Caucasus Emirate: Emerging Force or Jihadist Fantasy?   [open pdf - 585KB]

From the thesis abstract: "The ongoing conflict in Russia's North Caucasus region continues to pose a threat to the stability of not only Russia, but to areas well beyond its borders. What began as an independence movement for one small ethnic group from the Russian Federation has evolved into a front in the global jihadist movement. As the movement for Chechen independence faltered, insurgents increasingly relied on Islamic ideologies to expand the conflict and attract support and funding from the greater Islamic community. The current insurgent leader declared the creation of the Caucasus Emirate in 2007, which corresponds to Russia's North Caucasus region and purports to represent Russia's Muslim community. After nearly two decades of war, Russia has been unable to fully return stability to the area and the insurgents continue to attack Russian security forces in the region, as well as engage in horrific terror attacks in the heart of the Russian Federation. This Strategy Research Project examines the most likely outcome of this conflict based on key factors identified in contemporary theories explaining weak actor victories in asymmetric conflicts."

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