posted on Mar, 10 2005 @ 02:13 PM
Following the death of Chechen Rebel leader Aslan Maskhadov, another extremist and Islamic fundamentalist Abdul-Khalim Sadulayev has emerged as the
successor and new leader of the rebel group. Sadulayev is backed by supporters of both Mashadov and Shamil Basayev and was allegedly handpicked by
Mashadov to follow his footsteps. Sadulayev is a relatively unknown in the area with the exception of rebel groups and many feel the real leader who
will be calling shots is Shamil Basayev. Sadulayev is a judge in the Chechen Shariat Committee and Wahhabi follower.
On Thursday, Basayev urged his people to rally behind Sadulayev in a message on a separatist Web site.
But Sadulayev is relatively unknown outside rebel circles, leading to speculation that he would be a figurehead while real power is wielded by
Basayev. The warlord, an adherent of fundamentalist Wahhabi Islam, is the self-declared organizer of a series of terrorist attacks - including last
year's seizure of a school in southern Russia in which 330 people died.
Sadulayev's apparent ascension stems from an 2002 agreement between Maskhadov and other rebel leaders, which emerged publicly Thursday. "As he was
chosen by Maskhadov out of so many people, I think he will represent the Chechen republic with dignity," said Umar Khambiyev, a top rebel spokesman.
In the complex web of Chechen politics, there was significance in Sadulayev's credential as a judge of the Chechen rebels' Shariat committee - an
extension of the Islamic court established under Maskhadov when he was Chechnya's elected president in the 1990s, and a link with the Chechen state
that he had sought to build.
Regardless of which man holds sway, the week's events dealt a blow to what little hopes there were of easing the Russian-Chechen conflict anytime
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Getting rid of Maskadov seems to have only opened the door for more tension and terrorism between the Chechen rebels and Russia. The real problem is
most like Shamil Basayev, but as this situation shows, getting rid of one rebel leader only opens the door for another to enter and as in this case,
the replacement may be of more extremist ideology than his predeccesor.
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[edit on 3-10-2005 by worldwatcher]