31.12.2013 Author: Alexander Orlov

Who is behind the terrorist attacks in Russia?

4ffhThe bloody drama in Volgograd on the eve of the New Year, where suicide bombers carried out two terrorist attacks leaving 33 people, including children, dead and dozens more injured, has caused the Russian media and political people to put forward many guesses on who could have been behind these crimes and why these attacks were carried out in this particular moment ? The vast majority believes that trail leads back to the North Caucasus, most likely to Dagestan, where the entrenched Wahhabi radicals are dreaming of disrupting the Sochi Olympic Games with their barbaric acts of violence. Planting a seed of religious discord in the Russian society, bring fear in the hearts of the people living in the South of Russia, that is adjacent to the North Caucasus territories – that’s what they aim for. Their involvement in these events is quite possible, but somehow most of the analysts have completely disregarded the foreign trail leading to the terrorist attacks in Volgograd. This tragedy, no matter how dreadful it is, can not be regarded in isolation from the global development of the situation in the Islamic world – that lies to the south of the Russian Federation.

A lot of people forget that only a thousand kilometers away from the south of the Russian borders a savage civil war in Syria is raging, where thousands of jihadists and terrorists of all shades and nationalities are killing people with American weapons in their arms. They all are handsomely funded by Saudi Arabia, Kuwait , Qatar and the UAE. As far as training is concerned, a bunch of American and Arab instructors from the CCASG provide these terrorists with all the knowledge necessary for bring death in the houses of innocent Syrian people. Among these terrorist, according a variety of sources, one can find around 400 Russians. These are not only the North Caucasus inhabitants, but also Slavs who embraced Islam or just become mercenaries for a handsome pay provided by the Wahhabi monarchy of Saudi Arabia. These militants have shed blood before on the Libyan fields, fighting against Muammar Gaddafi for the same financial benefits provided by the KSA , Qatar and the UAE, others were trialed by fire in Iraq, fighting the government supported by the Shiite majority, for the sake of the same old “sponsors”, and some of them have graduated from the “school” of Afghanistan, being trained, both military and ideologically , in the camps of Peshawar in Pakistan. The place is known as the main training base for Islamist terrorists, it also supported rather generously by the Islamic charity funds, and guess who’s been ruining those. And all this rabble, especially Russia’s own, “domestically produced” rabble, assembled from the terrorist leftovers of the North Caucasus and the Slavs who have embraced Islam under the influence of radical imams advocacy, started to threaten Russia from the fall of 2013 that they may be returning “home” from Syria any day now. They have accumulated a thorough “combat”, or rather, terrorist experience on the Syrian battlefields in order to put it to “good use” in Russia.

But Peshawar is not the only place where Russian citizens are being brainwashed, there are sources of radicalism in Russia itself, the numerous half-legal ” mosques ” and houses of worship are a plenty at Volga and the North Caucasus , where imams, educated by the Salafi preachers in the Arab countries, teach young men and women that have lost life guidance due for various reasons to hate. Their soul searching is being exploited by the recruiters – Islamists who have become “fishers of lost souls .”

And the money for this, along with the money needed for the print of Salafi books, comes from the same charitable foundations of Arabia , especially from Saudi Arabia and Qatar . But due to a high level of religious tolerance that has recently become a trademark of Russia, the local authorities sometimes disregard the fact that radical Islamists make good terrorist fighters or suicide bombers .

Finally, there’s yet another important point that is to be made. Despite a number of ferocious anti-Russian media campaigns that are being carried out in Saudi Arabia regularly, the head of the Saudi intelligence and the chairman of the National Security Council prince Bandar has paid visits to Russia twice in the second half of 2013, and each time he requested an audience with Vladimir Putin . At first it was July 31. And, according to various sources, especially the Arab and Israeli ones, Bandar bin Sultan, wanted to sign a military contract with Russia, according to which 15 billion dollars worth of arms was to be shipped to the KSA. In returned he was willing to give assurances that the Gulf countries will not threaten the Russia’s position of a leading gas supplier to Europe, and to promise that he would do everything he could to protect the Winter Sochi Olympics from possible terrorist attacks. In exchange Moscow should have weakened its support of Bashar Assad. Moreover, as some media sources reported, Bandar was allegedly leaving Moscow in a good state of mind. However this information does not seem credible, neither in the regard of proposals, nor in the regard of Russia’s good will towards them.

