Category Archives: Russia

World Leaders Point Out Urgency of Islamic State Threat, Obama Administration Covers It Up

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By Christopher W. Holton

At the very best, President Obama is out of touch when it comes to the threat posed by the Islamic State. From the time he called them the “JV” to his comments a few months ago when he admitted that he still had not developed a strategy to confront them, President Obama has, for one reason or another, neglected the threat from the Islamic State.

As is often the case, the president’s neglect has influenced those serving underneath him as they take cues from the “commander’s intent.” So, what we now have is a brewing scandal in which an unprecedented number of Pentagon intelligence analysts have decided to blow the whistle on what they see as Obama administration political appointees watering down their analyses to make it seem that the threat from the Islamic State is not as serious as it actually is.

Multiple investigations have been launched into allegations that senior officials altered intelligence estimates about the Islamic State to indicate a more favorable impression of progress:

In addition to the Pentagon inspector general’s investigation into allegations by dozens of intelligence analysts, other inspectors general inside the intelligence community and two oversight committees in Congress have begun their own probes, according to senior lawmakers and intelligence officials. The Congressional investigations will expand the scope of the existing inquiry by examining allegations of intelligence tampering that predate the war against the Islamic State, some dating back years.

http://onlineheraldnews.com/multiple-investigations-launched-into-skewed-islamic-state-intelligence-allegations/

The roots of the intelligence scandal go back to July when the New York Times reported that the Pentagon’s inspector general had launched an investigation into allegations that intelligence products had been distorted by CentCom’s top intelligence officer. The Daily Beast earlier this month reported that 50 CentCom analysts backed up the allegations in the initial complaint, an almost unprecedented revolt inside military intelligence.

U.S. intelligence officials tell us the objections began when an analyst in charge of Iraq intelligence at CentCom for more than 13 years complained through intelligence community whistleblower processes that the assessments produced by his unit were being rejected or distorted before they reached decision makers.

Top officials like Secretary of State John Kerry have used isolated statistics to show progress, but those figures often do not stand up to scrutiny. Ret. Gen. John Allen, who will resign this fall as the president’s envoy to the collation against the Islamic State, used to say that half of the group’s leaders in Iraq had been killed. That was an exaggeration.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/sns-wp-blm-news-bc-declassified24-20150924-story.html

Interestingly, while the Obama administration has sought to downplay the threat from the Islamic State and exaggerate the effectiveness of the pinprick US-led air campaign, other world leaders are sounding the alarm, painting quite a different picture of the threat than the rosy scenario that Barack Obama and John Kerry would have us believe.

This week, Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India called the Islamic State among the “greatest challenges facing the international community.” Modi met with King Abdullah of Jordan, a leader who has taken a particularly strong stand against the Islamic State, to the point he was personally flying sorties against Islamic State forces.

http://www.ndtv.com/india-news/islamic-state-greatest-challenge-facing-international-community-pm-narendra-modi-1223101

Czech President Miloš Zema will be in New York this week where he will be continuing to “call for a joint struggle against Islamic State, now dominating a large part of Iraq and Syria during his speech in the United Nations.”

Zema is expected to call for the creation of an anti-terrorist unit under the auspices of the United Nations Security Council and for the cooperation of the international community in the struggle against Islamic terrorism.

http://www.praguepost.com/czech-news/49957-zeman-to-speak-against-islamic-state-in-un

We’re not crazy about his call for a UN-led anti-terrorism unit under the Security Council due to the UN’s atrocious track record of putting barbarians, savages and despots in charge of things like human rights, but we do agree that there needs to be a greater cooperation between world powers in the West to destroy the Islamic State.

That might mean cooperating closely with Russia and Putin in their campaign against the Islamic State, which is commencing largely because Obama has been so inept in attacking the Islamic State…

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/world/putin-to-un-let-us-help-you-crush-isis/story-fnb64oi6-1227546261952

If Putin is successful in leading a coalition absent the US in “crushing” the Islamic State, it will have certainly fulfilled one of President Obama’s goals of cutting American influence in the world down to size. That will be a terrible legacy for the next and future presidents to live down.

