Turkish newspaper Radikal, which tracks events unfolding in Syria, published an article about the situation in the Caucasus in relation to constant echoing from Moscow about its fears that the so-called Arab Spring may spread to the Caucasus.
The newspaper writes that the general belief is that Russia strongly opposes foreign intervention and regime change in Syria, because the Russians fear that a similar scenario could be carried out in Northern Caucasus.
According to Radikal, this is basically true; however, the conflict in the Caucasus is tied historical issues and does not depend on the Arab or any other "spring".
In the view of the newspaper, the history of the Caucasus can be divided into three "segments": occupation of the Caucasus by Russian Empire (in 1864), emergence of autonomous entities within the framework of the USSR and recent contention about independence (the 1990's).
The latest war in Chechnya left behind a brutal trace in the region - the Caucasus Emirate. The goal of this movement is separation (from Russia) of the Caucasus by creation of a Sharia state, contends the Turkish newspaper.
According to Radikal, "two shocking events, which took place in the last two weeks, are of particular importance when considered in the context of the ongoing cycle of violence that may spread throughout the whole region."
The paper mentions the assassination of Sufi Sheikh Said Afandi al-Chirkawi (Atsayev). He was blown up by an ethnic Russian Muslim woman, Alla Saprykina (Aminat Kurbanova). The newspaper specifically points out that "she was a Russian woman, a former actress and dancer, who converted to Islam".
According to Radikal, the cause of the conflict in the Caucasus is (hostility) between Sufism and Salafism, and Sufis "say it is possible that their involvement in combating Salafism and Wahhabism is fueling the resistance in Russia today".
"Sufism is currently approved by Putin. Said al-Chirkawi was an influential Sufi", the newspaper writes and notes that he had many followers in Russia's security forces (FSB, MIA, etc.). Al-Chirkawi was a Putin's ally, and naturally his death was a major loss for the Kremlin".
The Putin's ally was blown up shortly after the creation of a commission to address ideological confrontation between Salafis and Sufis.
There is a growing tendency in the region to view every Salafi as a potential terrorist who may be recruited into resistance. In such volatile atmosphere, the president of Dagestan Magomedsalam Magomedov signed a decree authorizing formation of local self-defense committees", the newspaper says.
Radikal cites Russian newspaper Kommersant which the FSB uses to spread information to influence liberal-minded segments of Russian society. The FSB paper says that 100,000 followers of al-Chirkawi are allegedly "ready for revenge with rifles in hand".
Kommersant writes that "Putin has not yet even commented on "people's militias" and reminded that in 1999 "people's bands" were formed to fight against the forces of Shamil Basayev and Emir Khattab."
It is to be recalled that Said al-Chirkawi was a chief ideologist in promoting the "extermination of Wahhabis" in 1999. Along with both Kadyrovs (father and son), he explained that it was a godly duty to kill Wahhabis and help Russian infidels.
Department of Monitoring