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Azhdar Kurtov: The ISIL’s purpose in recruiting fighters from the Caucasus is not to keep them in the Middle East

Adzhar Kurtov, Chief Editor of the National Strategy Issues journal. Photo: ru.rfi.fr

According to BBC, the Imarat Kavkaz fighters have pledged an oath to the ISIL and it was the first time that the ISIL leaders officially accepted an oath by fighters from another region.

Last week mass media spread an audio recording of Imarat Kavkaz fighters in Chechnya, Ingushetia, Dagestan, Kabardino-Balkaria and Karachay-Cherkessia pledging an oath of allegiance to the ISIL. Lots of local Salafi preachers are also joining the group. Among them are Nadir Medetov and Israpil Akhmednaviyev from Dagestan.

Some experts warn that this may result in growing terrorist activity in the North Caucasus as now the Muhajirs will try to be match to their ISIL allies.

Expert of the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies, Chief Editor of the National Strategy Issues journal Adzhar Kurtov says that things were not very much the way BBC reported them to be. In his comment to EADaily he says:

“They in BBC were not very accurate when they said that it was the first time the ISIL accepted an oath by fighters from the Caucasus. The most popular ISIL fighter Anu Omar al-Shishani is a Georgian Chechen from the Pankisi Gorge. So, this is not the first time.

"The ISIL has always been recruiting fighters from other regions, including the North Caucasus. Those fighters started their activity in the 1990s – at the time there was a war in Chechnya. When the war was over, they went underground. Some of them went to Europe as refugees or gastarbeiters.

"The EU is home to large North Caucasian communities, where you can find lots of hiding Jihad fighters. The ISIL is a good chance for them to remember their old skills and to improve their finances. Today The ISIL is earning lots of money by selling oil, historical artifacts and slaves. They also have quite generous donors abroad. So, they can pay good salaries to their fighters.

"But their purpose in recruiting fighters from the Caucasus is not to keep them in the Middle East. According to special services, their logic is as follows: we will first let them fight here and then will send them back home so they can cause lots of problems to the Russian authorities. But they neglect one fact - there are almost no underground fighters in the Caucasus: some of them were killed during the Chechen campaigns, others have joined the ISIL.

"This is a good chance for the Russian special services to root out any terrorist activity in the North Caucasus. If they do this, the Caucasian ISIL fighters will have no place to go back to."

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