Chechnya’s Supreme Shariah Court has recognized the peace agreement with Russia to be "a political act which benefits both sides, which does not contradict the norms of the Shariah and is binding for each resident of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria." Any actions directed at disrupting this agreement will be declared "illegal and punishable by law." According to the court’s decision, there should be a "new Jihad… to strengthen the Islamic state." At the end of March, Aslan Maskhadov also called on his fellow citizens to "join in a new Jihad whose goal is not war, but the restoration of Chechnya, its economy and its authority." (Kommersant-daily, April 14) Chechnya’s secular leaders have thus succeeded in getting support from the clergy in their struggle against irreconcilable field commanders, which has put the latter in a difficult position. If, for example, Salman Raduev could reject "the traitor Maskhadov’s" peace policy as incompatible with Ichkeria’s true interests, it will be much harder for him to cast doubt on the opinions of the clergy.
Warrant Issued for Arrest of Chechen Field Commander Suspected in Kidnappings.