April 20, 2013

1999 War of Dagestan: When The Chechnya-Based Saudi Islamic International Brigade (IIB), An Islamist Militia Led By Warlords Saudi-Born Shamil Basayev And Ibn al-Khattab, Invaded The Neighbouring Russian Republic of Dagestan.

Woah I just came across this piece of information doing my reasearch: THE HISTORY OF THE MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD IS THE KEY TO UNDERSTANDING TODAY’S ISLAMIC WAR AGAINST THE WEST: From Saudi Arabia Wahhabi Islam to the Muslim Brotherhood.


[source: wikipedia]

The invasion of Dagestan, also known as the War in Dagestan and Dagestan War, began on August 7, 1999, when the Chechnya-based Islamic International Brigade (IIB), an Islamist militia led by warlords Shamil Basayev and Ibn al-Khattab, invaded the neighbouring Russian republic of Dagestan in support of the Shura of Dagestan separatist movement. The war ended with a major Russian victory and the retreat of the IIB. The Invasion of Dagestan was one of the major causes of, and served as the casus belli for, the Second Chechen War.


Having maintained de facto independence from Russia after the First Chechen War, Chechnya descended into anarchy and economic collapse. Aslan Maskhadov's government was unable to rebuild the region and to prevent a number of warlords from taking effective control. Relationship between the government and radicals polarized. In March 1999, Maskhadov closed down the Chechen parliament and introduced aspects of Sharia law. Despite this concession, extremists such as Saudi-born Shamil Basayev and Saudi-born Islamist Ibn Al-Khattab continued to undermine Maskhadov's government. In April 1998, this radical group publicly declared its long-term aim to be the creation of a union of Chechnya and Dagestan under Islamic rule and the expulsion of Russians from the entire Caucasian Region.

In late 1997, Bagauddin Magomedov, the ethnic Avar leader of the radical wing of the Dagestani Wahhabis (Salafism), fled with his entourage to Chechnya. There he established close ties with Al-Khattab and other leaders of Chechnya's Wahhabi community. In January 1999, Khattab began the formation of an "Islamic Legion" with foreign Muslim volunteers. At the same time, he commanded the "peacemaking unit of the Majlis (Parliament) of Ichkeria and Dagestan." A series of invasions from Chechnya to Dagestan took place during the inter-war period, culminating in the 1997 attack on a federal military garrison of the 136th Motorized Rifle Regiment near the Dagestani town of Buinaksk. Militants from the Wahhabist area ruled by the Islamic Djamaat of Dagestan took part. Other attacks targeted civilians and Dagestani police on a regular basis.

In April 1999, Magomedov, the "Emir of the Islamic Jamaat of Dagestan," made an appeal to the "Islamic patriots of the Caucasus" to "take part in the jihad" and to do their share in "liberating Dagestan and the Caucasus from the Russian colonial yoke." According him, proponents of the idea of a free Islamic Dagestan were to enlist in his "Islamic Army of the Caucasus", and report to the army's headquarters (in the village of Karamakhi) for military duty. Chechen separatist government official Turpal-Ali Atgeriev claimed to have alerted the FSB director Vladimir Putin, in the summer of 1999, of the imminent invasion of Dagestan.

Invasion and Russian counterattack

On August 4, 1999, several Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD) servicemen were killed in a border clash with a group of Magomedov's fighters led by Bagaudin Kebedov. On August 7 Basayev and Khattab launched an invasion into Dagestan with a group of roughly 1,500-2,000 armed militants consisting of Islamic radicals from Chechenya and Dagestan, as well as other international Islamists.

Khattab described himself as the operation's main strategist, while Basayev was said to be its field commander. They seized the villages of Ansalta, Rakhata and Shadroda and reached the village of Tando, close to the district town of Botlikh. On August 10, they announced the birth of the "independent Islamic State of Dagestan" and declared war on "the traitorous Dagestani government" and "Russia's occupation units."

