Saturday, September 22, 2012

South Ossetia War Jitters, 27 Killed in North Caucasus Insurgency, Dagestanis on Trial in Prague: Caucasus Update, 16-22 September 2012


European Union observers along the border between Georgia and South Ossetia
The president of the mostly-unrecognized Russian puppet state of the Republic of South OssetiaLeonid Tibilov, said on September 18th that what he called a build-up of Georgian troops along their shared border meant that “Georgia is preparing seriously for a war” to retake what Tbilisi still considers a Georgian rebgion.  However, the European Union Monitoring Mission along the border claims that there is no Georgian military build-up, but that there is one on the South Ossetian side by Russian troops that have occupied South Ossetia since Russia invaded Georgia and solidified South Ossetia’s secession in 2008.  Other than Russia and a handful of minor countries, the world regards South Ossetia as part of the Republic of Georgia.

Leonid Tibilov is prepared for war.

Czech Court Tries Dagestani Counterfeiters Linked to Caucasus Emirate.  In the Czech Republic, a court in Prague began on September 20th its trial of four men from southwestern Russia’s Republic of Dagestan, along with two from Bulgaria and one from Moldova, accused of manufacturing counterfeit identity cards in the service of Shariat Jamaat, which is the Dagestani branch of the Caucasus Emirate movement, which would like Russia’s predominantly-Muslim areas to split off and form an Islamic state.  None of the suspects, who include one woman, pleaded guilty, but some claimed that they did not know the counterfeiting operation was connected to terrorism.  This is the Czech Republic’s first terrorism trial.

24 Rebels, 3 Police Killed in Violence across North Caucasus.  In southwestern Russia’s North Caucasus region, the federal National Anti-Terrorist Committee announced that five Islamist rebels were killed in the Republic of Dagestan on September 15th in a skirmish with special forces.  The leader of the “Tsuntinsky gang,” Gamzat Magomedov, was among the dead.  Casualties on the Russian side were limited to a police sniper from the Republic of Adygea, in the western North Caucasus, who died, and three others injured.  However, the Islamist separatist Caucasus Emirate group that operates in Dagestan claimed on its website that three “Russian invader policemen” were killed, quoting “a local puppet official,” though official sources all say only one policeman died.  A grocery store in Babayurt, Dagestan, was raked by gunfire on September 17th, followed by a bomb planted at the store’s entrance being defused by authorities.  There were no injuries.  Then, on September 18th, media reported the police killing, also in Dagestan, of two militants, including one leader, Rustam Alderov (nom de guerreAbul Muhammad), who is suspected of having been in charge of over 30 people organized into about 10 cells.  The same day, local police and members of Russia’s Federal Security Service (F.S.B., successor to the K.G.B.killed five rebels in the Republic of Ingushetia, in a gun battle resulting from a traffic stop.  Three of the dead men were on wanted lists and were wearing explosive belts.  Eight suspected militants were killed on September 20th in the Kabardino-Balkar Republic, in the western North Caucasus.  Those rebels, including two women, had barricaded themselves in the republican capital, Nalchik.  Also on that day, a policeman was injured when gunmen opened fire on a police checkpoint in Dagestan.  The same day, the Chechen Republic announced that skirmishes between security forces and militants in its territory had killed two officers and four rebels.  The often-unreliable website of the Islamist separatist Caucasus Emirate movement put the figures in Chechnya for this week as 7 Chechen Republic (i.e. pro-Moscow) “minions” killed and 15 injured and two “mujahideen martyrs” (i.e., two rebels killed).

North Caucasus Republics’ Leaders Speak Out against Anti-Muslim Video.  The governments of the Kabardino-Balkar Republic, the Chechen Republic, and the Republic of Ingushetia demanded this week that Internet providers in their territories block access to Innocence of Muslims, the low-budget, Coptic-American-produced video parodying the Prophet Muhammad which has inspired anti-American rioting across the Muslim world.  Chechnya’s Moscow-appointed authoritarian president, Ramzan Kadyrov, used the occasion to blame the film for the assassination of the U.S. ambassador to Libya earlier this month and to praise Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, for promoting religious tolerance [sic].

[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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