Who's behind the violence in the Caucasus?

Shadowy group targeting security, government officials linked to rise in attacks

Chechnya, Ingushetia, Dagestan, Kabardino-Balkaria and North Ossetia have seen a dramatic increase in the number of attacks against security forces and government officials. So far this year, separatists fundamentalists have carried out 23 attacks in the Caucasus, killing at least 34 people. Over the same period last year, there eight attacks that killed 17 people. The latest subway bombing in Moscow shows the attacks have also spread outside the borders of the five republics. A shadowy group callling itself the Caucasus Emirate may be responsible for part of the increase in political violence. Led by Doku Umarov, a veteran of the Russia-Chechnya conflicts, the CE has claimed responsibility for three different attacks involving five suicide bombers between March 29 and April 9. According to STRATFOR, “this is a substantial feat indicating that the Caucasus Emirate can manage several different teams of attackers and influence when they strike their targets.” But while the CE has managed to unite the region’s jihadists under one umbrella, its leadership is “operating in a very hostile environment and can name many of their predecessors who met their ends fighting the Russians,” leading STRATFOR to predict that, “having prodded Moscow so provocatively, they are likely living on borrowed time.”


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