, a mortar with 36 shells, a flamethrower, 29 grenade launchers, 12 IEDs and topographic maps, among others.”
It was also stated on Pravda.ru that “Moscow asked Turkey to shut down various Chechen funds and organization that are located on the Turkish territory. Russia mentioned one of the most notorious one of them – Association of Chechen and Caucasian Unity. It is also worth mentioning that the terrorists, who seized hundreds of hostages in the Moscow music theatre, called Turkey several times. This was confirmed both by former hostages (terrorists used their phones) and by the interception of phone calls. Nevertheless, it will be very hard for Moscow to make Turkey fulfill such a request. Turkey has been rendering that support on a top level.”
“The mentioned association has a financial division – the Fund of the Chechen and Caucasian Unity. This fund reportedly receives up to $130 million every year from various fundamentalist organizations (in the Middle East, on the Arabian Peninsula, as well as in Pakistan, Bosnia and Albania) to support terrorists.”
The sad reality is that secular Syria is being torn apart by Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar, France, the United Kingdom and other important players. It is known that the CIA is involved in murky dealings but clearly you have major differences in Washington which have come to the fore after American personnel were killed in Libya. Yet old habits die hard and clearly the Chechen link with two friends of America does raise important questions.