ASLAMBECK VADALOV – THE NEW CHECHENS COMMANDER
Doku Umarov, the leader of Chechen rebel group the Caucasus Emirate, has stepped down and appointed a successor Aslambek Vadalov to fight Russia’s central rule in the North Caucasus. Just few days ago little known Aslambek Vadalov, 46, was appointed, on 07/25/2010, as Doku Umarov‘s deputy and successor.
Aslambek Vadalov is a native of Ishkoi-Yurt village in Gudermes, he has been fighting in the rebel ranks since 1994 and apparently was one of the first to swear allegiance to Doku Umarov in 2007. Perhaps most significant is his relationship with Amir Khattab. Aslambek Vadalov‘s previous position was as the grandly-titled commander of the Eastern Front of the Armed Forces of the Caucasus Emirate, although in practice he was commanding a force of perhaps 30-50 militants along the Ingushetian border.
The announcement was made through the kavkazcenter.com, the online mouthpiece of the group, on Sunday 08/01/2010. The United States has listed Doku Umarov, known as Russia’s most wanted man, as a terrorist.
Doku Umarov has claimed responsibility for a host of attacks in recent months, including the March 29 bombings of the Moscow metro that killed at least 40 people and wounded 100 more (see – Moscow 03.29.10).
“The Emir of the Caucasus Emirate Dokku Abu Usman [Doku Umarov] has officially announced his resignation from the post of Emir of the Caucasus Emirate for health reasons and appointed his successor, Emir Aslambek [Aslambek Vadalov] to this post,” the rebels announced on the website.
“[Umarov] said that jihad should be led by younger and more energetic commanders and stressed that after his resignation … he intends to continue to wage Jihad and will do his utmost to help the new leadership” (although both are the same age).
“This [stepping down] does not mean that I give up jihad,” Umarov, bearded and wearing a national skullcap, said in a video address posted on the same website.
Hussein Gakayev (‘Emir Mansur’) was appointed as ‘Wali’ (governor) of the so-called Nokhchicho Province of the Caucasus Emirate (in overall operational command of rebel operations in Chechnya) and the first depute of Aslambek Vadalov.
Russia is fighting a renewed insurgency in the mainly Muslim regions along its southern flank, where endemic corruption and abject poverty has helped drive many youths into the hands of the rebels.
But three days later, on Wednesday 08/04/2010, Doku Umarov has withdrawn comments that he is stepping down from his post, according to a video broadcast online.
“Due to the situation in the Caucasus I consider that it is impossible for me to quit my duties,” he was shown saying in a posting on Kavkazcenter.com, a separatist website, on Wednesday. “The previous declaration is annulled. It is a falsification,” he said.
The latest footage aroused confusion and raised concern about a power struggle in the ranks of the Islamic insurgency in the Caucasus Emirates, probably with some help from the Russian FSB provocateurs.
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