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The Terror Route: Azerbaijan – Caucasus – the rest of Russia
One of the major challenges for the post-Soviet Russia is the terrorist activity of entrenched Muslim gangs, representing various organizations of international Islamic extremism. This problem is coming from dashing 90th of the last century; lots of efforts were spent to neutralize it. Nevertheless, hard do not notice that Islamic extremism and terrorism in Caucasus structures till some extent going underground, but continuing to live and grow.
We’ll refrain of examination essence genesis of Islamic extremism and terrorism in this article; it’s well-known. We are more interested in another aspect of this problem: ideological and material support, which terrorists are generously supplied with. As well as the ways of their penetration into Russian Federation.
Azerbaijan Republic is the main and almost the only transit country through which Russia supplied by funds and radical Islamic literature; there is a visa-free regime between these countries. The fact demonstrating the mutual trust between two CIS members is used by the radical Islamist structures operating on both sides of the border for radicalization Muslim believers. In this case so-called traditional Islam not only does not prevent this phenomenon, but in some cases is active, albeit apparently hidden radicalism conduit.
Here are two confirming the aforesaid examples. In the interview, given to the "REGNUM” information agency by Mufti of North Ossetia Alania Ali Hadji Evteev is openly proud of being follower of destroyed (by Russian special agencies) terrorists. "Anzor Astemirov, Musa Mukozhev – they were my teachers, I went to them with questions”, confessed Mufti. Generally, all interview of Ali Hadji Evteev are imbued with the spirit of extremist Islam.
Another example. At the end of February this year Russia FSB officers inspected chain stores "Sunna”, selling religious literature in Dagestan Republic. During inspection was seized from sale large amount of literature promoting radical Wahhabism noted that over last two years in Dagestan at least to 10 times increased the number of stores selling religious literature. Notable, that "Sunna” stores are the property of Sheikh ul – islam of Azerbaijan Republic Allah Shukur Pashaza-Zade, who combined business with the terrorism propaganda. Interesting fact, senior religious official spreading the Wahhabi literature is the head of Azerbaijani Shias (Wahhabism, or Salafism, is ultra-radical trend in Sunni Islam). Finally, pay attention to the fact that these two years Dagestan became one of the most "hot spots” in Russia.
How it started?
First Azerbaijani leader, who turned to Islamic terrorists "services”, was Heydar Aliyev, the President (1993-2003) and the father of the current President of this republic. In effort to win in the aggression against Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, H. Aliyev actually made a bet on terrorists. He invited/recruited more than three thousand mujahideen from Afghanistan, supporters of the terrorist organization’s leader "Hizb-i-Islami” Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, who at the beginning of 2007 declared to the reporters of Pakistani television, that his fighters rescued Osama bin Laden and his assistant Ayman Al-Zawahiri in 2001 from the US troops. Under H. Aliyev in Azerbaijan, "to the war with infidels” arrived (later became whole world widely known) terrorists and murderers: Khattab, Sh. Basayev, Doku Umarov, Salman Raduyev and others. There were many mercenaries from Arab countries, Turkey, and some CIS countries. At that time, H. Aliyev’s experiment has not answered at all: terrorists accustomed "to fight” with innocent civilians, in open battle were not distinctive. However, they managed to create pseudo-underground religious cells; most of them not only operate to this day in Azerbaijan, but also provide active assistance to their accomplices in Caucasus.
Despite the fact that NKR leadership repeatedly appealed to the international community to draw attention to the terrorist activities of official Baku, and to the fact that Azerbaijan is the state-accomplice of the Islamic terrorism, first began in the late ninetieth of the last century. The cause of it became the tragic events, in August 1998 when were exploded US embassies in Tanzania and Kenya. Then, in the course of the investigation was found that fax message with the order to blow up US embassy in Kenya was sent from Azerbaijan (Terrorist attack against US embassy in Kenya was led from Baku. – Azerbaijani newspaper "Echo”, August 18th 2001.).
In the course of investigation US intelligence officials arrested in Azerbaijan the chief of military operations of the "Islamic Jihad” terrorist organization Ahmed Salam Mabrouk, and after a while two more activists of this group – Hafiz Mabrouk and Yasser al-Sirri. Also was proved that in Azerbaijan dug one of the most murderous Islamic terrorist groups: "Djeyshullah”, included by U.S. State Department in the list of 39 the most dangerous extremist groups of the world.
At the same time FBI arrested for bombings of US embassies, Al Qaeda member Ahmed al Fadl, revealed during the interrogation that his organization started its activity in Azerbaijan. Soon, in Europe was arrested Ibrahim Eydarus, Head of Al Qaeda Azerbaijani branch, who took direct part in bombing of US embassies.
Washington has included Azerbaijan in the list of the states, where Al Qaeda cells operate. To unreliable states on terrorism, where operate international terrorist training centers, Azerbaijan was added by Canada recommended to its consular offices issuing entry visa to Canada pay special attention to the citizens of Azerbaijan Republic, and also "to those who at least once have been there”. In October 2002 State for Foreign & Commonwealth Affairs officially classified Azerbaijan to the list of states; where terrorist organizations are active and threatening the safety and life of foreigners. Official London recommended to its citizens to do not travel to Azerbaijan, since "the threat of terrorist attacks on foreigners is very high there”.
Significant, that the day before terrorist attacks in New York and Washington on September 11th 2001, US Congressional Research Service published special document on Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda activity in Azerbaijan. This document was compiled on the basis of investigation on terror attacks of US embassies in the capitals of Kenya and Tanzania. Also was revealed a fact, that Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden more than 60 times called to Azerbaijan before the terrorist attacks.
Finally, approximately at the same time V. Putin brought Heydar Aliyev to claim the fact that members of Islamic terrorist organizations developing and committing terrorist acts in Russia feel free in Azerbaijan. At that time, there was a question of visa regime introduction between Russia and Azerbaijan.
How does it work?
In early May of this year at the customs post "Yarag-Kazmalar” in Dagestan, Azerbaijani citizen coming by bus from Baku to Russia, had been seized over