Militants of "Imarat Kavkaz" recognized in Russia and the US as a terrorist organization. Photo:

29 December 2014, 19:15

Imarat Kavkaz (Caucasus Emirate)

It is a self-proclaimed separatist Islamic state and territorial formation in Northern Caucasus. It was recognized as a terrorist organization in the United States and Russia. The full name is the "Islamic State Imarat Kavkaz".

Statement on creation of Imarat Kavkaz

The creation of Imarat Kavkaz was announced on October 7, 2007, by Doku Umarov, the president of the unrecognized Chechen Republic of Ichkeria (ChRI). In his appeal, Umarov resigned from the post of ChRI president and proclaimed himself to be the "Amir of mujahedeens of the Caucasus", the "leader of jihad" and the "only legitimate power in all the territories, where mujahedeens are present".

In the opinion of the creators of Imarat Kavkaz, "the basis for the proclamation of the Islamic State was the bounden duty of Muslims before Allah to set in the territories under their control the law of Allah – the Sharia."

Territory of Imarat Kavkaz (photo from

Imarat Kavkaz: management and structure

According to propaganda sources of North-Caucasian militants, as of the moment of proclamation, Imarat Kavkaz consisted of six state-administrative formations, named Vilayats: Dagestan, Nokhchicho (Ichkeria), Galgaiche (Ingushetia), Iriston (North Ossetia), Nogai Steppe (Stavropol Territory) and the united Vilayat of Kabarda, Balkaria and Karachay. Later, on May 11, 2009, Vilayat Iriston was abolished and incorporated into Vilayat Galgaiche. Vilayats are headed by Valis appointed from among local Emirs of autonomous ethnic fighting units called Jamaats.

The head of Imarat Kavkaz was Emir (Amir) Dokka Abu Usman (Dokka (Doku) Umarov). His first deputy (Naib) was Emir Supyan (Supyan Abdullaev).

The supreme advisory body under the Emir of Imarat Kavkaz is the Majlis al-Shura, consisting of top Emirs – heads of Vilayats and leaders of Jamaats.

The supreme judicial body of Imarat Kavkaz is the Supreme Sharia Court. The Chair of the Court (Qadi), until his death in March 2010, was Emir Seifullakh (Anzor Astemirov).

In July 2010, the Emir of Imarat Kavkaz Dokka Abu Usman appointed Seifullakh of Gubden (Magomed Vagabov) to be the Qadi of the Supreme Sharia Court. However, on August 21, 2010, Vagabov was also killed by Russian security services.

According to the Internet resources that support Imarat Kavkaz, its Security Service, called Mukhabarat, headed by (Rais) Tarkhan Gaziev, is engaged in "investigating anti-state activities" of Imarat enemies and is plotting "special operations" to "neutralize" them.

Imarat Kavkaz had its official representative office abroad (Vekalat), headed by an authorized representative of mujahedeens and the leadership of Imarat Kavkaz - Vakil (in late August 2009 this post was occupied by Shamsuddin Batukaev). In early August 2010, a decree (Omra No. 20) was published on dissolution of the Vekalat of "Imarat Kavkaz" abroad, signed by Emir Dokka Abu Usman (Doku Umarov).

On March 18, 2014, the command of Imarat Kavkaz officially announced the death of Doku Umarov. By the decision of Emirs of the Vilayats of Imarat Kavkaz, Ali Abu Mukhammad (Kebekov, Aliaskhab Alibulatovich), who earlier held the post of Qadi (Sharia Judge) became the new head of the organization.

Prohibition of Imarat Kavkaz

On February 25, 2010, a decision of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation to ban the activities in Russia of the international organization "Imarat Kavkaz" came into force. The organization was found to be a terrorist one.

On April 29, 2010, the US Helsinki Commission urged the US State Department to put Imarat Kavkaz on the official list of international terrorist organizations.

In June 2010, the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton officially included the leader of Imarat Kavkaz Doku Umarov into the group of persons considered as terrorists, terrorist helpers and promoters of terror acts.

On May 26, 2011, Imarat Kavkaz was put on the list of terrorist organizations in the United States. The US State Department also announced a reward of 5 million US dollars for information on the whereabouts of Doku Umarov.

On July 28, 2011, the UN Security Council's Committee on sanctions against "Al Qaeda" and associated individuals and legal entities decided to put the organization "Imarat Kavkaz" on the sanction list. In accordance with the resolution, the UN member states were obliged to immediately introduce the regime of sanctions against Imarat Kavkaz, assuming the freezing of all financial assets owned by the organization and termination of any assistance, including, in particular, supply of weapons and economic resources.

Split of 2010

In August 2010, Imarat Kavkaz suffered a split. Aslambek Vadalov, who had been shortly before declared as a successor (Naib) of Doku Umarov, the leader of Imarat Kavkaz, who first had announced his voluntary resignation, but soon suddenly changed his mind to leave his post, and several Amirs of the Chechen sector of Imarat resigned, stating their departure from under their oath to Umarov. Amirs as a number of other Vilayats expressed their support for Umarov and condemned the actions of Vadalov and his supporters.

