Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Chechen warlord may be behind parliament attack

A suicide attack on Chechnya's parliament may have been staged by a shadowy warlord who wants to establish himself as a leader of the Russian region's factionalized Islamist insurgency, officials and analysts said Wednesday. Some observers said they believe there could be an escalation of violence as 40-year-old Khusein Gakayev moves to assert his supremacy over the divided rebels. In the attack, "the goal here is to demonstrate Gakayev's authority," said Yulia Latynina, a Moscow-based columnist and Caucasus expert.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for Tuesday's attack by three suicide attackers, who got inside the tightly guarded parliament complex in the capital, Grozny, as legislators gathered for a session. The attackers opened fire and blew themselves up, killing two police officers and a parliamentary aide and wounded 17 other people. Chechnya's Interior Ministry branch told the ITAR-Tass news agency that it believed the attack was planned by Gakayev to boost his credentials among other rebels and their supporters abroad. It did not offer evidence.

Islamic insurgents have taken root across Russia's predominantly Muslim North Caucasus region and are trying to turn it into an independent emirate that adheres to Shariah, or Islamic law. Since 2007, the movement has been led by the guerrilla leader Doku Umarov, who spread confusion through the rebel ranks in August by first announcing and then annulling his resignation in two videos released three days apart. Analysts say that apparent indecision exacerbated a schism in the rebel leadership between those striving for a new Shariah state in the Caucasus and those focusing on Chechnya's independence. Gakayev, who has never been known to promote pan-Caucasian Islamism, was a little-known lieutenant to more senior rebels who has recently emerged as a leading figure in the insurgency.



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I am a law enforcement professional with over 35 years experience in both sworn and civilian positions. I have service in 3 different countries in both the northern and southern hemispheres.

My principal areas of expertise are: (1) Intelligence, (2) Training and Development, (3) Knowledge Management, and (4) Administration/Supervision.

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