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The Islamic Emirate of Chechnya is a radical Islamic state in the Caucasus Mountains, containing most of what what once the Chechen–Ingush Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic in the USSR. They claim much of the region to be part of their Emirate, however impossible that may be.
The oldest settlement found in the region goes back to 125,000 BC. In these mountain cave settlements, people lived who used tools, mastered fire, and used animal skin for warmth and other purposes. In classical times, the northern slopes of the Caucasus mountains were inhabited by the Circassians on the west and the Avars on the east. In between them, the Zygians occupied Zyx, the areas of north Ossetia, the Balkar, the Ingush and the Chechen republics today.
Chechnya is a region in the Northern Caucasus which has been in almost constant battle against foreign rule since the 15th century. Eventually the Chechens converted to Sunni Islam, largely encouraged by the motive of receiving help from the Ottoman Empire against Russian encroachment. Eventually, Russia would take the region in a series of wars between 1785 and 1864. Chechen rebellion would characteristically flare up whenever the Russian state faced a period of internal uncertainty. Under Soviet rule, Chechnya was combined with Ingushetia to form the autonomous republic of Chechen-Ingushetia in the late 1930s.
The Chechens rose up against Soviet rule during the 1940s, resulting in the deportation of the entire ethnic Chechen and Ingush populations to the Kazakh SSR and Siberia in 1944. Joseph Stalin and others argued this was punishment to the Chechens for providing assistance to the German forces - though the Germans never got to its borders, an active guerrilla movement here still threatened to undermine the Soviet defense of the Caucasus.
In 1957, the Chechen-Ingush ASSR was restored, and the Chechens were allowed to return. The return of the Chechens would cause massive disruptions to the social, economic and political systems of what had been a Russian-populated area for the period until their return. This caused a self-feeding cycle of ethnic conflict between the two groups. Eventually, the ethnic Russian population, in turn, moved to other parts of the USSR, after the inter-ethnic conflict broke briefly out in 1958. By the late 1960s, Chechens and Ingush outnumbered ethnic Russians again. The Russification policies towards Chechens continued after 1956, with Russian language proficiency required in many aspects of life and for advancement in the Soviet system.
The ASSR recorded a single strike on Doomsday, on the city of Grozny. This eliminated the regional government, along with most of the Soviet military in the region.
With the complete absence of central authority, the local communists - always few in number - did not stand much chance. While the details have never been conformed, it is believed that by the beginning of 1984, all were dead - and never in a pleasant manner.
Soon, the other authority figures in the region began to be killed off. Local Islamic dissenters from the former regime, along with those who were just chaotic by nature, were largely responsible for these and other related actions.
By 1985, the largest remaining city, Gudermes, had been deprived of most of its government. In fact, the highest-ranking official left was one of the senior traffic police, Sultan Geliskhanov. Seizing control of the government from the few civil bureaucrats left, he met with the dissenters, revealing himself sympathetic to their plans. The leader of the local groups, Salman Raduyev, allied his forces to Sultan's police and militia, and the two combined to seize the entire city, and nearby areas of the countryside as well, by the end of 1985.
On January 9th, 1986, Sultan declared himself Emir of Chechnya, and Salman became the Premier of his government. Almost immediately, they began to encourage radical Islamic activities, and to expand their domains. Largely, this consisted of either allying themselves with other groups they ran across, or destroying them, depending on their beliefs and strength. The strongest of these was led by Ruslan Gelayev, current head of the Chechen military, near Urus-Martan, who only joined when offered his current position.
By 1992, they had taken control over most of Chechnya, and were taking over eastern Ingushetia as well. Here they encountered forces from Ossetia in 1993, preventing any further expansion on that front. At about the same time, forces from Dagestan were encountered in the east.
This set off a bit of a crisis in the Emirate. While the Emir and the Premier were content to just be independent, there were others who were not happy with the situation. The radical breed of Islam now being taught in the Emirate by Imams from Iran with government backing had begun to rear its ugly head.
