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New President of Chechnya Sheikh Abdul-Halim: Who Is He?

Publication time: 13 March 2005, 00:59

After it was announced that new Chechen leader, Sheikh Abdul-Halim has headed the Chechen State, in accordance to the Constitution of Chechen Republic of Ichkeria (CRI), in compliance with the Edict issued by CRI President, and in accordance with the Resolution of CRI State Defence Council, Russian propaganda hurried to announce that a Saudi Arab has allegedly become the head Ichkeria. Even some name with the prefix 'al' was made up, so that this fact would not cause any doubts in anybody.


As one might expect, after alleged Saudi background of Sheikh Abdul-Halim was 'established', a whole bunch of commonplace accusations came up, which were prepared in the desks of KGB headquarters for any scenario that could ever arise.


According to the version of the Kremlin’s scribblers and the office of Shabalkin (Russian spokesman for the war in the Caucasus), Sheikh Abdul-Halim is not just a 'Wahabist' (Russian version of an Islamic extremist), but he is «the Wahabist Number One». Besides, he turned out to be the 'chief extremist' (Basayev is now resting) and the «inspirer of all terrorist acts on the territory of Chechnya and Russia». Turns out that no one but Abdul-Halim was the one who masterminded the kidnapping of Kenneth Gluck. And most likely, he is the one who in the coming reports by the FSB (Russian Federal Security Service, former KGB) and ROHCO (Regional Operative Headquarters in charge of Counterterrorist Operation) will become the main representative of Ben Laden and Al-Qaeda in the North Caucasus.


But who really is Sheikh Abdul-Halim?


Everything is a lot simpler and a lot more prosaic.


Sheikh Abdul-Halim: Abdul-Halim Abu-Salamovich Sadulayev, a Chechen, b.1967. Born and raised in the city of Argun (12 km away from Chechen capital Jokhar). Belongs to Chechen clan of Ustradoi (Ustargardoi is considered as an independent branch of the Belgatoi Clan). Ancestors of Ustradoi Clan are considered to be founders of the city of Argun (Ustradoila, Ustargardoi-Evla).


He was taught by prominent Chechen theologians. Active participant of Islamic revival in Chechnya. He became a teacher by teaching Islam to the youth. Abdul-Halim was studying at the Chechen University, Department of Philology, but he had no time to graduate because the war started. He speaks Chechen, Arabic and Russian fluently.


President Abdul-Halim is a veteran of the first Russian-Chechen war. During the period between the first war and the second war he was delivering Islamic sermons on Chechen TV. He was also heading Islamic Jamaat (Military Council) of the city of Argun. Sheikh Abdul-Halim was also delivering Islamic lectures in various regions of Chechnya. For some time he used to be an imam of the Argun Mosque.


In 1999 on the order of President Maskhadov he was appointed as a member of State Commission of Constitutional Shariah Reform.


When the second Russian-Chechen war started he headed armed units of Argun People’s Militia, which joined CRI Armed Forces.


In 2002 during the broad session of State Defence Council of CRI (the supreme governing body of CRI during the period of war) Abdul-Halim was appointed as Chairman of the Shariah Committee of SDC and the Head of the Shariah Court of CRI.


Since the moment of death of President of CRI Aslan Maskhadov, Abdul-Halim became the legitimate leader of the Chechen State – President of Chechen Republic of Ichkeria, Commander of CRI State Defence Council and Commander-In-Chief of CRI Armed Forces -- in accordance with his position that he held.


And here are some more clarifications. During the broad session of SDC of CRI in July-August 2002 (which lasted 24 days), with the participation of members of SDC, the Parliament, the Government, heads of Administrations and Military Command of CRI Armed Forces, a number of important and crucial decisions were adopted.


-Several amendments and additions were made to the acting Constitution of CRI, while considering the proposals prepared as far back as 1999 by the State Commission of Shariah Reform. (By the way, Ahmad Kadyrov was one of the heads of that commission back then);


-Decision was adopted about the mechanism of legitimate succession of power in accordance with the CRI Constitution in case of death of the head of the Chechen State or in case the head of the state gets captured by the enemy.


-'Bayat' had been taken: the Islamic Oath of loyalty of military and political leaders of all levels (Commanding Officers, Commanders, Ministers, etc.) to the head of the state for as long as the head of the state complies with the Shariah Law and upholds it.


On the order of President Maskhadov, Sheikh Abdul-Halim was decorated with two medals of the Chechen State: the supreme decoration founded by First Chechen President Dzhokhar Dudayev, Koman Sii ('Honour of the Nation') and Medal of Valour 'Koman Turpal' ('Hero of the Nation').


In 2003 the invader’s Spetznaz (Russian special forces) took the wife of Sheikh Abdul-Halim hostage. She was brutally murdered by Russian FSB agents after sadistic tortures when they were trying to find out where her husband was.


According to the information that Kavkaz Center has, Sheikh Abdul-Halim has never left the Chechen soil except for one trip to Mecca on Hajj.


Department of Strategic Information,

Kavkaz Center

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