January 31, 2013: In the Caucasus the Russians have been so successful in crushing Islamic terror groups in Chechnya most of the survivors just moved next door to Dagestan, where they have become a major source of murder and mayhem in the name of Allah. Last year 60 percent of the terrorist activity in the Russian Caucasus (Dagestan, Chechnya, Ingushetia, Kabardino-Balkaria, Karachaevo-Cherkessia, and Stavropol) took place in Dagestan (which contains about a third of the 9.4 million people in the Caucasus and has twice the population of Chechnya).
The Islamic terrorism in Dagestan is more fractious than it was in Chechnya. That’s mainly because Chechnya had one major ethnic group (Chechens) while Dagestan has dozens of groups and not all of them get along, even for the sake of Islamic unity. In fact, there’s a lot more Moslem opposition to Islamic radicalism in Dagestan than there was in Chechnya.
Last year about 500 terrorist related violence incidents took place in the Caucasus. That’s nearly ten incidents a week in an area of 170,000 square kilometers (65,900 square miles). Some 220 soldiers and police died last year down there, along with 380 terrorists. The Caucasus is hardly the largest source of Islamic terrorist violence in the planet and in fact accounts for only about two percent of the worldwide Islamic terrorism deaths. But for Russia it’s a major internal security problem, mainly because it’s relatively easy for Caucasus based terrorists to travel to other parts of Russia to conduct attacks. Russia has been able to curb nearly all of that in the last few years but has been less successful in eliminating the terrorist bases and recruiting activities in the Caucasus.