Far-off conflict reaches Dubai in Chechen slaying

For years, the glitzy Persian Gulf emirate has been a pleasant, low-risk hideaway for disgraced politicians and deposed foreign leaders.

Pakistani politician Benazir Bhutto spent part of her eight-year exile here before she returned home and was assassinated in 2007. Thailand's deposed prime minister was in Dubai just two weeks ago, AP reported.

But the recent brazen killing of Chechen figure Sulim Yamadayev shattered the image of this self-declared apolitical oasis in the highly politicized region as immune from score-settling and vengeance connected to faraway conflicts.

Yamadayev was a former rebel in Chechnya's long conflict with Russia who switched sides but then fell out with the territory's pro-Moscow leader. He was shot dead on March 28 in broad daylight, in an underground parking lot of a residential complex along the city's busy Gulf shoreline.

The killing - linked by Dubai to a close ally of Chechnya's Moscow-backed president, who denies any tie - has put the Persian Gulf city-state on the edge and authorities may now think twice about letting it continue to be a sanctuary for people with a long history of political activity.

"It's the first politically motivated killing here," said Mustafa Alani, a security analyst at the Dubai-based Gulf Research Center. "This incident could prompt authorities to run more detailed background checks of those who want to live here or even come visit."

Dubai's hands-off attitude and its cosmopolitan makeup - expatriates from all over the world by far outnumber the native population - have long made it a favored refuge. The emirate's deal with out-of-favor foreign politicians has always been straightforward: they are allowed to live here as long as they don't bring their politics with them.

Pakistani politicians regularly meet in Dubai's luxury hotels and top officials keep homes here, including Pakistan's current president and Bhutto's widower, Asif Ali Zardari.

"They come here because they feel it's safe and they will not be hunted down or harassed by anybody," said Theodore Karasik, a senior analyst with Dubai-based Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis. "Dubai is considered neutral territory, like the Switzerland of the Middle East."

Yamadayev had been living in Dubai with his wife and six children for four months before his death, but he was in the emirate on a Russian passport issued in the name of Sulaiman Madov, the authorities said.

The police chief admitted officials had not been aware a bitter opponent to the Kremlin-backed Chechen president was living here until he was shot dead.

"We don't care about Chechnya here and their problems there," Lt. Gen. Dahi Khalfan Tamim said Sunday. "I don't know why they came here to fight and settle scores."

In a way, Dubai was just an innocent bystander in an assassination that says more about Chechnya than the city-state. Several other Chechen renegades have been assassinated inside and outside Russia, and many observers link the killings to Kadyrov, who is accused of torture and killings by rights groups.

"It was not meant to wreak panic in Dubai," Karasik, the analyst, said of Yamadayev's murder. "It was just an opportune moment to get rid of a target, who was in Dubai simply to be away from Chechnya or Moscow."

By world standards, Dubai is a safe city. Violent crime and criminally motivated killings do occur. Local media selectively report incidents, but the authorities do not reveal the city's annual murder rate.

Indeed, Yamadayev's slaying took place at the same luxury residential complex in the Dubai Marina, where another high-profile killing took place in July - that of Lebanese pop star Suzanne Tamim.

The 30-year-old singer's throat was slashed in her apartment in a lurid crime story that, while not directly political, had a political impact.

Police found evidence linking the slaying to a real estate mogul in Egypt, Hisham Talaat Moustafa, who is close to the powerful son of President Hosni Mubarak. He is now on trial in Cairo for allegedly paying a former security guard $2 million to kill Tamim, who reportedly fled to Dubai to escape Moustafa after breaking off an affair.

