Saturday, September 15, 2012

Caucasus Update, 9-15 September 2012


Russian Army Accidentally Bombs Dagestani Boarding School in Snafu.  A Russian army unit on September 13th fired mortar rounds at a boarding school in Buinaksk, Dagestan, under the mistaken impression that it was a militant base.  No one was hurt, but the building was damaged.  A squad commander is considered responsible for giving the botched instructions.

The aftermath of last week’s bombing of a police funeral in Ingushetia
6 Dead, 4 Arrested in Week of North Caucasus Violence.  A helicopter gunship in the midst of a military operation crashed in the mountainous border region between the Chechen Republic and Republic of Dagestan, in southwestern Russia’s North Caucasus region, on September 8th.  At least four people were killed.  Also, in Dagestan, four men from the Khasavyurtovskaya criminal gang and one from the Novolaksky gang—both linked to Islamic insurgents—surrendered to police on September 9th, and in the Republic of Ingushetia the following day, investigators revealed that the suicide-bomber who killed eight police at a funeral last month (as reported at the time in this blog) was the son of a Chechen ex-policeman.  And on September 13th the federal National Anti-Terrorism Committee announced that Russian special forces had killed the head of the Kizlyar gang, an Islamist militia, in Dagestan.  The leader, Oki Nazhmudinov (nom de guerre: Bilal), was suspected of a 2010 terrorist attack that killed 12.  Another Kizlyar insurgent was also killed.

Oki Nazhmudinov
Chechen–Ingush Border Dispute Keeps Region on Edge.  On September 11th, according to the jihadist separatist Caucasus Emirate movement, the sound of mortar shells and gunfire could be heard September 11th in the Sunzha district of southwestern Russia’s Republic of Ingushetia, in the North Caucasus, but it could not be confirmed.  Sunzha, along with Malgobek, is one of two districts recently being claimed by the neighboring Chechen Republic, in a border dispute which is beginning to draw the attention of authorities in Moscow, who would like it tamped down.  Without Sunzha and Malgobek, Ingushetia would be split into two pieces and be without most of its current territory.


South Ossetian Deputy Defense Minister Survives Bomb Planted in Home.  The deputy minister of defense for the Republic of South Ossetia, an unrecognized puppet state of Russia carved out of the Republic of Georgia’s northwestern tip, survived an attempt on his life on September 13th when a bomb exploded in his apartment in Tskhinvali, the capital.  There were no injuries, though the target, Ibragim Gaseyev, was at home with his family.  The South Ossetian chief prosecutor, Merab Chigoev, speculated that the assassination attempt was “related to the fact that Gaseyev, who is a graduate of the military academy of the general staff of the Russian armed forces, is one of the well-trained South Ossetian military specialists.  We deem it possible that he was deliberately targeted with an assassination attempt by foreign special services.”

1 Russian Was Captured Alive in Lopota Gorge Operation, 5 Still at Large.  Scraps of information continued to leak out about last month’s murky special-forces operation against Islamists in the Republic of Georgia.  On September 8th, the Georgian ministry of the interior confirmed that one of the militants in the siege, in the Lopota Gorge near the border with Russia’s Republic of Dagestanwas captured alive but wounded and is recovering.  He is described as a Russian.  Five militants are still at large, and special forces are searching for them.

U.S. Lawmaker Pushes Draft Law on South Azerbaijan Secession.  Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, a United States congressman for California, has proposed a bill to the House Foreign Relations Committee advocating the secession of “South Azerbaijan,” the northwestern Azeri region of Iran, and its unification with the Republic of Azerbaijan to the north.  The information was provided to the public by Hüseyin Türkelli, chairman of the Center for Defense of Southern Azeri Turks.  (The Azeri speak a Turkic language and are sometimes called “Turks” or “Turcomans.”)

[Related articles: “South Ossetia Update: ‘Independent’ Elections in an ‘Independent’ State—Russian Style” (Dec. 2011), “The Armenian Genocide Debate: Turkey, Nagorno-Karabakh, and the Politics of Memory” (April 2012); “The World’s 21 Sexiest Separatists” (April 2012), featuring a profile of the Chechen rebel leader Akhmed Zakayev“Massachusetts Recognizes Nagorno-Karabakh Republic!” (Aug. 2012); “Separatist Football Update: Carnage at a Dagestan–Netherlands Match ...” etc. (Aug. 2012); “That Creepy Underground Islamic Cult in Tatarstan? Turns Out It Was Just a Split-Level—and the Kids Were Fine” (Aug. 2012),  “Caucasus Update: Chechen-Ingush Border Conflict; Female Breakdancing Suicide-Bomber in Dagestan; South Azerbaijani Separatism; Is Georgia Supporting Islamism in Russia?” (Aug. 2012), “Lopota Gorge Questions, Azeri Axe-Murderer Pardoned, New N.K.R. Pres, Cossacks on Patrol: Caucasus Update, 2-8 September 2012” (Sept. 2012).]

[Also, for those who are wondering, yes, this blog is tied in with a forthcoming book, a sort of encyclopedic atlas to be published by Auslander and Fox under the title Let’s Split! A Complete Guide to Separatist Movements, Independence Struggles, Breakaway Republics, Rebel Provinces, Pseudostates, Puppet States, Tribal Fiefdoms, Micronations, and Do-It-Yourself Countries, from Chiapas to Chechnya and Tibet to Texas.  Look for it in spring 2013.  I will be keeping readers posted of further publication news.]

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