ISIS has been raising presence in the Caucasus. On June 23, 2015 ISIS announced the creation of a new governorate, called Wilayat Qawqaz in the Russias North Caucasus, after several senior militants in the area pledged allegiance to ISIS. ISIS has been setting conditions to establish this governorate in support of its regional expansion campaign since at least January 2015. Declaration of Wilayat Qawqaz followed the circulation of a Russian-language audio statement on Twitter on June 21, in which supporters of ISIS in the regions of Dagestan, Chechnya, Ingushetia, and Kabarda, Balkaria and Karachay pledged allegiance to ISISs leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. These areas represent four of the six subdivisions that constitute the al-Qaeda-affiliated Islamic Emirate of the Caucasus terrorist network. Militants in these four most frequently conducted domestic attacks in support of the IECs stated goals of establishing a Caucasus emirate under sharia law and waging global jihad. The two IEC subdivisions where supporters have not formally pledged to ISIS are Cherkessia and Nogay steppe.
Rising of IS presence in the Russian Caucasus clashes with weakening of the IEC. Russian security forces killed the IECs leader, Aliaskhab Kebekov, in April 2015. The failures of IEC give ISIS new opportunities to gain the control on IEC vestiges in the region. Probably, in the near feature, the majority of the IECs active force will be loyal to ISIS. The Russian leadership fully comprehends the threat, and is seeking to carry out pre-emptive strikes against ISIS fighters. The government has already accelerated its domestic security efforts in the region following a gun battle that Islamic militants initiated against government forces in the Chechen capital of Grozny in December 2014. IEC had been a serious threat to Russian security for several years before the major crackdown on it was launched in 2011. Since the start of the campaign, which remains ongoing, attacks inside Russia have declined by 30%. On account of massive surge of counter-terror operations many terrorists either being killed. Also, the developments in the Caucasus can push Russia to increase its involvement in Syria and Iraq anti-IS frontlines, where it has recently equipped the Iraqi Security Forces with new supplies of Russian anti-tank rockets.
ISISs creation of Wilayat Qawqaz may be a publicity effort meant to boost morale rather than a statement of intent to initiate military operations. However, ISIS has repeatedly voiced its interest in the Caucasus over the past year. The organization maintains a large base of Chechen fighters within Iraq and Syria, and frequently releases Russian-language propaganda encouraging individuals to pledge allegiance to ISIS. At all counts, both the pledge of allegiance and the declaration of Wilayat Qawqaz will enable IS to assert its continued expansion and vitality at the expense of al-Qaeda, the Russian state, and the international anti-ISIS coalition. The purposes of Islamic State and its sponsors are to establish instability zone in Eurasia and involve Russia into the growing conflict in the Middle East. In this case the main directions of attack will be Central Asia from Afghanistan and Caucasus from Iraq. The aims are to take control of productive oilfields in the South Caspian region, destabilize Iran and reach the Caucasus Mountains. Islamic State groups in the Caucasus will be used to contain Russian forces while ISIS will advance toward North through Caucasus and Caspian Sea regions.