Right Sector Alexander Muzychko Founder in 1994 ‘I Will Lead a Jihadist Parade Down Red Square’
Jaish al Muhajireen wal Ansar aka Caucus Emirate aka Daesh aka Islamic Sate in Syria
Jaish al Muhajireen wal Ansar, or the Army of the Emigrants and Helpers or Muhajireen Army, is an al Qaeda and Islamic State-allied jihadist group that is populated by commanders and fighters from the Islamic Caucasus Emirate as well as a large number of Syrians. The group is considered to be the Caucasus Emirate’s branch in Syria. After the death of Islamic Caucasus Emirate leader Doku Umarov, the Muhajireen Army swore allegiance to his replacement, Ali Abu Mukhammad.
The Muhajireen Army was founded by Omar al Shishani, a Chechen leader who joined the Islamic State in the fall of of 2013. Salahuddin al Shishani is the current emir of the Muhajireen Army.
The State Department described the Muhajireen Army as “a Chechen-led terrorist organization based in Syria that consists primarily of foreign fighters.” However, the group is known to have integrated Syrian rebel brigades into its ranks. [See LWJ report, Chechen commander forms ‘Army of Emigrants,’ integrates Syrian groups .]
The tactical prowess of the fighters from the Caucasus, who have battled Russian troops for three decades, is evident on the Syrian battlefield. The Muhajireen Army has been instrumental in helping jihadists achieve key victories against Syrian President Bashar al Assad’s forces. The group has spearheaded operations against important Syrian bases, including the operation to take Minnigh Airport in Aleppo.
The Muhajireen Army has deployed suicide bombers and launched suicide assaults as part of its offensives. Additionally, the group is known to run training camps inside Syria. [See LWJ report, Muhajireen Army releases video of Syrian training camp.]
The Muhajireen Army has attempted to remain neutral in the dispute between the Al Nusrah Front and the Islamic State. But the group has gravitated toward the Al Nusrah Front and its ally, Ahrar al Sham, over the past year.
Designations of Foreign Terrorist Fighters
As part of the effort to counter the threats posed by foreign terrorist fighters, the Department of State has designated ten individuals and two groups as Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGT) under Executive Order (E.O.) 13224, which imposes sanctions and penalties on terrorists and those providing support to terrorists or acts of terrorism. As a result of the designations, all property subject to U.S. jurisdiction in which these individuals or groups have any interest is blocked and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in any transactions with them or to their benefit.
Formed in February 2013, Jaish al-Muhajireen wal-Ansar (JAMWA) is a Chechen-led terrorist organization based in Syria that consists primarily of foreign fighters. Cooperating with other violent extremist organizations in Syria, including al-Nusrah Front and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), JAMWA has launched deadly assaults against civilian communities, and kidnapped civilians and other foreigners in Syria.
With Russia and Ukraine in a tense standoff over the fate of Crimea, jihadis are bashing Russia in their forums and social media accounts. In some cases, they’re even calling on Muslims to travel to Eastern Ukraine to defend their religious brothers.
This week, the hashtag #NafirforUkraine began making the rounds on Twitter. The Islamic Arabic term “Nafir” is a call to action that requires any member of a jihadi group to travel to the country Nafir is called against and participate in a holy war in the name of Allah. Nafir was declared in the early stages of the conflicts in Syria and Egypt, and it helped spark jihadi migrations into these nations.
In this case, there’s no evidence yet of radical Muslim fighters flocking to Crimea to team up with the Muslim minority living there, but the #NafirforUkraine hashtag has been used more than 1,000 times, predominantly in tweets from Saudi Arabia.
In a video that was recently posted on Youtube and on Russian jihadist websites emir of Jaish al-Muhajireen wal-Ansar (JMA), Batallion of foreign fighters in Syria, Salahuddin Shishani, and his naib Abdul-Kerim Krimsky (Crimean) addressed to Muslims.
The video mentions the latest developments in jihad of Northern Caucasian fighters against governmental troops in Syria. The last part of the video is of a particular interest as it calls for jihad in Crimea.
