Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 8 Issue: 10

In a statement posted on the separatist Daymohk and Chechenpress websites on March 5, Dokka Umarov, president of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria (ChRI), called on Muslims in the Caucasus to join the “jihad” against Russian forces and Chechnya’s pro-Moscow government. In response to the deaths last year of rebel leader Abdul-Khalim Sadulaev and field commander Shamil Basaev, the rebels have reorganized some of their “military structures,” Umarov said.

“Plans have been adjusted and tactics have been changed, links and coordination between individual mujahideen units, directions and sectors have been strengthened,” he said. “The autumn and winter have been devoted to significant preparations and work is being completed on reorganizing activities abroad. Every day our sub-units are carrying out scheduled military operations, inflicting damage on the occupation forces and the traitors. This activity is stronger in some areas than others but there is no let-up anywhere. The positions of the mujahideen of the Caucasian Front are being strengthened and the activities of the Povolzhsky and Uralsky Fronts are being organized. Thousands of young people are turning to us and asking if they can be allowed to take part in the jihad. Unfortunately, our limited means do not allow us to grant their wishes. Therefore many young Muslims, both in Ichkeria and in other regions of the Caucasus (as well as in Russia), are organizing themselves into fighting jamaats and operating independently. We understand and welcome their initiative.”

Apparently referring to Chechnya’s government and other pro-Moscow authorities in the Caucasus, Umarov stated: “As far as the traitors are concerned, these people are more afraid of the FSB than God’s wrath. They have completely forgotten about the fate of millions of their loved ones and their fellow tribesmen who were killed by Tsarist troops and exiled abroad, who froze and died of hunger in communist exile in Siberia and Kazakhstan, or who were burned by napalm in their own homes in Chechnya by the bombs of democratic Russia, or were tortured to death in Russian concentration camps, were abducted, mutilated and abused. They speak about the restoration of popular customs while sowing depravation and decay. They go on about the dignity of people as they drive them into the shameful slavery of occupation. They talk about law and order as they kidnap, rape, murder, mutilate and torture people. They speak about a good life and a bright future as they turn the country into one huge concentration camp.”

Umarov concluded his statement by saying that every Muslim who has reached adulthood is obliged to join the jihad. “Muslims are obliged to set up combat groups (military jamaats) and units in the regions (in Russia and in the North Caucasus) to carry out military actions. They must organize communications, coordination, define their objectives and strike blows. If they are unable to organize a combat group, Muslims must work alone, relying on God, to plan and strike blows at accessible military, political-administrative, information and financial-economic targets. Muslims who have the material means at their disposal are obliged to fund the jihad and supply the mujahideen with everything they need to wage war. These Muslims must also help the families of the mujahideen and the shahids, and help to treat the wounded and the sick. Muslims serving in the power-wielding structures of the enemy, who do not fear God’s wrath, must abandon their service [to the enemy]. If for some important (before God) reasons, a Muslim cannot abandon this service he must help the mujahideen, to warn them about danger, to supply necessary information, expose the enemy’s weak points, help the movement of the mujahideen and to cover their activities and to expose the more avid enemies of the Muslims. Muslims who are articulate or have the appropriate technical means or professional skills and knowledge are obliged to explain the situation of the jihad and to make the call to Islam and to wage an information jihad by all accessible ways and means. And for the weak and sick Muslims, and also for children, the least they can do is to pray to God for success for the mujahideen and victory for Islam. And I call God to witness that I have issued this explanation, warning and instruction.”