...in Chechnya vs. the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, I figured that I might reference today's Sunday Times article reporting that with the appointment of Abdul-Khalim Sadulayev as Chechen president that a Jordanian-born Saudi named "Abu Havs" is now the real power in Chechnya.
Abu Havs, sometimes Romanized as Abu Khavs or Abu Khafs, is known to US officials as Abu Hafs al-Urduni and is currently the top al-Qaeda leader in Chechnya. Rantburg's ever-useful search engine has a pretty good primer on his activities since taking over from Abu Walid al-Ghamdi last year, but what they fail to note is that he was also featured by Collin Powell at the UN with the following statement:
We also know that Zarqawi's colleagues have been active in the Pankisi Gorge, Georgia and in Chechnya, Russia. The plotting to which they are linked is not mere chatter. Members of Zarqawi's network say their goal was to kill Russians with toxins.
Abu Hafs al-Urduni has also called for attacks on US targets. If the Times report is accurate and that Abu Hafs is now more or less ruling Chechnya through Sadulayev (whom the Chechens have denied is either Saudi or Wahhabi), then we can even further remove the possibility of a negotiated peace in Chechnya because any restraint Maskhadov may have held has now been thrown out the window. I pity the Chechen and the Russian people, because this just going to mean more death and destruction for both of them in the long run.