Abdul-Kerim and Shishani urged for jihad in Crimea, meanwhile mentioning that Northern Caucasian jihadists will not go to Crimea, but they “leave the honor” of waging jihad to Tatars in Crimea.
Abdul Karim al-Ukraini (“the Ukrainian”) aka Abdul Karim Krimsky, is the second-in-command of the independent Chechen-led faction Jaish al-Muhajireen wal-Ansar (JMA) and the leader of its Crimean battalion. It should be mentioned that security experts express increasing concerns about the long-term influence of Crimean Tatar jihadists who went for jihad in Syria on the security situation in the Crimean peninsula. According to Crimean sources, in 2013 at least 50 Crimean Muslims joined jihad in Syria and 2 of them were killed. etc etc etc
Quotes from the video, which was posted online last week, were provided by the Washington-based research organization Foundation for Defense of Democracy’s publication the Long War Journal which covers jihadi movements.
“You have to open up lands yourselves and defeat the infidels,” Krymsky said.
“I want to say to those brothers, and I am addressing those brothers who remain [in Crimea], that they should feel dignity, so that they can start on the path of jihad,” he said. “So if they can’t come to the lands of Islam, like Sham [Syria], they can go to Moscow or Poland because the infidels there and here won’t rest until they destroyed your religion.”
The Long War Journal noted that the Muhajireen Army – which has close ties with the Al Nusra Front and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Syria — is comprised of hundreds of fighters from the Caucasus and Russia as well as Syrians, while its deputy commander Krymsky is himself a Crimean Tatar.
The new video does not appear to be the first call for jihad in the Ukrainian theater. In March, BuzzFeed quoted intelligence experts who noted that they had already seen calls for jihad in Crimea posted online but that the calls until then had been “relatively small.”
Also in March, a Ukrainian parliament member held out the threat of reprisals from radical Islamists against Russia, a threat that to now has not been carried out.
Muhajireen Army commander calls for Muslims to wage jihad in the Ukraine
The deputy leader of an al Qaeda-allied jihadist group that is led by commanders from the Caucasus and other former Soviet republics has called for Ukrainian Muslims to wage jihad against the Russia government.
Abdul Karim Krymsky, (the Army of the Emigrants and Helpers, or Muhajireen Army), said that Crimean Tatars and Ukrainian Muslims should “start on the path of jihad.” Krymsky made the statement in a video in which he appeared with Salahuddin Shishani (the Chechen), the emir of the Muhajireen Army.
The video was obtained and partially translated by From Chechnya to Syria, a website that tracks fighters from the Caucasus and Central Asia who are waging jihad in Syria. The video was first published on May 13 by Akhbar Sham, a Russian-language website that promotes the Muhajireen Army.
“You have to open up lands yourselves and defeat the infidels,” Krymsky, a Crimean Tatar, says.
“We see now that Muslims, Tatars, who went to Crimea and Ukraine have reached such a level of humiliation while here [in Syria] Muslims are proud and walk around freely and we simply see the difference in that,” he continues.
Krymsky then says that fighters in the Crimea who cannot emigrate to wage jihad should do so at home. Crimea, a region in Ukraine, was annexed by force by the Russian government this spring.
“I want to say to those brothers, and I am addressing those brothers who remain [in Crimea], that they should feel dignity, so that they can start on the path of jihad,” he says.
Krymsky also says that Muslims in the Ukraine should follow the example of the Islamic Caucasus Emirate, the al Qaeda-linked jihadist group that fights the Russians in the Caucasus.
The Muhajireen Army is an independent jihadist group affiliated with the Islamic Caucasus Emirate and comprised of hundreds of fighters from the Caucasus and Russia, as well as Syrians. The group is closely allied with the Al Nusrah Front, al Qaeda’s official branch in Syria; Ahrar al Sham, an al Qaeda-linked group that is part of the Islamic Front; and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham. Earlier this year, the Muhajireen Army released video of one of its training camps inside Syria.