 

 

 

 

Backgrounder: A History of Recent Jihad in Russia

Russian President Vladimir Putin has carefully cultivated a tough-guy image, but the reality, at least in terms of his response to Jihad has been something different.

Many in the US assume that Putin will act forcefully to punish those who were behind the two Islamikaze bombings in Volgograd this week, but history tells us that he won’t.

Many in the West assume simple-mindedly that the Jihadist assault on Russia is tied to separatist “rebels” in Chechnya. But Jihad goes way beyond localized disputes and the Jihadists don’t just have their sights set on Chechnya; they see the site of the Summer Olympics in Sochi as Muslim territory stolen by Russia as well.

Speaking of Chechnya, if one looks at Putin’s response to that conflict, it’s hard to see it as standing up to Jihad. He basically hand-selected a former Jihadi named Ramzan Kadyrov to rule Chechnya. This has in fact resulted in reduced violence in Chechnya, but not overall Jihadi violence in Russia. And considering Kadyrov’s own philosophy, it is hard to differentiate between him and his former brothers in arms:

A Sufi Muslim who favors polygamy and veils for women, some analysts say that in return for quelling rebel attacks, the Kremlin has let Kadyrov usher in his radical vision of Islam, which often contradicts Russia’s secular constitution. A 2007 edict that bans bareheaded women from entering state buildings is strictly observed today, as are periodic alcohol bans.

Kadyrov has said he wants to install Islamic Sharia law in Chechnya.

In other words, Putin’s response has been what many would term appeasement. Given that the Jihadists’ goal is the imposition of Sharia, installing a pro-Sharia leader in Chechnya is not exactly taking a hardline against Jihad.

Especially given the fact that Russia has been targeted repeatedly by Jihadist terror attacks on Putin’s watch. Here is a partial listing of such attacks prior to 2013:

• In September 1999, four explosions ripped through apartment buildings in Moscow, Volgodonsk, and Buinaksk over a period of weeks. Over 300 people were killed and many more were injured. Newly installed Prime Minister Vladimir Putin blamed Chechan “rebels.”

• In May 2002, a bomb exploded at a World War II victory parade in Kaspiysk, Russia, part of Dagestan. 44 were killed, including a dozen children and 133 were wounded. An investigation determined that Russian soldiers had sold the explosives to the Jihadists who carried out the attack.

• In October 2002, 50 Chechan Jihadists seized a Moscow theater and 850 hostages. In the ensuing bumbling rescue attempt, 130 hostages died. Despite this outcome, Putin declared victory. He was particularly unhappy with news coverage of the crisis by NTV and purged the news network’s management, effectively stifling the last independent news source in Russia. (Russia Today is in fact a propaganda arm for the Putin regime.)

• On 27 December 2002, Chechen Jihadists drove two explosives-laden trucks into the heavily-guarded government headquarters in Grozny, Chechnya in Russia. 83 died in the subsequent explosion. 210 were injured.

• On 12 May 2003, three Islamikaze bombers, including two black widows, exploded a truck bomb at the headquarters of Russia’s FSB (Federal Security Service) in Grozny, Chechnya. 59 were killed and 200 injured.

• On 5 July 2003, two black widow Islamikaze bombers detonated suicide bombs at a rock music festival in Tushino, Russia. 15 were killed, 60 injured in the attack.

• On 5 December 2003, an Islamikaze bomber detonated a suicide bomb on a commuter train in Stavropol Krai, Russia. 46 people were killed and 170 injured.

• On 9 December 2003, a black widow Islamikaze bomber detonated a suicide bomb in Red Square in Moscow, killing 6 and injuring 44.

• On 6 February 2004, an Islamikaze bomber detonated a suicide bomb on a Moscow Metro subway, killing 41 and injuring 120.

• On 9 May 2004, a bomb ripped through a stadium in Grozny, Russia in Chechnya during a World War II Victory Day Parade, killing 30 and wounding 56.