The Russian military was slow to respond, and efforts to mobilize and counterattack were initially fumbling and disorganized. Because of this, all of the early resistance (and much of the later resistance as well) was undertaken by the Dagestani police, by spontaneously organized citizen militias, and by individual Dagestani villagers. Basayev and Khattab were not welcomed as "liberators" as they had expected; the Dagestani villagers considered the invading force as occupiers and unwelcome religious fanatics. Instead of an anti-Russian uprising, the border areas saw mass mobilization of volunteers against Basayev's and Khattab's army.

As resistance stiffened, Russian government forces finally intervened, launching air and artillery strikes against the invaders. The Russian Air Force also started bombing targets inside Chechnya. This conflict saw the first use of aerial-delivered fuel-air explosives (FAE) against populated areas by Russian forces, notably on the village of Tando. The rebels were stalled by the ferocity of the bombardments: their supply lines were cut and scattered with remotely detonating mines. This gave Russia time to organize a counterattack under Colonel-General Viktor Kazantsev, commander of the North Caucasus Military District. T-90 tanks were used for the first time during the operation. In the Kadar zone, a group of 8-12 T-90S tanks broke through stubborn resistance. One of the tanks was hit by seven RPG rockets, and remained in action. On August 23 Basaev and Khattab announced they were withdrawing their forces from Botlikh district to "redeploy" and begin a "new phase" in their operations.

Russian forces continued operations to mop up resistance. On the night of September 4, as the Russian Army was wiping out the last bastions of resistance in the Kadar region, a car bomb destroyed a military housing building in the Dagestani town of Buynaksk, killing 64 people and starting the first in the wave of the Russian apartment bombings. On the morning of September 5, Chechen rebels launched a second invasion into the lowland Novolakskoye region of Dagestan, this time with a larger force. The rebels came within a mere five kilometres of the major town of Khasavyurt. The second invasion at the height of the hostilities in the Karamakhi zone on September 5 came as unpleasant surprise to Moscow and Makhachkala. According to Basayev, the purpose of the second invasion was to distract federal forces attacking Karamakhi and Chabanmakhi. Intensive fighting continued until September 12, when Russian government forces supported by local volunteers finally forced the Islamists back to Chechnya, though sporadic armed clashes with remnants of Islamist forces continued for some time.

By mid-September 1999 the villages were recaptured from the routed militants, and they were pushed back into Chechnya. At least several hundred people were killed in the fighting, including an unknown number of civilians. The federal side stated that they suffered 279 dead and approximately 987 wounded. Among battle casualties was a medical sergeant – Irina Yanina, who heroically died in the battle for Karamakhi village. She was the first (and until 2008 the only) female soldier to be awarded the title of Hero of the Russian Federation and a Gold Star medal (posthumously). Chechen Islamists suffered approximately 2,500 dead.


[source: wikipedia]

The Beslan school hostage crisis (also referred to as the Beslan school siege or Beslan massacre) of early September 2004 lasted three days and involved the capture of over 1,100 people as hostages (including 777 children), ending with the death of over 380 people. The crisis began when a group of armed Islamic separatist militants, mostly Ingush and Chechen, occupied School Number One (SNO) in the town of Beslan, North Ossetia (an autonomous republic in the North Caucasus region of the Russian Federation) on 1 September 2004. The hostage-takers were the Riyadus-Salikhin Battalion, sent by the Chechen separatist warlord Saudi-born Shamil Basayev, who demanded recognition of the independence of Chechnya at the UN and Russian withdrawal from Chechnya. On the third day of the standoff, Russian security forces entered the building with the use of tanks, incendiary rockets and other heavy weapons. At least 334 hostages were killed as a result of the crisis, including 186 children, with a significant number of people injured and reported missing.

The event led to security and political repercussions in Russia, most notably it contributed to a series of federal government reforms consolidating power in the Kremlin and strengthening of the powers of the President of Russia. As of 2011, aspects of the crisis in relation to the militants remain contentious: Questions remain regarding how many militants were involved, the nature of their preparations and whether a section of the group had escaped. Questions about the Russian government's management of the crisis have also persisted, including allegations of disinformation and censorship in news media, whether the journalists who were present at Beslan were allowed to freely report on the crisis, the nature and content of negotiations with the militants, allocation of responsibility for the eventual outcome, and perceptions that excessive force was used.


