When Abdul-Khalim Sadulaev succeeded the late Aslan Maskhadov as the leader of the Chechen resistance, he was initially described by Russian sources as an Arab and a representative of al-Qaeda. Even after it was shown that the new President was a Chechen, many observers suggested that the presidency of the Islamic scholar would function merely as a rubber-stamp for the terrorist ambitions of warlord Shamil Basaev, Arab fighter Abu Hafs and others. Contrary to these expectations, the young President has moved the Chechen resistance away from terrorism and any potential association with al-Qaeda. Military operations are the order of the day, and expansion of the conflict is the long-term strategy. While Maskhadov was never able to assert complete control over extremist factions in the resistance, the raid on Nalchik suggests that Sadulaev is ready to pursue a unified military solution to the Chechen conflict (unless Russia offers terms for peace). Recent events also demonstrate the growing influence of Chechen field commanders like Doku Umarov, who have respectable military records relatively untainted by charges of terrorism.Read the whole thing.
Friday, November 04, 2005
Andrew McGregor,writing in Jamestown's Terrorism Monitor, has an interesting article about Ichkerian President Abdul-Khalim Sadulayev and his influence on the new military-oriented strategy of the Chechen resistance, first instanced in the major confrontation with Russian-backed forces at Nalchik: