NEWSLINK: “Afghanistan: No Way Forward” – Valdai Club/ Anatol Lieven

Afghanistan Map of Ethnicities

‘As the Afghan state becomes increasingly fragile as a result of internal divisions and the resurgence of the Taliban, its future prospects remain bleak. US-Russian cooperation on the issue remains unlikely ….”

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NEWSWATCH: “Did St. Petersburg bombing bring Russia’s Syria intervention back home?” – Christian Science Monitor/ Fred Weir

St. Petersburg

“Though #Russia has been dealing with #terrorism for many years, it has mostly been rooted in domestic conflicts in the Caucasus. But Monday’s deadly bombing of a St. Petersburg metro seems likely linked to Russia’s involvement in Syria’s civil war. … analysts say that the identification of the bomber as Kyrgyz-born Akbarzhon Dzhalilov, from the turbulent central Asian city of […]

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Russia’s Moves, Terrorism Fuel Talk of War in Europe – The Daily Signal [also appeared as “Europeans are quietly preparing for war with Russia” at Newsweek.com]

Europe Map

[article also appeared at Newsweek.com as “Europeans are quietly preparing for war with Russia”] (Nolan Peterson – @nolanwpeterson – The Daily Signal – dailysignal.com – The Heritage Foundation – heritage.org – KYIV, Ukraine, Aug. 3, 2016) Whether referring to Russian aggression in the east or to the threat of Islamist terrorism in the West, Europe’s political, media, and religious elite […]

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Turkey Signals Cooperation With Russia Against Islamic State

Turkey and Environs Satellite Image

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Selcan Hacaoglu, Firat Kozok – July 4, 2016) Turkey may cooperate with Russia in fighting Islamic State, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Monday, just days after the countries agreed to work to repair strained ties. Cavusoglu denied signaling in an interview Sunday that Turkey may let Russia use southern Incirlik air base for operations in Syria. […]

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How Russia Is ‘Weaponizing’ Migration to Destabilize Europe

Europe Map

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Josh Rogin – March 24, 2016) Some officials in Europe see Russia’s hand in the rising migration crisis, accusing the Kremlin of exacerbating anti-Muslim sentiment to benefit right-wing parties at a fragile moment for the European Union. Even before the latest terror attacks in Brussels, anti-Muslim and anti-refugee sentiment in Europe had been on the rise. […]

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Russia’s militant migrant challenge

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

Russia’s terrorist threat has evolved. But the authorities are yet to evolve with it. (opendemocracy.net – Mark Galeotti – March 17, 2016) Mark Galeotti is Professor of Global Affairs at New York University’s SCPS Center for Global Affairs. He blogs on Russian security affairs at In Moscow’s Shadows and tweets as @MarkGaleotti. Why did Uzbek nanny Gyulchekhra Bobokulova call out […]

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RBTH: Airstrikes on ISIS continue as Syria ceasefire holds

Syria Map

The truce in Syria brokered by Russia and the U.S. appears to be holding, despite reports from some parties of violations. However, the ceasefire does not extend to groups that are recognized by the UN as terrorist. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – ALEXEY TIMOFEYCHEV, RBTH – March 1, 2016) Despite accusations of ceasefire violations coming from different sides […]

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Why did Kadyrov publish ‘revelatory’ report about himself?

Ramzan Kadyrov file photo

The head of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov has chosen to make public himself a report that accuses him of creating a quasi-Islamic state within Russia and not obeying Russian laws. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – YEKATERINA SINELSCHIKOVA, RBTH – February 26, 2016) The head of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, has chosen to publish a report called “A National Security Threat” […]

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NEWSLINK: “Tajiks fear weaker Russian presence will open the way for ISIS. Locals in Tajikistan are worried about the possible reduction of Russian servicemen in the country, as the Islamic State militant organization grows in strength in neighboring Afghanistan.” – RBTH/Gazeta.ru

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TRANSCRIPT: Dmitry Medvedev’s interview for Handelsblatt, Germany

