Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant – Caucasus Province

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Caucasus Province
ولاية القوقاز (Wilayah al-Qawqaz)
Вилаят Кавказ (Vilayat Kavkaz)
Participant in the Insurgency in the North Caucasus
The Black Standard.
Active June 23, 2015 (2015-06-23)[1] – present
Ideology Salafist Islamism
Salafist Jihadism
Leaders Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (Leader of ISIL)
Rustam Asildarov 
Area of operations North Caucasus
Part of  Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant
Originated as Flag of Caucasian Emirate.svg Caucasus Emirate faction
Opponents  Russian Federation
 Georgia
 Azerbaijan
 Armenia
 South Ossetia
 Abkhazia
 Artsakh
Battles and wars Insurgency in the North Caucasus

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant – Caucasus Province (Arabic: الدولة الإسلامية في العراق والشام - ولاية القوقاز‎, ad-Dawlah al-Islāmiyah fī 'l-ʿIrāq wa-sh-Shām – Wilayah al-Qawqaz Russian: Вилаят Кавказ Исламского государство Ирака и Леванта, Vilayat Kavkaz Islamskogo gosudarstvo Iraka i Levanta), also known as ISIL-CP or Vilayat Kavkaz,[1] is a branch of the militant Islamist group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), active in the North Caucasus region of Russia. ISIL announced the group's formation on 23 June 2015 and appointed Rustam Asildarov as its leader.[2][3]

Background[edit]

Starting in November 2014, mid-level commanders of the Caucasus Emirate militant group began publicly switching their allegiance from Emirate leader Aliaskhab Kebekov to ISIL leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, following al-Baghdadi and his group's declaration of a caliphate earlier in the year.[4] By February 2015, many commanders of the Emirate's branches in Chechnya (Vilayat Nokhchicho) and Dagestan (Vilayat Dagestan) had defected.[4][5] Kebekov and senior loyalists within the Emirate released statements denouncing them, and accused the most senior defector, Rustam Asildarov, of betrayal.[6][7] Further pledges of allegiance to al-Baghdadi occurred in June 2015 by Vilayat Nokhchicho leader Aslan Byutukayev,[8] and in an audio statement purportedly made by militants in Dagestan, Chechnya, Ingushetia, and Kabardino-Balkaria.[9]

History[edit]

On 23 June 2015, ISIL's spokesman Abu Mohammad al-Adnani accepted these pledges and announced the creation of a new Wilayah, or Province, covering the North Caucasus region. Adnani named Asildarov as the ISIL leader of this area and called on other militants in the region to follow him.[10][11]

The group claimed responsibility for its first attack, on a Russian military base in southern Dagestan, on 2 September 2015.[12] In a video also released in September, Asildarov called on ISIL supporters in the Caucasus to join the fight there, rather than travel to Iraq and Syria.[13]

In early 2016, they released several documents detailing their operations in both Syria, Iraq, Chechnya and Dagestan, mostly assassinations of local police officials and personnel (Dagestan and Chechnya) & "military operations" in Syria, killing several Russian soldiers and officers.[citation needed]

On 4 December 2016, Russian security services reported that they had killed Asildarov and four of his associates in a raid on a house in Makhachkala.[14]

Designation as a terrorist organization[edit]

Country Date References
 United States 29 September 2015 [1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Designations of Foreign Terrorist Fighters". State.gov. 2015-09-29. Retrieved 2014-09-29. 
  2. ^ "Islamic State moves in on al-Qaeda turf". BBC News. 25 June 2015. Retrieved 13 September 2015. 
  3. ^ "ISIS Declares Governorate in Russia's North Caucasus Region". Institute for the Study of War. 23 June 2015. ISIS's spokesman Abu Muhammad al-Adnani declared the creation of a new wilayat, or governorate, in the North Caucasus region of Russia on June 23, 2015. Al-Adnani named "Abu Mohammad al-Qadari" the leader of the group, and congratulated "the soldiers of the Islamic State" in the Caucasus. 
  4. ^ a b "Caucasus Emirate and Islamic State Split Slows Militant Activities in North Caucasus". Jamestown Foundation. 13 February 2014. Retrieved 17 February 2015. 
  5. ^ Liz Fuller (2015-01-02). "Six North Caucasus Insurgency Commanders Transfer Allegiance To Islamic State". Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. Retrieved 2015-02-17. 
  6. ^ "Dagestani jihadist swears allegiance to Islamic State, invoking backlash". Long War Journal. 2014-12-31. Retrieved 2015-02-17. 
  7. ^ "New jihadist leader in Dagestan denounces Islamic State defectors". Long War Journal. 2015-02-16. Retrieved 2015-02-17. 
  8. ^ "What Caused the Demise of the Caucasus Emirate?". Jamestown Foundation. 18 June 2015. 
  9. ^ "Two North Caucasus Rebel Leaders Face Off in Islamic State–Caucasus Emirate Dispute". The Jamestown Foundation. 2015-06-26. Retrieved 2015-06-28. We testify that all Mujahideen of the Caucasus—in the Velayats of Nokhchiycho [Chechnya], Dagestan, Galgaicho [Ingushetia] and KBK [Kabarda, Balkaria and Karachay]—are united in their decision and we do not have differences among ourselves. 
  10. ^ "Islamic State spokesman calls on other factions to 'repent,' urges sectarian war". The Long War Journal. 23 June 2015. Baghdadi, the "Emir of the Faithful," has "accepted your bayat and has appointed the noble sheikh Abu Muhammad al Qadarī as Wali [or governor] over [the Caucasus]," Adnani says. 
  11. ^ "ISIS Declares Governorate in Russia's North Caucasus Region". Institute for the Study of War. 23 June 2015. 
  12. ^ "Islamic State's Caucasus 'province' claims first official attack on Russian forces". Long War Journal. 2015-09-02. Retrieved 2015-10-03. 
  13. ^ "IS's North Caucasus Affiliate Calls For Recruits To Join It In Daghestan". Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. 2015-10-03. Retrieved 2015-10-03. 
  14. ^ "Russian security service says killed North Caucasus Islamic State 'emir'". AFP. 4 December 2016. Retrieved 4 December 2016.