After the conclusion of the crisis, many of the injured died in the only hospital in Beslan, which was highly unprepared to cope with the casualties, before the patients were sent to better-equipped facilities in Vladikavkaz. There was an inadequate supply of hospital beds, medication, and neurosurgery equipment. Relatives were not allowed to visit hospitals where the wounded were treated, and doctors were not allowed to use their mobile phones.

The day after the storming, bulldozers gathered the debris of the building, including the body parts of the victims, and removed it to a garbage dump. The first of the many funerals were conducted on 4 September, the day after the final assault, with more following soon after, including mass burials of 120 people. The local cemetery was too small and had to be expanded to an adjacent plot of land to accommodate the dead. Three days after the siege, 180 people were still missing. Many survivors remained severely traumatized and at least one female former hostage committed suicide after returning home.

Russian President Vladimir Putin reappeared publicly during a hurried trip to the Beslan hospital in the early hours of 4 September to see several of the wounded victims in his only visit to Beslan. He was later criticised for not meeting the families of victims. After returning to Moscow, he ordered a two-day period of national mourning on 6 – 7 September 2004. In his televised speech Putin paraphrased Joseph Stalin saying: "We showed ourselves to be weak. And the weak get beaten." On the second day of mourning, an estimated 135,000 people joined a government-organised rally against terrorism on the Red Square in Moscow. An estimated 40,000 people gathered in Saint Petersburg's Palace Square.

Increased security measures were introduced to Russian cities. More than 10,000 people without proper documents were detained by Moscow police in a "terrorist hunt". Colonel Magomed Tolboyev, a cosmonaut and Hero of the Russian Federation, was attacked by Moscow police patrol and beaten because of his Chechen-sounding name. The Russian public appeared to be generally supportive of increased security measures. A 16 September 2004 Levada-Center opinion poll found 58% of Russians supporting stricter counter-terrorism laws and the death penalty for terrorism, while 33% would support banning all Chechens from entering Russian cities.

The following people were named by the Russian government as planners and financiers of the attack:
  • Shamil Basayev – Chechen rebel leader who took ultimate responsibility for the attack. He died in Ingushetia in July 2006 in disputed circumstances.
  • Kamel Rabat Bouralha – British-Algerian suspected of organizing the attack, who was reportedly detained in Chechnya in September 2004.
  • Abu Omar al-Saif – Saudi national and accused financer, killed in Dagestan in December 2005.
  • Abu Zaid Al-Kuwaiti – Kuwaiti national and accused organizer, who died in Ingushetia in February 2005.
In November 2004, 28-year-old Akhmed Merzhoyev and 16-year-old Marina Korigova of Sagopshi, Ingushetia, were arrested by the Russian authorities in connection with Beslan. Merzhoyev was charged with providing food and equipment to the hostage-takers, and Korigova with having possession of a phone that Tsechoyev had phoned multiple times. Korigova was released when her defence attorney showed that she was given the phone by an acquaintance after the crisis.


According to the official version of events, 32 militants participated directly in the seizure, one of whom was taken alive while the rest were killed on spot. The number and identity of hostage-takers remains a controversial topic, fuelled by the often contradictory government statements and official documents. The 3–4 September government statements said total of 26–27 militants were killed during the siege. At least four militants, including two women, died prior to the Russian storming of the school.

According to Basayev, "Thirty-three mujahideen took part in Nord-West. Two of them were women. We prepared four [women] but I sent two of them to Moscow on August 24. They then boarded the two airplanes that blew up. In the group there were 12 Chechen men, two Chechen women, nine Ingush, three Russians, two Arabs, two Ossetians, one Tartar, one Kabardinian and one Guran. The Gurans are a people who live near Lake Baikal who are practically Russified."

Basayev further said an FSB agent (Khodov) had been sent undercover to the rebels to persuade them to carry out an attack on a target in North Ossetia's capital, Vladikavkaz, and that the group was allowed to enter the region with ease because the FSB planned to capture them at their destination in Vladikavkaz. He also claimed that an unnamed hostage-taker had survived the siege and managed to escape.

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