Dmitry Medvedev file photo

(Government.ru – February 11, 2016) Ahead of the Munich Security Conference, the Prime Minister answered questions from Editor-in-Chief Sven Afhüppe and international correspondent Mathias Bruggmann. Question: Mr Prime Minister, thank you for finding the time to meet with us. You will come to Munich to attend the Conference on Security. Handelsblatt will cover the proceedings and primarily your participation in […]

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AFGHANISTAN TO SYRIA – the Russian game

Afghanistan Map of Ethnicities

Subject: AFGHANISTAN TO SYRIA – the Russian game Date: Wed, 10 Feb 2016 From: Andrei Liakhov <gaffriloff@yahoo.co.uk> AFGHANISTAN TO SYRIA – the Russian game I have tried hard to stay off JRL for a while. Too much to do and too much to travel. It does not mean that I was not involved in various Russia related situations. Syria was/is […]

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Interfax: Self-styled groups, not soldiers, fighting Islamic State – Chechen source

Map of Area Spanning Portions of Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, highlighting military engagements against ISIL

(Interfax – Moscow, February 9, 2016) There are self-styled groups of young people from Chechnya fighting the Islamic State terrorist group [ISIS] (which is banned in the Russian Federation) in Syria and Iraq, a source within the leadership of the Chechen Republic told Interfax. “There have been people from the Chechen Republic in the area of armed conflict in Syria […]

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Fukuyama: ‘Putinism,’ Radical Islam No Alternative To Liberal Democracy

Putin Descending a Staircase

(RFE/RL – January 29, 2016) Russian President Vladimir Putin and the extremist Islamic State group are sworn enemies that might seem to have little in common. But both are engaged in efforts at state building that U.S. political scientist Francis Fukuyama says share two qualities: each seeks to create a political alternative to a modern liberal democracy, and each is […]

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Can the North Caucasus adapt to political change?

Caucasus Map of Chechnya and Caucasus Environs

Amid a crumbling and fragile system, central and regional elites gear up for a new power struggle in Russia’s North Caucasus. (opendemocracy.net/RBC – Denis Sokolov – January 25, 2016) Denis Sokolov is Senior Research Fellow at the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration. If 2015 was the year of purges of regional elites for the North Caucasus, […]

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Interfax: Russian air force operates in interest of 11 Syrian opposition units

Syria Map

(Interfax – January 11, 2016) The Russian Aerospace Forces aviation group has carried out dozens of air strikes in support of the offensive conducted by 11 detachments of the Syrian democratic opposition fighting against terrorists in Syria, head of the Main Operative Department of the Russian Armed Forces General Staff Lt. Gen. Sergei Rudskoi told reporters on Jan. 11. “Russian […]

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New York Times/Anatol Lieven: “The Key to Crushing ISIS”

Middle East Map

Writing in The New York Times, Anatol Lieven addresses the fight against ISIL. Since the latest terrorist attacks in Paris, President Obama and a range of other Western leaders have agreed that ISIS must be crushed, Syria and Iraq stabilized, and the flow of refugees reversed. If ISIS, Al Qaeda and their supporters are the greatest enemies of the West, […]

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NEWSWATCH AP: “Chechnya Holds Classes to Counter IS Propaganda”

Caucasus Map of Chechnya and Caucasus Environs

AP covers Chechnya’s difficulties with Islamic terrorist recruiting. Authorities in Russia’s predominantly Muslim republic of Chechnya have organized classes to stave off Islamic State recruitment. Thousands … have joined IS in Syria … some have taken senior positions. Islamic militancy has engulfed Russia’s North Caucasus … nearly 1,000 people are believed to have left Dagestan from Syria, the number of […]

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Russia to Cooperate With West and Syrian Opposition Groups – Putin

Syria Map

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – November 17, 2015) Following the G20 summit in Turkey, there has been a decline in tension between Russia and the West in the face of new international threats and challenges, Russian President Vladimir Putin said during the final G20 press conference, Interfax agency reported Monday. “Life goes forward, things are changing, there are new challenges, […]

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Interfax: Cooperation with USA, Saudis against ISIS possible – top Russian diplomat

Russian Foreign Ministry Building Tower file photo

(Interfax – Moscow, November 9, 2015) Russia, Saudi Arabia and the USA can cooperate to fight ISIS and other terrorists in the Middle East if there is mutual interest in this, says special envoy of the Russian president for the Middle East and Africa, Deputy Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation Mikhail Bogdanov. “As regards the trilateral format of cooperation […]

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Russia Fears Islamic Terror Blowback Over Syria After Sinai

Middle East Map

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Ilya Arkhipov – November 9, 2015) As evidence grows that a bomb may have downed a Russian passenger jet over Egypt, the Kremlin is focused on countering the threat of terrorism at home from sympathizers of Islamic State. Officials insist they were prepared for the risk of terrorist reprisals after President Vladimir Putin ordered air strikes […]

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Will extremists unite to fight against Russia and the West?

Middle East Map

The al-Qaeda leader has urged Islamist groups to overcome internal divisions and join forces to oppose the West, Russia, Syria and Iran. However, it raises the question of whether extremists can forget their differences and act as a united front. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – ALEXEY TIMOFEYCHEV, RBTH – November 3, 2015) The call to unite Islamist forces […]

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Ummah: Islam in the post-Soviet world

Russian Mosque file photo

(opendemocracy.net – Editors of OpenDemocracy Russia – October 19, 2015) oDR introduces a new series devoted to reporting and comment on Islamic life in the post-Soviet space. The Ummah, the worldwide community of Muslims, comprises millions of members across the post-Soviet space. The inhabitants of five republics in Central Asia-Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan-have enthusiastically embraced their ancestral faith […]

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NEWSLINK Christian Science Monitor: “At UN, Putin talks tough against IS. Will the West work with him? The Russian president bluntly blamed the US for the chaos in the Middle East. But his plan for an alliance against IS may still find some listeners in the West.”

Middle East Map » Read more

Putin calls on CSTO to fight terrorist threat in Central Asia

Map of CIS Central Asia and Environs

The Collective Security Treaty Organization Summit, which took place in the Tajik capital of Dushanbe on Sept. 14-15, was chiefly devoted to countering the threat of Islamist terrorism in Central Asia. However, Russian experts believe that corruption and poverty are a greater threat to the region than terrorism. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Oleg Yegorov, special to RBTH […]

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Dagestan: Living on the front line of Russia’s fight against terror

Map of Russia Highlighting Dagestan

For several years already, Russia’s southernmost republic Dagestan has been the epicenter of terrorist activity in the country, with state law-enforcement agencies and special services engaged in a continuous struggle to identify and neutralize terror cells. However, as RBTH reports, these anti-terrorist units do not always use the most humane methods, which inevitably complicates the lives of local residents. (Russia […]

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RBTH: How effective is Russian drive to combat ISIS recruiters?

Map of Area Spanning Portions of Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, highlighting military engagements against ISIL

People in both Russian diplomatic circles and the security forces have been describing Islamic State (ISIS) as a “real threat” for a long time now. On Aug. 1 a hotline will start working in Russia for those whose friends or family members have joined ISIS. With experts warning that ISIS cannot be defeated with force alone, RBTH found out what […]

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IS Boosts Russian-Language Propaganda Efforts

Middle East Map

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Joanna Paraszczuk – July 6, 2015) The militant group Islamic State (IS) has stepped up its Russian-language propaganda efforts, another sign that its Russian-speaking contingent is becoming more powerful. Though Russian-speaking IS militants have put out their own propaganda for some time, in recent weeks a new Russian-language IS media wing — Furat Media — has […]

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Russian Security Fear Citizens Joining ISIS More than Ukrainian Separatists

Map of Area Spanning Portions of Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, highlighting military engagements against ISIL

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – June 22, 2015) More than 1,000 Russian citizens are believed to be fighting alongside the Islamic State, but Moscow is unable to stem the flow of militants to the terrorist group, nor the flow of “volunteers” to separatist forces in eastern Ukraine, a top security official said in an interview published Monday. […]

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Experts Downplay Trend of Russians Joining Islamic State

Map of Area Spanning Portions of Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, highlighting military engagements against ISIL

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber – June 18, 2015) Reports of Russian citizens taking up arms for the Islamic State terrorist group have dominated headlines in recent days, sparking debate about the cause of the apparent trend. Andrei Novikov, head of the Commonwealth of Independent States’ (CIS) Anti-Terrorism Center, told the Interfax news agency Wednesday that according to […]

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NEWSLINK The National Interest: ISIS on the Move: Russia’s Deadly Islamist Problem

Caucasus Map of Chechnya and Caucasus Environs

Killings of leaders of the ongoing insurgency in Russia’s North Caucasus no longer make front page news in either Moscow or foreign capitals, and the recent violent death of Emirate Caucasus’ emirAliskhab Kebekov is no exception. But regardless of whether such deadly news is buried in the inside pages or not, the North Caucasus insurgency, whose representatives not only regularly […]

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NEWSLINK Christian Science Monitor: As Kremlin’s Nemtsov case unravels, eyes on Chechen connection

Nemtsov March of Mourning

The assassination of activist Boris Nemtsov was carried out by Chechens inspired by Islam, according to the Kremlin. But as that claim falls apart, Russian eyes are turning elsewhere The Kremlin’s case against five Chechens accused of murdering liberal activist Boris Nemtsov for his “anti-Muslim” statements appears to be unraveling at lightning speed. The alleged shooter, Zaur Dadayev, was likely […]

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Decoding the Political Game Behind the Nemtsov Murder Arrests

File Photo of Kremlin Tower, St. Basil's, Red Square at Night

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – March 10, 2015) As the man suspected of having gunned down opposition leader Boris Nemtsov steps from the Kremlin allegedly confessed on Sunday, citing devotion to Islam as his motive, pundits agreed that the truth is likely much more complex than it seems. Some reasoned that it would have been impossible for […]

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NEWSLINK: Nemtsov’s Murder: Islamist Footprint?

Boris Nemtsov file photo

The origins of the murder of Yaroslavl Oblast assembly deputy and Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov are still unclear and may be forever. We are, after all, talking about Russia. However, news reports and the chief suspect’s own statements indicate that an Islamic/Islamist motive may have prompted the killing. …

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Experts Say Conflict in North Caucasus Waning – But Far From Over

Map of Chechnya and Environs

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Allison Quinn – February 18, 2015) Though the security situation has improved in Russia’s turbulent North Caucasus, which for years has been plagued by almost daily battles between police and Islamic insurgents, the reduced number of fatalities seen in 2014 may just be the calm before the storm, analysts said Tuesday. “This may be the end of […]

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Interfax: Making people choose between terror, blasphemy wrong – Russian church official

Archpriest Vsevolad Chaplin file photo

(Interfax – January 14, 2015) Forcing people to choose between terrorism and blasphemy is dangerous, public relations chief of the Russian Orthodox Church Vsevolod Chaplin has said. He was speaking on the Russian Orthodox Church TV channel Spas on 14 January, as reported by Russian privately-owned news agency Interfax. A week after the deadly attacks in Paris, today the French […]

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RIA Novosti: Russian diplomat calls for renewed cooperation with West against ISIS

Map of Area Spanning Portions of Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, highlighting military engagements against ISIL

(RIA Novosti – January 13, 2015) The Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) poses just as much of a threat to Russia as it does to the West, the director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s department of new threats and challenges, Ilya Rogachev, was quoted as saying by RIA Novosti (part of the state-owned International News Agency Rossiya Segodnya) on 13 January. “ISIL […]

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In Implicit Criticism Of West, Russia’s FM Calls For ‘More Serious’ Fight Against IS

Map of Middle East and North Africa with Inset Map of Holy Land

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Joanna Paraszczuk – January 13, 2015) Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has called for a “more serious” fight against the Islamic State (IS) group, amid reports that the militant group is present in Afghanistan and is expanding elsewhere. “‘Islamic State’ is a structure that calls for a great deal more attention and a more serious reaction. […]

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In Russia, Tears and Jeers After Charlie Hebdo Massacre

Paris, France, View from Eiffel Tower

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber – January 12, 2015) A mixture of genuine grief, petty political pandering and condemnation of a vaguely defined notion of blasphemy have dominated a broad array of Russian reactions to the massacre at French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo that left 12 dead. As much of the world commiserates with France in the aftermath […]

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NEWSWATCH: In 2015, Vladimir Putin may witness his empire’s death knell

Vladimir Putin

[“In 2015, Vladimir Putin may witness his empire’s death knell” – Strobe Talbott – Reuters – Dec. 16, 2014] Strobe Talbott predicts that a third Chechen War could break out in 2015, sounding the death knell for Russia’s current geographic configuration. Indeed, Talbott comments that Russia could break apart by the end this century, and that the policies of Russian President […]

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What Can Russia Bring to War Against Islamic State?

