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Aslambek Vadalov
2nd Emir of the Caucasus Emirate

In office
August 1, 2010 – August 3–13, 2010 (disputed)
Preceded by Doku Umarov
Succeeded by Doku Umarov
Personal details
Born April 3, 1971(1971-04-03) (age 50)[1]
Ishkoy-Yurt, Gudermessky District[1] Chechen–Ingush Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union[2]
Religion Sunni Islam
Military service
Allegiance Arab Mujahideen in Chechnya[2]
Caucasus Emirate[3]
Commands Commander of the Gudermes Region
Deputy Commander of the Eastern Front[citation needed]
Battles/wars First Chechen War
Second Chechen War
North Caucasus Insurgency[citation needed]

Aslambek Ilimsultanovich Vadalov (Russian: Асламбек Илимсултанович Вадалов) (born April 3, 1971), also known by his nom de guerre Emir Aslambek, is a Chechen rebel leader fighting in the North Caucasus.[4] He was appointed the supreme leader of the Caucasus Emirate on 1 August 2010, though this was later retracted.[3]

Biography[edit | edit source]

Aslambek Vadalov was born in 1972 and is a native of Ishkoy-Yurt, a village in the eastern portion of Chechnya's Gudermessky District. Vadalov also seems to have spent much of his youth in the Gudermes region, though some reports have suggested that he studied for a short period of time in Moscow in the late 1980s, perhaps at a technical institute.

Chechen War and rebel army[edit | edit source]

Following the outbreak of the First Chechen War in 1994, Vadalov joined the separatist fighters from Gudermes; he may have served in the unit of Sheik Fathi, a Chechen who had lived in Jordan and engaged in Islamist conflicts in Afghanistan and Tajikistan. It has been postulated that if Vadalov did indeed serve alongside Fathi, it would indicate a very early exposure to the Islamist interpretation of the war in Chechnya.

Though Vadalov played no role in the 1999 Dagestan incursion led by Shamil Basayev and Ibn al-Khattab, following Russia's re-invasion of Chechnya that autumn he joined Khattab's Arab Mujahideen in Chechnya. After engaging in the battles for Argun and Gudermes, Vadalov's unit withdrew to the mountainous districts of Vedeno and Nozhay-Yurt in order to launch guerrilla attacks on Russian security forces.

In 2000, Vadalov returned to Ishkoy-Yurt for unknown reasons and joined a small, local guerrilla force; the unit operated both independently and in cooperation with other rebel formations, including taking part in the 17 September 2001 attack on Gudermes. The next few years saw the separatist movement incur significant losses, but Vadalov was able to distinguish himself mainly due to his survival skills. As such, he was named Deputy Commander of the Gudermes Region of the Chechen Armed Forces under Emir Askhab. Although this unit that he commanded lacked manpower, his team and him were able to launch numerous small but significant attacks against the Russian security forces, especially around Ishkoy-Yurt.

Following Emir Askhab's death[Clarification needed]

in early 2005, Vadalov was named Commander of the Gudermes region. However, while a capable small-unit commander, Vadalov struggled when in control of a larger fighting force that required a broader strategic perspective. His unit was eventually driven out of Gudermes proper and forced back into the highlands of Vedeno and Nozhay-Yurt. Despite these setbacks, he still maintained a reputation for "commitment to the cause and hard-fought guerrilla operations."[by whom?][2] He has been fighting with the Causasian Emirate rebels against Russian forces since 1994 and was apparently one of the first to swear allegiance to Doku Umarov in 2007.

His relationship with Amir Khattab is of significance. Previously he was the commander of the Eastern Front of the Armed Forces of the Caucasus Emirate, although in practice he was commanding a force of perhaps about 30-50 militants on the Ingushetian border.[5]

Ideology[edit | edit source]

Akhmed Zakayev said Vadalov had been announced as the new Emir of the Caucasus Emirate because of a "loss of confidence among his (Umarov's) subordinates. [The] Methods of Dokku Umarov, including attacks against civilians, were not supported by militants." He also said that Vadalov "is a supporter of other views and is not affected by ideologists of Wahhabism." The Russian paper Kommersant had reported that Zakayev, sentenced to death by the Sharia Court of the Caucasus Emirate, had plans to establish contacts with Vadalov.[6][7]

Controversial appointment as "Emir of the Caucasus Emirate"[edit | edit source]

On 1 August 2010 the "state web site" of the Caucasus Emirate, Kavkaz Center reported that Doku Umarov had stepped down from his position as Emir of the Caucasus Emirate and appointed Vadalov to became his successor.[8][9][10] On the video containing the anoncement Umarov states that "jihad should be led by younger and more energetic commanders."[9][10] However, when the Kavkaz Center site was restored on-line after a "service break" on 3 August 2010,[11] the original announcement had been replaced by one which stated, that Umarov only "proposed to appoint" Vadalov his successor.[12] A few days later Umarov said he had no intention of stepping down and called the video announcing his resignation a fabrication.[11][13][14]

