On the periphery of global jihad. The North Caucasus: the illusion of stabilisation
The situation in the North Caucasus has stabilised, in comparison with previous years, mainly as regards the activity of the Islamic military underground. This is an effect of ideological changes among the militants which have led to a dilution of the Caucasian armed struggle and its marginalisation in global jihad, since top priority has been granted to the Middle Eastern front. The factors which have contributed to this stabilisation are the organisational crisis in the Caucasus Emirate and the outflux of militants to the Middle East, as well the successful ‘carrot and stick’ policy adopted by Moscow. However, the partial stabilisation in the Caucasus is inherently precarious, being a contingent outcome of the situation rather than the result of systemic change. The region’s pressing problems remain unresolved; and these problems are generating chronic instability and cauing the Caucasus to drift away from Russia in civilisational terms. An economic or political crisis in the Russian Federation may result in the conflicts in the Caucasus unfreezing, including a reactivation of the idea of Chechen independence as well as the idea of the Caucasus Emirate, which is a part of global jihad.