Following the death of Amir Ibn al-Khattab last spring, there was speculation as to whether the foreign Islamist mujahidin would continue to play a large role in the Chechen struggle for independence from Russia. Khattab appears to have been replaced by a 35 year old Saudi, Abu al-Walid. Unlike the often flamboyant Khattab, al-Walid’ has a more reclusive style. Ample speculation surrounds him, incuding whether he exists at all. Al-Walid is an experienced and worthy successor to Khattab in the field. What remains to be seen is whether al-Walid can preserve the supply networks of volunteers and money under enormous international pressure is being applied to terminate these conduits.
Andrew McGregor works with Aberfoyle International Security Analysis, Toronto.
© 2003 The Central Asia-Caucasus Analyst.
Posted on Religioscope with permission.
This article was first published in the Central Asia-Caucasus Analyst, a journal published by the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute (CACI). The Institute is an independent research and policy institution, affiliated to the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at The Johns Hopkins University. It was inaugurated in 1996 as the first institute in Washington, DC, devoted to the study and analysis of the Central Asian, the Caspian Basin and the Caucasus.