Firstly, everyone is well aware that Saudi Arabia has remained virtually alone in a war in which the whole U.S. coalition, a number of European countries and almost two-thirds of the Arab League and all the Middle Eastern militants have failed to win. There’s no way in which Saudi Arabia could have helped Russia in its gas policy. The mystical “threats to Russia’s gas interests” can only mean the threats to the Iranian gas pipeline project, that should be coming across Iraqi and Syrian soil. Saudi Arabia has no control over the territories where it’s going to be built. The estimated quantity of the gas it would be transmitting amounts for only 5 % of Russian exports, in addition, the Iranian gas should simply replace the Qatari projects that seem now to be now gone for good. The situation is quite the opposite – Russia’s presence in Syria gives it more opportunities to influence Iran gas policy as the better part of the future pipeline is going to be built by the Russian Transgaz. Finally, Saudi Arabia is not a gas player. Russia, Iran and Qatar are responsible for 60% of world’s gas exports, Saudi Arabia is in no position to compete with anybody here. So the alleged suggestions of prince Bandar bin Sultan in the interpretation of Israeli sources look very questionable.

Secondly, Saudi Arabia, like Israel, can not take the recent improvement in the Iran-U.S. Relations calmly. Prince Bandar bin Sultan, that has excellent connection in America, and being at the same time the chief of Saudi intelligence services, is better informed about the details of the upcoming talks. Syria — is already a done deal now. The Assad’s enemies have finally acknowledged his right to live and govern, and now everyone’s to worry about what’s coming next – and the improvement in the bilateral relations between Iran and the United States promises the Arabian monarchies no good .

But the story about his hint about Sochi — sounds credible enough . After all, everyone knows to what degree KSA was supporting the ” Muslim Brotherhood ” and other radical Islamist movements around the world . Its role in the Chechen separatist movement in the 1990s is not yet forgotten. So Bandar blackmailed Russia, implying that is Riyadh control of the people who can arrange terrorist attacks in Sochi, or give them orders no to do.

On December 3 2013 Bandar came to Moscow yet again. And again he voices “sweet offers” to the Russia and mentions Sochi. And here we are less that a month away witnessing explosions in Volgograd.

Experts are well aware of the fact that suicide bombers do not blow themselves up due to the excess of emotions or religious fanaticism, such attack are always the result of a well planned operation . There’s not a glimse of a doubt that the terrorist groups and gangs operating in Russia are working for the Western intelligence services and are funded by Saudi and Qatari money. This is just a beginning of a large-scale action”- said Eugene Lobachyov, a retired major-general of the Federal Security Service of Russia. Expert sees two purposes – to destabilize Russia and to derail the preparations for Sochi Olympics . “Look , a number of Western leaders are now calling to boycott Sochi. They are happy to discuss to he is or not going to Sochi publicly. These attacks are sponsored by the foreign money, and most likely it the Saudi money, as the two Chechen wars show. It’s the foreign influence, foreign control, foreign support ” , – said Eugene Lobachyov.

“There is every reason to suspect that this was only the beginning of a large-scale operation to destabilize Russia . We have a lot of enemies who seek to undermine our credibility , especially in the run-up to the Olympics “- agrees with the former major-general Saeed Gafurov, director of the Institute of Oriental and African Practical Studies . He believes that this was a revenge for the Russian support of Syria and the result of the flabbiness of Russian diplomacy. “Russia has made a number of mistakes in the Middle East and in the Persian Gulf , since it showed generosity and softness in response to the barbaric actions . We should have not forgiven the beating of the Russian ambassador Titorenko Ambassador in Qatar. Qatari security officials suffered no punishment. This was a reason for war , but we endured . We were also silent , when Saudi Arabia invaded Bahrain , “- he said. According to Saeed Gafurov Wahabite monarchies “only understand the language of fear, there’s no use negotiating with them.”

So there are many versions of the tragedy in Volgograd. But one should stop with assumptions , the facts are to be collected and analyzed. If it is proved the presence of outside track , then clearly there are methods to prevent the attacks. Especially when Sochi is so very close in all respects.

Alexander Orlov, political scientist and expert orientalist, exclusively for the New Eastern Outlook online magazine.

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