Coup and Aftermath
In 1995, these radicals had had enough, and launched their coup. Within hours of its start on September 11th, they had killed both Sultan and Salman, and their entire families. The military under Ruslan began to intervene, but he instead made a deal with the two heads of the coup, Khusein Gakayev and Abdul-Halim Sadulayev, that he would let them live and join them, in exchange for more power. With the alternative being his forces crushing them, they had to agree.
Khusein was named the new Emir, and Abdul the new Premier. At their sides, they filled the government with their radical allies, as well as members of the Muslim Liberation Army.
With backing from the government, the MLA quickly established small training camps in the country. While minor compared to their main operations in Asia, these camps soon began to produce trained recruits for the cause. The Chechen government began to switch its focus towards these efforts as well.
By 1998, it is believed that around two thousand of them existed in Chechnya. At this point, they began to launch themselves into offensive operations in the region. Fairly unorganized, these excursions were largely into Dagestan, where they raided, looting the countryside and taking both slaves and new recruits. These raids, however, got only a very small distance before being repulsed by the Dagestani military . Other similar excursions elsewhere were either repulsed at the border, or found nothing.
On three occasions - October of 1998, May of 1999, and September of 1999 - more organized incursions occurred. The Dagestani Army managed to fight these off in battles near the towns of Anchik and Khasavyurt, and just outside the radiated remains of Kitslyar.
After the defeat of the last of these, the incursions ceased for a time. MLA efforts switched to Central Asia, and the large number of dead in Chechnya meant that new fighters, and methods, had to be trained and thought up.
In 2004, the Chechen government finally decided to start up its activities once again. This time, however, their scope, the direction of the efforts, and their methods, had changed. Gone was the allowance of raiders - now, their efforts would be geared towards less invasive methods.
It is about this time that the first suicide bombings occurred in the region, in Derbent. Since this first blast, others have been recorded in the region, largely in Dagestan, but also in most of the other Caucasian powers. Near the end of the decade, they began to decrease in number - something was being planned.
In 2010, outside intelligence began to show that the government, and its MLA allies, was readying for an invasion of nearby Dagestan, in order to expand the emirate, and to free their Muslim brothers from domination by "heretics," even though Dagestani Muslims remained in charge there.
In response, the Dagestanis hired mercenaries from the PRMDS organization, who secured the border for the first time since the 1980s, preventing the attack - they have remained there since.
Almost immediately, the Chechen government began to work on other plans to free their brothers in Islam. It is unknown exactly what these may be, but it is known that the bombings have started in Dagestan, Armenia, and Azerbaijan again.
These setbacks have caused dissent to begin again in Chechnya. In 2008, an assassination attempt was even made against the Premier, though it failed badly, and is thought to have been the motivation for the 2010 near-attack.
Government and Politics
The Islamic Emirate of Chechnya is dominated by the Emir, who is supposed to rule for life. He is assisted in this by his Council, headed by the Premier.
All members of the Council are chosen by the Emir, and tend to be in charge of day-to-day activities in the nation.
Separate from this is the military, which is headed by General Ruslan Gelayev. The officer ranks are loyal to him, though he has remained allied with the Emir, but most of the rank and file are radicals, often members of the MLA.
Politically, virtually all positions in the state are held by MLA members, or those sympathetic to the cause. They support the current path of the state, though there are those who think it is not enough.
In addition to this, there is the MLA organization, which operates what amounts to a shadow government, though they by no means claim such. They operate their own militias, which are about half as strong as the regular army, and with no heavy equipment like tanks or planes.
Dissent is not tolerated, and any who oppose the regime are executed.
Chechnya largely gets by on basic agriculture, and similar activities, like they always have.
While in the past the area was known as one of the best routes for oil from the Dagestan region to get to the ocean, and from there market, this has tapered off because of the border closing. To compensate, two things have started.