In September 2010, Umarov removed the ranks and titles from three leaders of the Chechen sector of Imarat Kavkaz, namely: Aslambek Vadalov, Khusein Gakaev and Tarkhan Gaziev.

On July 25, 2011, the information resources that support North-Caucasian militants, reported that Aslambek Vadalov and other Chechen field commanders, who had quitted subordination to Doku Umarov, renewed their oath to the leader of Imarat Kavkaz.

Terrorist activities during Umarov's leadership

In 2011, Doku Umarov, the leader of Imarat Kavkaz, claimed responsibility for the terror act in the Moscow Airport "Domodedovo" (committed on January 24, 2011) and declared that he treated the whole Russian civilian population as his enemies.

In January 2012, investigators concluded that the explosion of the "Sapsan" passenger train "Moscow-Saint Petersburg", which was prevented by the FSB in summer of 2011, had been planned and prepared by Imarat Kavkaz under the general direction of Doku Umarov. The alleged organizer of the crime Gasan Abdullaev (radio call sign "Abu-Yasir"), the leader of the South-Dagestani sector of the militants' organization, was put on the wanted list.

On February 2, 2012, Doku Umarov ordered his subordinates to avoid attacks on peaceful targets, since civil protest began in Russia.

In summer of 2013, the moratorium on terror acts against the civilian population was cancelled, when Doku Umarov issued a statement about the need to disrupt the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

The new leader – Ali Abu-Mukhammad (Kebekov)

On January 16, 2014, the YouTube posted an audio record of the speech of the Qadi (Sharia Judge) of Imarat Kavkaz Ali Abu-Mukhammad (Kebekov, Aliaskhab Alibulatovich), in which he announced the death of the leader of Imarat Doku Umarov and stated that he was offered to become the leader of Imarat. Kebekov himself offered "brother Aslambek" (supposedly, Aslambek Vadalov) for the post of the leader of the organization.

In his comment on the problem of finding a new leader, Mikhail Roschin, a renowned expert on the Caucasus, expressed in his interview to the "Caucasian Knot" the opinion that the movement named "Imarat Kavkaz" was highly fragmented and in the state of decline: "Most likely, the fact is that nobody is eager to take the post of the leader of Imarat. I think that the whole chosen strategy of underground activities, especially suicide bombings, committed by young and active boys or girls, this strategy results, among other things, in the reduction of the number of people taking part in the underground. In the first place, it indicates a decline and fragmentation, and, in my view, the fact that the whole project is fizzling out."

The death of Umarov was also declared by the head of Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov: "We have long been sure by 99 percent that Umarov was killed in one of the operations." According to his story, power agents in Chechnya possessed records of audio talks of leaders of a number of armed groupings operating in Kabardino-Balkaria and Dagestan, where they mentioned the election of a new leader in the context of Umarov's death. Kadyrov also noted that Umarov's body had not yet been found.

On March 18, 2014, the command of Imarat officially announced the death of Umarov. Ali Abu-Mukhammad was elected to be the new leader.

On June 28, 2014, the YouTube posted a video clip, in which Kebekov stated that causing damage to lives and property of the peaceful population was unacceptable. According to his version, solely power agents were militants' targets. He also urged militants to abandon, as far as possible, suicide bombings, having specifically stressed a prohibition to use women in such armed actions.

Confrontation of Imarat Kavkaz with Islamic State

In autumn of 2014, Suleiman Zailanabidov, one of the commanders of the Aukh militants operating in the Khasavyurt District of Dagestan, took an oath, after being accused by his fellows of a split, to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State (IS, earlier – the ISIL – Islamic State of Iraq and the Levante), proclaimed in the territory of Iraq and Syria. This was stated by Zailanabidov himself in his video appeal, posted on the Internet on November 21, 2014.

Various sources, including the Russian FSB, have confirmed that militants from Russia are fighting for the "Islamic State", says the document prepared by the "Caucasian Knot": "Caucasians in the ranks of IS (ISIL)".

Later, on December 19, the YouTube posted a statement of Abu-Mukhammad, Amir of Dagestan, who had also sworn to the IS leader. The same was done by Abu Mukhammad of Agachaul, one of the militants' commanders operating in the "Shamilkala Sector", which comprises Makhachkala. It followed from the statement of Amir Abu-Mukhammad that he had quitted the subordination to Imarat Kavkaz; and he asked other militants to follow him. This statement aggravated the split among North-Caucasian militants.

On December 28, 2014, the YouTube posted an appeal of Kebekov, in which he accused the Amir of Dagestan Abu-Mukhammad of split and betrayal.

Kebekov, the leader of Imarat Kavkaz, offered Abu-Mukhammad to depart to the territory, controlled by the Islamic State, and appointed Said from Arakan to the post of Amir of Dagestan. The appeal particularly declared a ban for supporters of Imarat Kavkaz to cooperate with the militants, who have sworn to the IS, and help them.

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