• On 24 August 2004, Islamikaze bombers detonated bombs on two Russian airliners. 43 were killed on one aircraft, 46 on another.

• On 31 August 2004, a black widow Islamikaze bomber detonated a suicide bomb in a Moscow Metro subway station, killing 10 and wounding 50.

• In September 2004, Jihadists seized a school in Beslan, Russia, taking over 1,100 hostages. Again, the Russian security services bungled the response and the outcome was well over 300 dead hostages, most of them young children. This remains perhaps the most horrifying Jihadist attack of modern times, with images of wounded and dying children forever etched in the world’s memories. Putin remained silent during the crisis and released only a brief statement in its wake. He also declined to meet with any of the families of the victims.

• On 6 November 2008, a black widow Islamikaze bomber detonated a suicide bomb at a taxi stand in Vladikavkaz, Russia, killing 12 and injuring 41.

• On 17 August 2009, an Islamikaze bomber detonated a car bomb in Nazran, Ingushetia, Russia, killing 25 and injuring 164.

• On 27 November 2009, a bomb planted by Jihadists exploded under a moving train between Moscow and Saint Petersburg. The train derailed and 27 were killed and 95 injured.

• On March 29, 2010, two black widow Islamikaze bombers detonated suicide bombs in two Moscow Metro subway stations. More than 40 were killed and over 100 wounded in those attacks.

• On 31 March 2010, two Islamikaze bombers detonated suicide bombs Kizlyar in Russia’s Dagestan province, killing 12 and injuring 18.

• On 26 May 2010, a bomb blast before a music concert in Stavropol, Russia killed 8 and wounded 40.

• On 9 September 2010, an Islamikaze bomber detonated a suicide bomb in the central market in Vladikavkaz, Russia killing 17 and injuring 160.

• On January 24, 2011, an Islamikaze bomber detonated a IED inside the passenger terminal of the Domodedovo International Aiport in Moscow, killing 37 and wounding 173.

• On 3 May 2012, two bombs exploded in Makhachkala, Russia in Dagestan, killing 14 and injuring 87.

UPDATED Islamikaze Jihad in Volgograd: Complete Coverage and Analysis from Around the World

SCCZEN_AP131230012807_620x310

This morning a female Islamikaze bomber struck a rail station in Volgograd, Russia, killing at least 16 people.

For hours there was scant coverage of this Jihadi attack in the US news media, but foreign news organizations did manage to fit in coverage of the event.

The Belfast Telegraph from the UK had a report, including video footage of the detonation of the bomb:

http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/world-news/russia-suicide-bomb-shocking-video-shows-train-station-blast-which-left-at-least-15-dead-29873499.html

Note from the Telegraph report that the Jihadi appeared to detonate the bomb as she approached a metal detector at a security checkpoint:

A spokesman for the nation’s top investigative agency said the bomb appeared to have been detonated as the attacker approached a metal detector at the entrance to the central railway hub in the city of Volgograd.

This is not the first time Jihadists have targeted a transportation hub in Russia. A few years ago they detonated a bomb in a Moscow airport terminal. It should also be pointed out that the FBI intercepted a plot earlier this month in Wichita, Kansas in which a Jihadi sought to bomb an airport terminal.

The point here is that, as security services seek to tighten access to airplanes and trains, which have been targeted in the past, they are creating massive bottlenecks in passenger terminals, particularly at the security checkpoints that are ostensibly there to keep travelers safe. As a result, the Jihadis now target the lines of travelers in the passenger terminals themselves.

We have blogged about this in the past and it seems that security services have no answer at this point for this new Jihadi tactic:

https://terrortrendsbulletin.com/2012/11/13/airliner-security-leaves-travelers-more-vulnerable-in-airports/

While our 13 November 2012 post focused on airport security, the same clearly applies to rail security, as was so tragically demonstrated in Russia this morning.

