An international coalition continues to inflict strikes on Islamic State (ISIS) positions, but jihadists are still coming to Syria and Iraq. Governments and the media talk about the fight against terrorism, yet the terrorists are moving freely in their countries — and Georgia is no exception.
A few days ago in Tbilisi, gunfire was heard in one of the central squares. According to local media, a resident of the Pankisi Gorge, Zelimkhan Hangoshvili, was wounded. Zelimkhan Hangoshvili, slightly wounded, got himself to the hospital and checked in under another name: Timur Kavtarashvili. He did not show a fake identity card. That indicates that this person has at least two identity cards, with which he can move freely, and not only within the territory of Georgia. Zelimkhan has several different passports, under different names.
How do we know that he was Zelimkhan and now he is Timur? In 2012, an armed group infiltrated Georgia from the North Caucasus. It took several guards hostage. In the negotiations to free the hostages, two Chechens were sent along with representatives of the Antiterrorist Center of Georgia. Both of them were mujahedeen who participated in the jihad in the North Caucasus, and they had good relations with Doku Umarov, Imam of the Caucasus Emirate. I want to remind you that the Caucasus Emirate is listed as a terrorist organization by the State Department of the United States.
One was Ahmed, known as one-armed Ahmad Chatayev, and another was Zelimkhan Hangoshvili. This was stated many times on TV in Georgia. And the inhabitants of the Pankisi Gorge also said that the man was named Zelimkhan.
How can we be sure he was the second person? How many mujahedeen with multiple IDs move within the territory of Georgia? The fact is, if there is one, may be others. Ahmad Chatayev was arrested in 2012 in Georgia, but then let him go, and he was granted political asylum in Austria. Then he joined the Islamic State. Zelimkhan/Timur remained in Georgia to continue to wage jihad there.
And how can you stop this if there are people working in law enforcement who are associated with the jihadists?
One of the leaders of ISIS was born in the Pankisi Gorge: Umar al Shishani (Tarhan Batirashvili). The chief of the antiterrorist center in this region of Georgia is a close friend of the Prime Minister of Georgia. This antiterrorism center chief is related to Zelimkhan Hangoshvili. They are kinsmen. Zelimkhan, who took part in the Jihad in the Caucasus and in Syria, is a friend of Ahmad Chatayev, who is one of the emirs of the Islamic State.
This is just one example of a much larger problem. I do not know how this is legal for them to do in other countries, but the Iranian Embassy in Georgia has even begun to fund non-governmental organizations. It allocates money for the study of Islamic extremism and terrorism, and this is no joke. The Iranians want to manipulate public opinion and make people believe that Iran is a guarantor of peace and security in the Middle East, and that Iran’s nuclear program is created for peaceful purposes. They want people to think that the terrorists of Hizballah and the Revolutionary Guards are in the Middle East on a peace mission.
A country that wants to build nuclear weapons and is funding and training terrorists becomes a partner in the fight against terrorism, which she creates, promotes and advocates. And at this point one cannot forget about the other leader of Muslims, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Did the State Department did not ask itself why the Turks are promoting the penetration of jihadists in Syria and Iraq? Did they ask why the Turks are allowing jihadists to pass through Turkey to Syria and Iraq? Is it because Erdogan wants stability in the region? Or is it because he sees these territories as belonging to the Ottoman Empire and is using the mujahedeen to destabilize them for his own purposes?
Erdogan wants to change the constitution and make Turkey a presidential state. In his last speech before Turkey’s recent presidential election, he said that the campaign against him was being financed by “Jewish capital.” He also accused the Western media of interfering in the internal affairs of Turkey.
Should we choose the lesser of two evils? So explain which is the lesser evil: Iran with nuclear weapons; the Islamic State, which is killing innocent people and oppressing “infidels”; Assad with his arsenal of chemical weapons; Hamas, which fires rockets into peaceful cities; or Hizballah, which has suicide bombers who are ready to kill even women and children to achieve their goal.
Meanwhile, Israel was attacked again by ISIS rockets, while the world community is obsessed with the boycott of the Jewish state — as if this will solve all the problems in the Middle East. The French company Orange wants to join the boycott of the Jewish state of Israel. At a press conference on June 3, the head of the French mobile phone company Orange said that its contract with an Israeli partner would be terminated “tomorrow” if it was not threatened by economic sanctions.
Then I remembered the words of a man who has received a grant from the Iranian embassy. When I asked how he could take the Iranian money, he said: “What do you think, Iranian money smells bad? No,” he said, “it smells very sweet.” Yes, probably for some, bloody Islamic money smells and tastes very sweet.
I worked hard in Georgia to organize a theatrical performance about the Israeli hostage rescue operations, “Entebbe” or “Operation Yonatan,” from the book by Iddo Netanyahu. I met with the Mayor of Tbilisi, who supported the project. The Prime Minister of Georgia was informed. But at the last minute, everything changed. Georgian officials canceled the project. Maybe this was due to the intensive efforts of the Iranian Embassy in Georgia, or of Georgian jihadists in Syria and Iraq. Maybe it had to do with the arrival in Georgia of the leftists lobbying group J-Street, or with a visit to Georgia of the Saudi Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, who was awarded honorary Georgian citizenship.
It may also have to do with the same root cause that enables mujahedeen from Georgia to move freely in the Middle East and Europe: sweet Islamic money.
Some good news, on the other hand, recently came from the Pankisi Gorge. In the village of Dzhokolo, after articles were repeatedly published on Jihad Watch, authorities finally undertook a special operation to detain Muslims close to Tarhan Batirashvili (Umar Al-Shishani). Georgian special forces detained Ayub Borchashvili, who is a relative of Umar Al Shishani. Also detained was a cousin of Umar al-Shishani, Merab Tsatsiashvili, and his close friend Jokola Achishvili. According to investigators, they admitted that they did smuggle mujahedeen through Georgia to Turkey, and from there to Syria and Iraq.