Iran’s NICICO enhances its sales value
Iran’s NICICO enhances its sales value
Iran boosts pickup manufacturing
Iran boosts pickup manufacturing
Liberation of Azerbaijani lands from occupation - gratifying – Iranian General
Liberation of Azerbaijani lands from occupation - gratifying – Iranian General
Loading Bars
Latest
Israel to start COVID-19 vaccine human trials on Nov. 1
Kuwait retail co-ops remove French products over Prophet cartoon
We will drive enemy away to very end, will restore our territorial integrity! - President of Azerbaijan
I want to assure people of Azerbaijan today that we will not turn back from right path - President of Azerbaijan
Our military operations must be conducted without wasting time - President Ilham Aliyev
No-one can stand in front of Azerbaijan, says President Ilham Aliyev
We are fighting alone, on our own - President Ilham Aliyev
Countries that patronize Armenia should put pressure on Armenia - President of Azerbaijan
I want our servicemen and citizens to know that there is very serious struggle – both on frontline and in political arena - President Aliyev
All mediators are concerned about now is how to get Armenia out of this situation, says President Aliyev
We have seen again that Armenia does not intend to leave our lands of its own accord - President Aliyev
Armenian state responsible for these crimes and will be held accountable for them, says Azerbaijani president
Today, Azerbaijani soldiers and officers are teaching enemy lesson on battlefield - President Aliyev
Parts of Fuzuli, Hadrut, Jabrayil, Zangilan, Kalbajar and Gubadli districts liberated from occupiers - President Aliyev
OSCE MG Co-Chairs, FMs of Azerbaijan and Armenia agree to discuss steps necessary to achieve a peaceful settlement of Karabakh conflict
Ankara extends Oruç Reis' exploration work in East Med until Nov. 4
Gubadli city freed from occupation - President Ilham Aliyev
Bulgarian PM Borissov tests positive for coronavirus
Armenian troops' military equipment, ammunition destroyed (VİDEO) (VİDEO)
Operational meeting was held under leadership of President, Commander-in-Chief Ilham Aliyev at Central Command Post of Ministry of Defense (PHOTO)
Ethnic Russian soldier dies in battle to liberate Azerbaijani lands from Armenian occupation
Commanders of Armenian armed forces hold meetings at kindergarden (PHOTO)
Azerbaijani army destroying Armenian armed forces on ground and in air - Anar Eyvazov
Azerbaijani army neutralizes high-ranking Armenian soldier
Armenian armed forces forced to retreat, suffering losses (VIDEO)
Footage from Azerbaijani Jabrayil and Zangilan regions liberated from occupation unveiled (VIDEO)
Armenian terrorist killed in Nagorno-Karabakh
Iran’s NICICO enhances its sales value
Weapon emplacements of Armenian Armed Forces destroyed, says Defense Ministry of Azerbaijan (VIDEO)
Tesla recalls 48,442 vehicles in China
Azerbaijani NGOs apply to relevant int'l structures regarding Armenia's involvement of children in military operations
Islamabad condemns killing of Azerbaijani civilians by Armenian Armed Forces (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Armenia admits loss of 11 more servicemen
Israeli cabinet approves Bahrain normalization accord
Iran boosts pickup manufacturing
Azerbaijan confirms 228 more COVID-19 recoveries
Liberation of Azerbaijani lands from occupation - gratifying – Iranian General
Canadian Azerbaijanis protest against Armenian attacks on Ganja (PHOTOS)
US too knows Armenia is terrorist state, MP
Military uniform price in Armenia increase
Russia’s coronavirus case tally exceeds 1.5 mln
Azerbaijani army destroying military equipment, in background of which Pashinyan took selfie (PHOTO)
554 streets disinfected in Baku (PHOTOS)
Footage about Armenia's missile attack on Ganja prepared (VIDEO)
Funeral service for 13-year-old Arthur, who died due to Armenian terror, being held in church in Ganja (PHOTOS)
Iran assigns lands to develop Pardis Technology Park
Will Iran export water?
Iran to increase in detergents and sanitizers price
Iran reveals its COVID-19 data for October 25
US Azerbaijanis hold protest in San Francisco against Armenian terror (PHOTOS)
Azerbaijani army heroically fighting for liberation of native lands from Armenian occupation (VIDEO)
Names of foreign mercenaries fighting in Karabakh within Armenian army revealed
Armenia must be held accountable for using children in battles, Azerbaijani expert
Azerbaijan announces recent statistics on COVID-19 cases across country
Armenian doctor who issued fake COVID-19 certificates to evade conscription arrested
Iran’s CBI announces volume of funds allocated for imports of essential products
Assistant to Azerbaijani president gives interview to leading Egyptian newspaper Al Ahram
Footage from Azerbaijani Gubadli region liberated from occupation unveiled (VIDEO)
Armenian military attacks against Azerbaijan along bordering regions - acts of aggression as enshrined in UN Charter, says Azerbaijani top official
Armenian Armed Forces shelling Azerbaijani Aghdam, Tartar and Agjabedi regions - MoD
Azerbaijani president's aide comments on French delegation's visit to Armenia
Volume of loans attracted for purchase of agricultural machinery in Iran revealed
Azerbaijan Army uses precision weapons against Armenian Armed Forces (VIDEO)
Iranian gov't to impose strict limitations to fight COVID-19
Production of home appliances in Iran increases
Export of agricultural products from Iran's Kurdistan region increases
Georgia reports 1 928 new coronavirus cases, 604 recoveries
President Ilham Aliyev gave interview to US Fox News TV channel (PHOTO)
Iran strongly condemns disrespect for Prophet of Islam in France
Iran unveils amount of loans issued to services sector
Bahar Azadi gold coin price falling in Iran
Statement made following investigation of Armenia's shelling of civilians in Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan close to military victory in Nagorno-Karabakh conflict - Russian analyst
Armenia's hopes that Russia to help it fight against Azerbaijan doomed to fail - expert
New refrigeration unit commissioned in Georgia
U.S. Vice President Pence's chief of staff tests positive for COVID-19
Azerbaijan forces Armenian troops to retreat in Gubadli direction - MoD
Significant amount of Armenian Armed Forces’ manpower, equipment destroyed - MoD
Azerbaijani troops advance new positions in Khojavend, Gubadli, Lachin directions of front
Over 150 new COVID-19 cases reported in Kazakhstan
Volume of loans issued to trade sector in Iran disclosed
WHO reports record increase in confirmed COVID-19 cases of over 465,000 in 24 hours
Samsung chief Lee dies
5.4-magnitude quake hits 74 km off Kawalu, Indonesia
Turkey reports 2,091 COVID-19 patients
Yemen's Houthis targeted two airports and a base in Saudi Arabia
Brazil reports another 432 COVID-19 deaths
Moscow's death toll from confirmed COVID-19 cases rises by 68
Afghan forces kill senior al Qaeda leader al-Masri who was on FBI most wanted list
UK records another 23,012 coronavirus cases with 174 deaths
Helpless on battlefield Armenia spreads false, provocative information - Azerbaijani MoD
Hikmet Hajiyev: Using children under 15 as soldiers is a war crime
8 killed, 4 injured in road accident in Pakistan's Punjab province
Necessary conditions will be created to extradite Armenian prisoners of war and civilians to third countries - MoD
Armenian army's combat equipment destroyed (VIDEO)
Azerbaijan's Defense Ministry calls on civilians in occupied territories to stay away from military facilities
Ministry of Defense: Armenian Armed Forces resort to provocations to prevent operations of Azerbaijani army
Iran declares amount of loans issued to housing & construction sector
Armenia continues to use underage children in military hostilities (VIDEO)
Photo of another missile launched by Armenia against Azerbaijan unveiled (PHOTO)
All news