ANALYSIS: Radical Islam from the N.Caucasus in C.Asia

>>Central Asia, a short hop over the Caspian Sea, is potentially vulnerable to radical Islamic ideas emanating out of the North Caucasus

ALMATY: The Tsarnaev brothers, blamed for bombing the Boston marathon earlier this month, were ethnic Chechens, brought up in Kyrgyzstan who apparently learnt about radical Islam in Dagestan.

This link, between radical Islamic ideas in Russia’s North Caucasus and Central Asia, can’t be ignored. Domestic security in Central Asia and NATO’s main route for withdrawing its
equipment from Afghanistan are potentially vulnerable.

But, although bomb attacks blamed on radical Islamists, increased in 2010 and 2011 in Kazakhstan, several Almaty-based analysts said the impact of radical Islamic ideology from the
North Caucasus on Central Asia should not be overstated.

Zhulduz Baizakov, a Kazakhstan-based analyst, said: “Today there is no direct connection reported between the insurgency in North Caucasus and terrorist acts taking place in Kazakhstan. The ideology, methods and purposes are different.”

Instead, analysts said that the radicalising influence from the Arabian peninsula and Afghanistan was more important than from the North Caucasus.

But the North Caucasus’ brand of radical Islam is accessible. It’s also worrying the Kazakh security forces. They are concerned with both the trickle of young Kazakh men fighting with rebels in Dagestan and the emergence of Islamic literature from the North Caucasus in Kazakhstan.


This article was first published in The Conway Bulletin, issue 133. The Conway Bulletin is a weekly independent newssheet covering Central Asia and the South Caucasus. To subscribe click here

« Back to newsdesk