News is coming out that Abdul Aziz al-Ghamdi (also know as Abul Walid), the Saudi leader of the International Islamic Peacekeeping Brigade in Chechnya has been killed. He was thought to be behind many of the recent suicide bombings in Russia. The news of his ‘martyrdom’ came direct from his brother. Although the story isn’t confirmed as yet, it appears pretty likely that to be accurate.
The pro-Moscow Chechen president, Akhmad Kadyrov, last night stopped short of confirming the death, saying it was a strong possibility. But he said Mr Walid could have spread false reports to escape a Russian onslaught.
“There is a real possibility that Abu al-Walid … has been killed, but the conclusions should be made by doctors and investigators,” he told Interfax. “Those who put up armed resistance were liquidated. Among them are rebels who appear to be of Arab origin.”
If it is true, this means that a vital link between Chechnyan rebels and their outside funding has been cut. This will make it that much harder for them to finance major operations and also harder for them to import expertise and equipment from abroad.
Don’t expect to see an end to the conflict in Chechnya any time soon, though. The Saudi’s aren’t the only ones operating in Chechnya and, don’t forget, the Chechens are pretty well organised themselves, with a fairly strong base of domestic support.
Hat tip: Rantburg (where there is a good roundup of stories), Winds of Change