Map of Area Spanning Portions of Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, highlighting military engagements against ISIL

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexey Eremenko – October 28, 2014) Moscow will not join the U.S. effort to thwart the Islamic State terrorist group until Russian-American relations improve, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said this weekend. The big question, however, is whether Russia is in fact in a position to offer any substantial aid to the anti-jihad campaign – […]

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Moscow Times: Russians More Afraid of U.S. Than Islamic Terrorism, Survey Shows

File Photo of Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama Seated Before Russian and U.S. Flags

(Moscow Times – moscowtimes.com – Allison Quinn – October 22, 2014) Nearly a quarter of Russians believe that the United States poses a bigger terrorist threat to their country than radical Islamists, a survey published Tuesday showed. Twenty-two percent of respondents to the poll by the state-run All-Russia Public Opinion Research Center (VTsIOM), titled “Terrorist Threats Against Russia: New Sources,” […]

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NEW BOOK: The Caucasus Emirate Mujahedin: Global Jihadism in Russia’s North Caucasus and Beyond

Caucasus Mountains Satellite Image

Subject: Book announcement Date: Sat, 18 Oct 2014 From: GORDON HAHN <gordon-hahn@sbcglobal.net> My most recent book – The Caucasus Emirate Mujahedin: Global Jihadism in Russia’s North Caucasus and Beyond – has been published by McFarland Publishers. It is available for purchase from the publisher and Amazon. The Caucasus Emirate Mujahedin: Global Jihadism in Russia’s North Caucasus and Beyond Gordon M. […]

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Interfax: Most Russians unaware of ISIL, others see it as threat to peace, Russia – poll

Map of Iraq

MOSCOW. Oct 9 (Interfax) – Only 13% of Russians are aware of the existence of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and 54% learned about it during a poll held by the Public Opinion Foundation. Another 26% of 1,500 respondents polled in 43 regions on September 28 had heard something about the ISIL, and 7% failed to […]

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Islamic State Grooms Chechen Fighters Against Putin

Map of Iraq

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Michael Winfrey – October 9, 2014) When the Islamic State commander known as “Omar the Chechen” called to tell his father they’d routed the Iraqi army and taken the city of Mosul, he added a stark message: Russia would be next. “He said ‘don’t worry dad, I’ll come home and show the Russians,’” Temur Batirashvili said […]

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RIA Novosti: Fears of Radicalization Among Muslim Youth Rising in Russia

Russian Mosque File Photo

MOSCOW, October 1 (RIA Novosti) – There is an increasing risk of radicalization among Muslim youth in Russia, Russian News Paper Kommersant reported on Wednesday. A large group of Muslim youth attacked a police bus on September 26, as the police arrested a man, who drove into an officer, after being told to move his car, parked in a no-parking […]

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One Year After Leader’s Death, North Caucasus Insurgency Soldiers On

Doku Umarov file photo

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Liz Fuller – September 7, 2014) September 7 marks the first anniversary of the death from poisoning of Doku Umarov, the Chechen field commander who abandoned the cause of an independent Chechen Republic Ichkeria in 2007 and instead proclaimed a Caucasus Emirate (IK) encompassing the entire North Caucasus. While Umarov’s death has had only minimal impact on the […]

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Moscow Times: U.S.-Russia Split Over Ukraine Gives Islamic State Upper Hand

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Allison Quinn – September 5, 2014) As the NATO summit gets under way in Wales and world leaders put on a united front against the growing threat posed by radical terrorist organization the Islamic State, continued bickering between Russia and the West over events in Ukraine threatens to give the “apocalyptic” group carte blanche to […]

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