Here is direct link to the video of the train station explosion in Volgograd at LiveLeak:

http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=613_1388312239

Mediaite points out that this attack comes just six weeks before the Olympics are due to open in Sochi, Russia. Jihadists have in fact threatened the Olympics.

http://www.mediaite.com/online/intense-footage-shows-bomb-detonating-in-russian-train-station/?

Volgograd is in the southern part of Russia:

russia-moscow-volgograd-map

Sochi, site of the Olympics is not terribly far from Volgograd:

Be advised the legend and graphics have no meaning for the present situation. Map is shown strictly to show proximity of Volgograd, site of Jihadist attack today, to Sochi, site of Summer Olympic Games in 6 weeks.

Be advised the legend and graphics have no meaning for the present situation. Map is shown strictly to show proximity of Volgograd, site of Jihadist attack today, to Sochi, site of Summer Olympic Games in 6 weeks.

Note also that both Volgograd and, rather ominously, Sochi, are quite close to Chechnya and Dagestan, two hotbeds of the global Islamic insurgency:

_51331385_sochi_russia_2_11

Volgograd was once called Stalingrad. There are now conflicting reports that the Islamikaze bomber may have been a man, not a woman, or that the woman may have had a male accomplice. Note that the cited source for these contradictory reports are Russian law enforcement agencies, something that isn’t terribly comforting or surprising given the circumstances:

http://www.arabtimesonline.com/NewsDetails/tabid/96/smid/414/ArticleID/202499/reftab/69/t/Female-suicide-bomber-kills-16-at-Russian-train-station/Default.aspx?

The UN Secretary General has condemned the attack (we’re sure the Jihadis are quaking in their boots over that). Note also that this is the second Islamikaze bombing in Volgograd in the past two months. Another female Islamikaze bomber blew herself up on a bus two months ago, killing 7 innocent victims and wounding scores of others.

http://www.shanghaidaily.com/article/article_xinhua.aspx?id=190412

Speaking of injuries, initial reports indicate that 45 were injured in the attack, including a 9-year old girl:

http://www.newindianexpress.com/world/Woman-Bomber-Kills-14-Injures-45-in-Russia/2013/12/30/article1972724.ece?

The Volgograd attack comes in the wake of threats by Chechen Jihadi terrorist Doku Umarov calling for new attacks against civilian targets in Russia, including the Sochi Olympic Games.

This article from the New Zealand Herald contains good detail from the Associated Press, eyewitness accounts and a historical background. It’s the best piece we’ve seen so far on the attack:

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/news/article.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=11179292

Note especially that Russia has been victimized numerous times in recent years by Islamikaze bombers, including females. Also included is some general information on Russia’s extraordinary security measures to protect the Olympics, including measures that would never be approved of here in the US due to trespassing on civil liberties and the overt use of military forces on a direct, wide scale, as opposed to a support capacity. Hopefully the Russian measures will prove effective once the Olympics get underway.

Russian authorities have tentatively identified the Islamikaze bomber as Oksana Aslanova, a Dagestani citizen whose husband was a Jihadi killed by Russian special operations forces. Evidently Aslanova was known to Russian authorities and she “got around,” having reportedly been married to other Jihadist terrorists as well.

http://www.examiner.com/article/russian-bombing-suicide-bombing-claims-16-lives-sparks-fear-ahead-of-olympics?

This article from The Age in Australia includes a close-up image of the entrance to the railway station. It appears that the Russians smartly placed the metal detectors at the entrance, so most of the people in the crowded station escaped injury. The article also contains more background on “black widow” Islamikaze bombers that have struck Russia. Incidentally, there was evidently a previously little-noticed car bomb in Pyatigorsk, Russia on Friday:

http://www.theage.com.au/world/sochi-olympics-terrorism-feared-after-volgograd-black-widow-suicide-bombing-20131230-hv754.html

Finally, here is a photo of Oksana Aslanova, prime suspect in the attack:

Oksana Aslanova

Oksana Aslanova

LATE ADDITION: Additional video footage of the attack.
First video shows people entering the train station, including the Islamikaze bomber:

 

The second video shows additional imagery of the explosion:

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