January 8, 2014:
Russia reported that they had killed 260 Islamic terrorists in the Caucasus in 2013, versus 380 in 2012. Among the dead terrorists were 42 leaders. Security forces also seized 320 bombs during 70 raids down there. All this activity prevented twelve terrorist attacks and 62 other crimes (theft, intimidation, smuggling) the Islamic terrorists had planned. Despite the decline in terrorist activity in the Caucasus, that’s still a lot of violence for an area of 170,000 square kilometers (65,900 square miles). The Caucasus is hardly the largest source of Islamic terrorist violence in the planet and in fact accounts for only about two percent of the worldwide Islamic terrorism deaths. But for Russia it’s a major internal security problem, mainly because it’s relatively easy for Caucasus based terrorists to travel to other parts of Russia to conduct attacks. Russia been able to curb nearly most of those attempts in the last few years, but has been less successful in eliminating the terrorist bases and recruiting activities in the Caucasus.
In Russia, largely Chechen Moslems established the Islamic Emirate of the Caucasus in 2007, after more than a decade of Islamic radical activity in the area. This Emirate is still technically active, but not in any one place as the Islamic radicals that support it are constantly being chased by local and federal Russian police and paramilitary troops. Despite fifteen years of strenuous efforts some Islamic terrorists continue to survive and operate down there. This is more of a problem this year because Russia is hosting the Winter Olympics at a site near the Caucasus. There were two recent suicide bombings in the south Russian city of Volgograd (Stalingrad). But it must be remembered that the Russians have been fighting terrorism from the Caucasus for centuries, ever since Russian settlements first appeared near the Caucasus. It is an old problem that is not going away.
Russians have succeeded in hurting Islamic terror groups in Chechnya so badly that most of them now operate next door in Dagestan where they have become a major source of murder and mayhem in the name of Allah. In the last few years over half the terrorist activity in the Russian Caucasus (Dagestan, Chechnya, Ingushetia, Kabardino-Balkaria, Karachaevo-Cherkessia and Stavropol) took place in Dagestan (which contains about a third of the 9.4 million people in the Caucasus and has twice the population of Chechnya.)
The Islamic terrorism in Dagestan is more fractious than it was in Chechnya. That’s mainly because Chechnya had one majority ethnic group (Chechens) while Dagestan has dozens of groups and not all of them get along, even for the sake of Islamic unity. In fact, there’s a lot more Moslem opposition to Islamic radicalism in Dagestan than there was in Chechnya.