Like many of you, I had little to no idea where Chechnya was, let alone its political structure and place in the larger global political narrative. As I spent the bast few days, literally up all night trying to understand the place, its people and history, I had hoped it would help me understand why these boys would do what they did? In the end I found that I have more questions than answers and ominous sick feeling in my stomach.
I have learned about this place and its people has been fascinating and their plight admirable to say the least. I also found the extremists among them (as all groups often have), to be incredibly terrifying. I’ll be sharing some of these findings in future articles but for now I wanted to share my initial thoughts and pervading concerns as I continue to research this case, the bombers and the Chechen history and still unfolding story.
If they (the bombers) were indeed Chechen Muslim extremists, it still would seem odd to attack us now. The Chechen mujihadeen have allied with mujihadeen in Syria to form the “Army of emigrants and helpers” a throwback to the days of Muhammed and his first groups of supporters and protectors. This new conglomerate of mujihadeen have been quite formidable in the rebel effort against the current Syrian regime. The US has been supporting the rebellion there politically, and in recent days the Obama administration has been in talks about giving “non-lethal” support to the rebels. As a matter of fact, yesterday at the Friends of Syria summit in Turkey, John Kerry pledged $123 Million in “non-lethal” aid. Non-Lethal, as in no weapons. Yet that only frees up other resources to buy those needed weapons, am I wrong? So whether we like it or not the rebel forces include these Chechen extremist and their new Chechen North Caucasus-Syria conglomerate which includes some groups with ties to al quaeda. It will be naive to think they will not gain from this new pledged from them and those dollars eventually thrown back at us and our soldiers, possibly in the form of bullets and shrapnel. Even Umarov, self proclaimed Emir of the Northern Caucasus rouge Sharia law lead nation (undermining Chechen president Kadyrov and ergo, Putin), has acknowledged the likelihood of UD funds coming their way, in a recent quote cautioning jihadist in Syria to not “replace the regime of Bashar al-Assad, using Turkish, or Saudi, or Egyptian, or American, or English money, with another idol under the guise of democracy.”
Furthermore, these Chechen extremists made it quite clear they plan to attack the olympic games if they are held in Russia. The very games that the older brother Tamerlan, who is considered the alpha and mastermind of the bombing plot, was planning to compete in, according to many sources. Even if it was to infiltrate and help the attack, it would still require him gaining citizenship (he was currently in that process), so this just all seems counter-productive if this were true as some have countered when I discussed this, in preparation for this article.
Even Chechen the separatists in general would have little reason to attack us, it would seem. As I understand it, and much to Putin’s chagrin, the US has been publicly in support of their continued efforts for total succession from Russian rule, and condemned the many human rights violations they have suffered at the hands of both Russia and local Chechen extremists.
Therein lies the sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. Politically, speaking the only one who would have anything to gain from a Muslim extremist attack on US would be HIM and his chosen president of Chechnya, Kadyrov, whose control and hold over that region seems tenuous at best. Furthermore both fell under public scrutiny following the journalistic exposé of their treatment of Chechens following the second war, by US Born Russian, Anna Stepanova Politkovskaya, assassinated in her Moscow home in 2006.
Yes, it seems the only one to benefit from US anger at Chechen separatists AND Muslim extremists (whom Russia seems to make no distinction) would be Vladimir Putin. The man who happened to call Obama the day after the bombing and offer to help us find the ones responsible. The one, who after their capture Obama thanked for being helpful in closing this case.
I’m NOT saying these boys are innocent. Nor am I saying that this is all part of a Russian conspiracy. Only that, there so many coincidences and inconsistencies that try as I have, I am having a hard time believing the story is as simple as two Muslim jihadist boys who decided to bomb a marathon and, despite plenty of opportunity, offered no statement, jihadist or otherwise as to why before deciding to rob a store and get themselves killed, instead of staying hidden, given their photos were released that day.