Skip to comments.Al Qaida-Linked Militant Killed Near Chechnya
Posted on 05/18/2005 2:49:36 PM PDT by Bald Eagle777
Russian authorities said today a Kuwaiti militant who was an al Qaida emissary to Chechnya has been killed by security forces in a neighbouring region, the second statement in as many days linking foreigners to Chechen rebels.
The alleged militant, who went by the single name Jarah, was killed on Tuesday evening along with another suspect during an operation near the Chechen border in Dagestan, said Major General Ilya Shabalkin, the spokesman for the Russian campaign against rebels in Chechnya and surrounding areas.
In a statement, Shabalkin said Jarah was an al Qaida emissary in Chechnya and has close connections with members of the Muslim Brotherhood, an outlawed Egyptian Islamic movement, and of Al-Haramain, a Saudi Charity that the kingdoms government dissolved last year amid US suspicion that it was bankrolling al Qaida.
He said Jarah had been a middleman for the funding of Chechen rebels by foreign terror groups and had helped top rebel leaders Shamil Basayev and Aslan Maskhadov, who was killed earlier this year to organise many large terrorist acts. He did not name any specific attacks Jarah allegedly helped plan.
Russia authorities say Chechen rebels, fighting their second separatist war in a decade, have been financed by Islamic terrorist groups abroad and that many Arab mercenaries have fought alongside the rebels in the mountainous southern region, in some cases leading groups of militants.
According to Shabalkin, whose claims could not be independently confirmed, Jarah received training in Taliban terror camps and was adept at preparing bombs and poisons. He said that Jarah had spent a long period of time in the Pankisi Gorge, a region near Chechnya in neighbouring Georgia, and in Azerbaijan.
While in Georgia and Azerbaijan, he said the Kuwaiti citizen and unidentified associates received large amounts of money from foreign terrorist centres and sent it along to Russias North Caucasus region, which includes Chechnya.
Jarah also frequently entered Chechnya, where he moved with rebel groups under Basayev and took part in terror and other attacks, trained militants in explosives and taught them extremist Muslim ideology, Shabalkin said. He was also involved in training female suicide bombers, Shabalkins statement said.
On Tuesday, Shabalkin had announced Russian security forces killed a prominent Chechen rebel he accused of planning chemical attacks. He said the rebel was supposed to carry out the attacks under orders from a Jordanian militant, Abu Mudjaid, who allegedly organised a shipment of toxic substances to Chechnya from abroad.
Authorities in Chechnya say many attacks there have been carried out by militants entering from Dagestan, the restive region where Shabalkin said Jarah was killed.
Russian and regional officials met today to discuss plans to base a Russian military unit in Dagestans Botlikh district, an area near the Chechen border where rebels seized villages in 1999 fighting that was one of the catalysts for the Kremlins decision to send troops into Chechnya that year, starting the second war.
Russian forces had withdrawn from Chechnya following a devastating 1994-1996 war that left the region with de-facto independence.
I'm real skeptical of Russian claims that every Chechen rebel is a "terrorist" or linked to al Qaeda. They seem anxious to play the role of terror victim for their internal problems in south Russia.
The substance of the claims might well be true. But I don't accept them unquestionably. Kind of like when I was a prosecutor dealing with an embezzlement case. The embezzler would confess and minimize how much they took. The employer would go out and find every loss or unaccounted for penny during the embezzler's employment and try to pin it on them. There was substance to the allegations of embezzlement but not to the extent claimed. The true loss was always somewhere between what the company claimed and what the embezzler admitted.
So too I feel about Russia and the Chechens.
why are you sceptical? At least the russians are willing to fight terror.
I admire the Russkies for not putting up with any crap. Their counter-terror efforts might lead to more "collateral damage" among civilians than we would tolerate, but in the end they know the value of breaking eggs to make omlettes.
My point is that they have always had ethnic problems and historically deal with them in a heavy handed way. Their fight against terror is not the same as ours, and we should not endorse everything they do because they slap the "al Qaida" label on the rebels.
Jarah was a real boy scout, or a member of the Church choir. Not.
Yes, innocent civilians can pay the price in that region, but I definitely applaud Russia's efforts at targeting AQ personnel. The more they take out, the better off we all are.
And yet, I am keeping an eye on Russian military activities in and public statements about that area. Russia in the past has painted with too broad a brush.
The Pankisi Gorge is one example. Russia will always think that many if not most of the people there are all terrorists and will remain skeptical that the area is clear. That is a given. Georgia will always say that the area is clear to keep Russia at bay. That is also a given. It's a toss up whether the OCSE gives a damn or makes any significant difference.
The truth is that most people in that specific area are living at a subsistence level, just trying to get by, while terrorists have been known to transit the area or hide out in that region. The civilians pay the price when non-selective methods are used.
In ripping up the weeds, it is not wise to kill all of the grass also. The US is appropriately selective in its use of "weed killer" where as Russia has not always been so careful. Russia should be encouraged when they have good actionable intelligence about specific terrorists and make every effort to take out those specific individuals. I applaud their efforts in this regards, yet am wary enough to keep a close eye on them also. One way to help Russia make better decisions is by sharing specific intelligence, so they can sharpen their pencil in drawing up target lists.
I too am pleased they are targeting common terrorists. But their "broad brush" approach disturbs me, as the Russians in the past have been keen to affix an attractive label to their opponents to make palatable the elimination of those opponents, whether they deserved the label or not.