NARRATIVE SUMMARIES OF REASONS FOR LISTING
QE.R.100.03. RIYADUS-SALIKHIN RECONNAISSANCE AND SABOTAGE BATTALION OF CHECHEN MARTYRS (RSRSBCM)
Date on which the narrative summary became available on the Committee’s website: 7 September 2010
The Riyadus-Salikhin Reconnaissance and Sabotage Battalion of Chechen Martyrs (RSRSBCM) was listed on 4 March 2003 pursuant to paragraphs 1 and 2 of resolution 1390 (2002) as being associated with Al-Qaida, Usama bin Laden or the Taliban for “participating in the financing, planning, facilitating, preparing or perpetrating of acts or activities by, in conjunction with, under the name of, on behalf or in support of” Al-Qaida (QE.A.4.01).
The Riyadus-Salikhin Reconnaissance and Sabotage Battalion of Chechen Martyrs (RSRSBCM) has been led by Shamil Salmanovich Basayev (deceased) and is linked to the Islamic International Brigade (IIB) (QE.I.99.03) and the Special Purpose Islamic Regiment (SPIR) (QE.S.101.03).
On the evening of 23 October 2002, members of RSRSBCM, IIB and SPIR operated jointly to seize over 800 hostages at Moscow’s Podshipnikov Zavod (Dubrovka) Theater. The attackers threatened that unless the Russian Government met their demands they would kill the hostages. They said that they were prepared to kill themselves and the hostages by blowing up the theater. One hundred and twenty-nine hostages died during the rescue mounted by the Government of the Russian Federation.
Basayev, the then leader of both RSRSBCM and IIB, subsequently publicly claimed responsibility for the attack on behalf of RSRSBCM. Basayev’s claim was supported by a videotape broadcast on Al Jazeera during the Dubrovka Theater incident showing one of the perpetrators identifying himself as a member of the “Sabotage and Military Surveillance Group of the Riyadh al-Salikhin Martyrs,” which is an alias for RSRSBCM.
A website affiliated with Chechen separatist groups, the Kavkaz Center, also identified one of the leaders of the hostage-takers in the Dubrovka Theater to be Movsar Barayev, the then-commander of SPIR and also a commander of RSRSBCM (Barayev died in the Dubrovka Theater incident). SPIR, which had been headed by Barayev and his uncle, the late Arbi Barayev, provided leadership and personnel to RSRSBCM for its takeover of the Dubrovka Theater. In fact, the Dubrovka Theater incident was originally attributed solely to SPIR since Barayev was the first publicly identified leader of the operation.
While its existence was unknown prior to the Dubrovka Theater incident, RSRSBCM has drawn its members and leaders from IIB and SPIR. In addition to their participation in the 23 October terrorist attack on the Dubrovka Theater, IIB, SPIR and RSRSBCM have been linked to other terrorist attacks, or have threatened terrorist attacks, against both civilian and government targets.
On 20 November 2002, Basayev, as the leader of RSRSBCM, publicly warned the member states of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), the European Union (EU) and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) that they were now considered targets for future attacks. Basayev wrote that:
“We address you in order not to let you say in the future that we had not warned you about the inevitable outcome…Your stance is a hypocritical one based on a policy of double standards, and it is clearly a pro-Russian stance…All military, industrial, and strategic facilities on the Russian territory, to whoever they belong, are a legitimate military target for us.”
RSRSBCM and Basayev continued to be active after the Dubrovka Theater incident. On 27 December 2002, Chechen suicide bombers penetrated the well‑fortified Chechen Administration complex in downtown Grozny before detonating their explosives. The blast left over 80 people dead and over 150 wounded. Basayev claimed in an interview that not only was he involved in the blast but that he personally pressed the button of the remote control detonation device.
Numerous ties link the leadership of these entities with Al-Qaida (QI.A.4.01), the Taliban and Usama bin Laden (deceased). In October 1999, emissaries of Basayev and Al-Khattab, who was a leader of IIB, traveled to Usama bin Laden’s home base in the Afghan province of Kandahar, where Bin Laden agreed to provide substantial military assistance and financial aid, including by making arrangements to send to Chechnya several hundred fighters to fight against Russian troops and perpetrate acts of terrorism. Later that year, Bin Laden sent substantial amounts of money to Basayev, Barayev and Al-Khattab, which were to be used exclusively for training gunmen, recruiting mercenaries and buying ammunition. Before his death in December 2002, a deputy leader of IIB, Abu Tariq, who was also involved in channeling funds from foreign sources to Chechen extremists, had received several million dollars from international terrorist organizations, including Al-Qaida.
Al-Khattab (while leader of IIB) publicly admitted that he spent the period between 1989 and 1994 in Afghanistan and that he had met Bin Laden. In March 1994, Basayev arrived in Afghanistan and toured fighter training camps in Khost province. He returned to Afghanistan with the first group of Chechen militants in May 1994. Basayev underwent training in Afghanistan and had close connections with Al-Qaida. Several hundred Chechens eventually trained in Al-Qaida camps in Afghanistan. With Al-Qaida’s financial support, Al-Khattab also mobilized fighters from Ingushetia, Ossetia, Georgia and Azerbaijan to fight in Chechnya and Dagestan. By August 1995, substantial numbers of those fighting against Russian troops were “Afghan Arabs” (Arabs who had combat experience in Afghanistan against Soviet troops), according to published reports. The support was often reciprocated. Al-Qaida’s select “055 Brigade,” which fought against the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan, included a number of Chechens, many of whom were believed to be followers of Basayev, Barayev and Al-Khattab. In October 2001, Al-Khattab sent additional fighters to Afghanistan and promised to pay the volunteers’ families a substantial monthly stipend or a large lump-sum payment in the event of their death. In 2002, Al-Qaida was attempting to raise USD 2 million to support Abu al-Walid, who had succeeded Ibn al-Khattab in the leadership of IIB as the new Arab Chechen leader.
Related listed individuals and entities:
Al-Qaida (QE.A.4.01), listed on 6 October 2001
Islamic International Brigade (IIB) (QE.I.99.03), listed on 4 March 2003
Special Purpose Islamic Regiment (SPIR) (QE.S.101.03), listed on 4 March 2003
Emarat Kavkaz (QE.E.131.11) listed on 29 July 2011
Doku Khamatovich Umarov (QI.U.290.11), listed on 10 March 2011