07 February 2010

Who's Who the Terrorist Edition: Doku Umarov

Doku Umarov
Occupation: Emir of the Caucus Emirate
Born: April 13, 1964 (Wiki)
Education: Formal unknown, but he did step on a land mine and was able to keep his leg so I surmise he learned from that experience.
Employer: Self proclaimed Patriot for Chechnya
Career Highlights: One of the few remaining warlords left from the first Russian/Chechen war in 1996. 5th President of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria following Abdul-Khalim Sadulayev death. Reformed the Riyad us-Saliheyn Martrys' Brigade after the previous commander, Shamil Basayev, was killed in 2006. The Riyad Brigade can be tied to numerous attacks throughout the Caucuses. Eventually took credit for the Nevsky train bombing on 14, August 2009.
Family: Married, 6 children
Address: Doku is Chechen by birth, so he will blend in better in Chechnya proper. Doku also retains a degree of freedom to move around in the neighboring areas of Dagestan and Ingushetia
Assessment Summary: Doku (Dokka) Umarov's stock continues to rise with the successful targeting of fellow fighter leadership, Ibn al-Khattab, Shamil Basayev, and most recently Mokhmad Mohamad Shabban. Doku provides a typical justification for his terror campaign, stating that as long as Russia maintains security presence in the Caucuses, he will lead the resistance. There is a seemingly constant level of terrorist activity against the FSB in the Caucuses, but the Nevski train bombing alludes to a shift in tactics. The Russians have shown an increased capability in thwarting large terror attacks like the Moscow theater siege or the Beslan massacre. This allowed the Russian officials to claim that the terrorism problem in Caucuses was under control. The Nevsky train bombing shows an extended reach for the Caucus Emirate, being the farthest terror attack north of Moscow. Expect a continuation of low sophistication terror attacks in an attempt to lower public opinion of the Russian security operations in the Caucuses.


  1. What exactly are his motivations? I'm presuming he wants to establish Islamic rule in the region but is he an 'international jihad' type terrorist or a 'nationalist' type?

  2. My assessment; Doku is definitely a nationalist. The Caucus Emirate's focus is predominately directed toward Russian security forces, but they are possibly shifting focus against soft targets in the Russian interior. Read his interview linked under employer, it provides an interesting look into Doku's rhetoric. He is quick to distance himself from any goal to establish a global caliphate, yet his fighters participate in direct combat on every major terror front.

  3. Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi wrote a letter to the Caucasus "mujahideen" last year in which he warned them against adopting nationalism. It would be interesting to examine Umarov's thought in comparison with the other senior umara' who guide the Islamic Emirate of the Caucasus.

  4. Umarov appears to be someone to keep an eye on.

    He expressed interest in pursuing a strategy of industrial sabotage (systems disruption) against oil and gas pipelines.

    Also, Umarov has been linked to multiple company-sized raids (notable a 2004 attack in Nazran, Ingushetia).