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And as long as I'm talking about Chechnya...

| 6 Comments | 1 TrackBack 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.

1 TrackBack

Tracked: March 13, 2005 4:05 PM
Excerpt: Abu Havs, or Abu Hafs, according to the Sunday Times is, with Shamil Basayev, in effective joint control of the Chechen rebel movement.


Reminds me of what happened to Afghanistan and the Taliban. It seem to be a pattern: a movement arises among a Muslim population, usually starting as a resistance to occupation or attack; then Saudi jihadists move in, bringing resources and men; and in the end the movement is hollowed out and becomes a shell around yet another manifestation of Wahhabi jihadism.

KC has a different biography:

Sheikh Abdul-Halim: Abdul-Halim Abu-Salamovich Sadulayev, a Chechen, b.1967. Born and raised in the city of Argun (12 km away from Chechen capital Jokhar). Belongs to Chechen clan of Ustradoi (Ustargardoi is considered as an independent branch of the Belgatoi Clan). Ancestors of Ustradoi Clan are considered to be founders of the city of Argun (Ustradoila, Ustargardoi-Evla).

He was taught by prominent Chechen theologians. Active participant of Islamic revival in Chechnya. He became a teacher by teaching
Islam to the youth. Abdul-Halim was studying at the Chechen University, Department of Philology, but he had no time to graduate because the war started. He speaks Chechen, Arabic and Russian

President Abdul-Halim is a veteran of the first Russian-Chechen war. During the period between the first war and the second war he was delivering Islamic sermons on Chechen TV. He was also heading Islamic Jamaat (Military Council) of the city of Argun. Sheikh Abdul-Halim was also delivering Islamic lectures in various regions of Chechnya. For some time he used to be an imam of the Argun Mosque.

In 1999 on the order of President Maskhadov he was appointed as a member of State Commission of Constitutional Shariah Reform.

When the second Russian-Chechen war started he headed armed units of Argun People's Militia, which joined CRI Armed Forces.

In 2002 during the broad session of State Defence Council of CRI (the supreme governing body of CRI during the period of war) Abdul-
Halim was appointed as Chairman of the Shariah Committee of SDC and the Head of the Shariah Court of CRI.

Since the moment of death of President of CRI Aslan Maskhadov, Abdul-Halim became the legitimate leader of the Chechen State President of Chechen Republic of Ichkeria, Commander of CRI State Defence Council and Commander-In-Chief of CRI Armed Forces -- in accordance with his position that he held.

And here are some more clarifications. During the broad session of SDC of CRI in July-August 2002 (which lasted 24 days), with the participation of members of SDC, the Parliament, the Government,heads of Administrations and Military Command of CRI Armed Forces, a
number of important and crucial decisions were adopted.

-Several amendments and additions were made to the acting Constitution of CRI, while considering the proposals prepared as far
back as 1999 by the State Commission of Shariah Reform. (By the way, Ahmad Kadyrov was one of the heads of that commission back then);

-Decision was adopted about the mechanism of legitimate succession of power in accordance with the CRI Constitution in case of death of
the head of the Chechen State or in case the head of the state gets captured by the enemy.

-"Bayat" had been taken: the Islamic Oath of loyalty of military and political leaders of all levels (Commanding Officers, Commanders,
Ministers, etc.) to the head of the state for as long as the head of the state complies with the Shariah Law and upholds it.

On the order of President Maskhadov, Sheikh Abdul-Halim was decorated with two medals of the Chechen State: the supreme decoration founded by First Chechen President Jokhar Dudayev, Koman Sii ("Honour of the Nation") and Medal of Valour "Koman Turpal" ("Hero of the Nation").

In 2003 the invader's Spetznaz (Russian special forces) took the wife of Sheikh Abdul-Halim hostage. She was brutally murdered by Russian FSB agents after sadistic tortures when they were trying to find out where her husband was.

According to the information that Kavkaz Center has, Sheikh Abdul-Halim has never left the Chechen soil except for one trip to Mecca
on Hajj.

The KC link is:

Does al-Urduni mean "the Jordanian?"

I've always thought it odd that a pan-Islamic movement would so often use nomes-de-guerre that included a nationality. Seems like it runs against the grain.

Praktike, think of it as a family name rather than an endorsement of the nation state. ;-)

David McDuff:

Thanks for the biography.


It's more of an al-Qaeda thing than it is an Islamist thing. For example, Abu Sayyaf overs in the Philippines uses ridiculous nom de guerres like Commander Robot or Commander Rambo or Kaiser Said. Al-Qaeda divides itself up into sub-groups or "families" along ethno-nationalist lines for the purposes of internal administration, for example bin Laden's reference to Mohammed Atta of Egyptian family during the videotape in which he is seen gloating over the 9/11 attacks. The usual formula is kuniyat (famous name from Islamic history) + place of origin make a nom de guerre.

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