The first is more legal. Oil and gas production in the area has been ramped up, supplying the nation with what it needs. Past that, it is exported southwards, through the Georgian borders, and from there to the world, though Georgia purchases most of it, though they do re-sell a fair amount to Armenia, as the Emirate refuses to deal with the Armenians.
The second, however, is no so legal. Despite it being, if not against its words, violating the spirit of the Qur'an, Chechnya produces a large amount of narcotics, largely in the form of opium, each year. This supply, in competition from other production from Anatolia, is one of the largest sources in Europe and around the Mediterranean today. It is far more profitable than the oil and gas.
Most revenue from these sources goes to the MLA, though the regular army is paid with it as well.
"International pariah" is probably the words that describe Chechnya the best. As a known and active sponsor of terrorism, it is probably also an understatement.
The Iranian government is the only one that holds real relations with them, having an embassy in the capital. The MLA, obviously, also does, though whether or not they can actually be called a country is questionable, at best.
Other Muslim governments have sent representatives from time to time, though nothing permanent, by any means. Dagestan, of course, is not one of them, and of the other governments, only Azerbaijan can be said to send them even yearly, likely having to do with their disputes with Armenia.
Past that, the only government that will have anything to do with them on a regular basis is Georgia, barely, and only because of the oil and gas the Chechens sell to their companies. Ossetia also sends diplomats on occasion, but not with anything approaching regularity.
Like Iran, their status internationally is basically non-existent. They are barred from the LoN, and other such organizations, both for this reason, and because of a veto in general by Siberia.
As the largest supporter of terrorism west of Iran, the Chechen government finances and actively launches terrorist attacks. Largely, however, it is confined to the Caucasus, though Chechen-sponsored terrorists have launched attacks as far away as Kemet. These attacks, except for a two year period where the radicals raided, or attempted to raid, nearby nations, in 1998 and 1999, have occurred since 2004.
These have ranged from such things as bombings, shootings, and attacking military personnel. PRMDS personnel in Dagestan, as well as the Dagistani Army, are often the victims of attacks, which are fairly commonplace near the border.
Aside from the regular attacks on the border, attacks where Chechen, or Chechen-trained terrorists are either claimed by the Chechen government and the MLA to be responsible, or definitive evidence shows them to be responsible, include:
- June 25th, 2004: Bombing in Buynaksk, Dagestan. 5 dead.
- September 5th, 2004: Gunman opens fire in the city center of Derbent, Dagestan. 12 dead.
- April 4th, 2005: Man blows himself up in Gyumri, Armenia. 23 dead.
- January 18th, 2006: Dagestani patrol ambushed near Metluda, Dagestan. 2 dead soldiers and 3 dead militants.
- July 30th, 2006: Woman blows herself up in Mamedkala, Dagestan. 12 dead.
- October 14th, 2006: Bombing in Elista, Kalmykia. 3 dead.
- March 25th, 2008: Man blows himself up in Krasnodar, Kuban People's Republic. 9 dead.
- November 11th, 2008: Armenian troops come under fire in Stepanakert, Armenia. 8 dead soldiers, and 4 dead militants.
- April 29th, 2009: Gunman temporarily seize parts of the town of Tsudakhar, Dagestan. 28 dead, 14 kidnapped, and 4 dead militants.
- September 1st, 2009: Bombing in Stepanakert, Armenia. 20 dead.
- May 8th, 2010: Attack on Ansalta, Dagestan. 20 dead, and 25 dead militants.
- August 23rd, 2010: Bombing in the Coptic quarter of Alexandria, Kemet, Greek Federation. 35 dead.
- December 10th, 2010: Man blows himself up in Abovyan, Armenia. 7 dead.
- May 1st, 2011: Bombings at the main PRMDS base in Dagestan, north of the town of Igali. 4 dead.
- October 17th, 2011: Man blows himself up in Volgodonsk, Don Republic. 12 dead.
There are even more that they are believed to have been their handiwork, though it is unknown if they were in fact the culprits. Chechens are also believed to be active with the regular MLA forces in Central Asia as well.