On August 13, 2010 Kavkaz Center announced that Aslambek Vadalov had resigned from his post of Deputy Military Emir of the Caucasus Emirate.[15]

Rift with Umarov[edit | edit source]

Days after Umarov rescinded his resignation, Vadalov was said to have renounced adherence of an oath given to Umarov; however it was said that while he ceases subordination to Umarov, he would remain loyal to the larger Caucasus Emirate.[16]

In July 2011, a sharia court ruled in favour of Umarov[17] to close the rift caused by Umarov's reorganisation of the "armed forces" of Chechnya, the disbanding the so-called "eastern and south-western fronts" and dividing Chechnya into "military sectors." The court asked the rebels to re-swear allegiance to Umarov. Amir Khamzat, the commander of the Riyad-us Saliheen Brigade of Martyrs or the organisation's suicide battalion who has been named the commander of the western sector. Hussein Gakayev, who had been named to lead the eastern sector, Aslambek Vadalov and Tarkhan Gaziev consequently followed suit and re-affirmed their allegiance to Umarov.[18]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 ""Palace Coup" Reveals Split between Umarov and Rebel Commander Aslanbek Vadalov". Eurasia Daily Monitor Volume: 7 Issue: 152. 6 August 2010. http://www.webcitation.org/5zfT6IKB3. Retrieved 23 June 2011. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "Who is Aslambek Vadalov?". In Moscow's Shadows. 2 August 2010. http://www.webcitation.org/60WHZshNg. Retrieved 28 July 2011. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Some Chechen Commanders Reaffirm Loyalty To Umarov". Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty: Caucasus Report. 26 July 2011. http://www.webcitation.org/60UXiFawt. Retrieved 27 July 2011. 
  4. Mairbek Vatchagaev (August 6, 2010). ""Palace Coup" Reveals Split between Umarov and Rebel Commander Aslanbek Vadalov". http://www.jamestown.org/programs/edm/single/?tx_ttnews%5Btt_news%5D=36725&cHash=8eed570ae3. 
  5. globaljihad.net/view_news.asp?id=1589
  6. Zakayev says Aslambek Vadalov is not a 'Wahhabi' and he plans to establish contacts with him - Kavkazcenter.com
  7. "Ахмед Закаев связал уход Умарова с потерей доверия боевиков". lenta.ru. August 3, 2010. http://lenta.ru/news/2010/08/03/anew/. 
  8. "Chechen rebel leader 'steps down'". Aljazeera.net. August 2, 2010. http://english.aljazeera.net/news/europe/2010/08/201081225749844675.html. Retrieved 7 August 2010. 
  9. 9.0 9.1 "CE’s Emir Dokku Abu Usman resigned and appointed Aslambek Vadalov Emir of the Caucasus Emirate". Kavkaz Center. August 1, 2010. Archived from the original on August 1, 2010. http://riddickro.wordpress.com/2010/08/01/4271/. 
  10. 10.0 10.1 "Aslambek Vadalov - Emir of the Caucasus Emirate". YouTube: Kavkaz Center. August 1, 2010. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sj59l_a2dbc. Retrieved 3 August 2010. 
  11. 11.0 11.1 Bill Roggio (August 4, 2010). "Caucasus Emirate leader Doku Umarov retracts resignation". The Long War Journal. http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2010/08/caucasus_emirate_lea.php. 
  12. "CE Emir Dokku Abu Usman announced a successor and proposed to appoint Aslambek Vadalov as Emir of the Caucasus Emirate". Kavkaz Center. August 2, 2010. http://www.kavkazcenter.com/eng/content/2010/08/01/12339.shtml. Retrieved August 3, 2010. 
  13. "Chechen rebel chief denies quitting". Aljazeera.net. August 4, 2010. http://english.aljazeera.net/news/europe/2010/08/201084123832188820.html. Retrieved 7 August 2010. 
  14. "Emir of the Caucasus Emirate Dokku Abu Usman cancels his resignation, calling it fabricated, and makes special statement on this occasion (video)". Kavkaz Center. August 4, 2010. http://www.kavkazcenter.com/eng/content/2010/08/04/12346.shtml. Retrieved August 4, 2010. 
  15. "Aslambek Vadalov resigns as deputy Emir of Caucasus Emirate". Kavkaz Center. August 13, 2010. http://www.kavkazcenter.com/eng/content/2010/08/13/12382.shtml. Retrieved August 14, 2010. 
  16. Aslambek Vadalov resigns as deputy Emir of Caucasus Emirate - Kavkazcenter.com
  17. http://www.kavkazcenter.com/eng/content/2011/07/25/14812.shtml
  18. http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2011/07/caucasus_emirate_cla_1.php#ixzz1TKEnDQLI

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