Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Red Alert

"First we heard a thud, then the explosion, and then a shock wave that knocked my colleague off her feet. We ran down the road and found a bus completely destroyed. It was horrible to look at.
"The soldiers were excellent. They did everything properly and calmly. I helped one woman. No one knows why they target Volgograd. We're peaceful people here, and all nationalities live together peacefully.
"Everyone helped -- Russians, Azerbaijainis, Mordovans, We're all afraid."
Fatima Samukhvalova, Dzerzhinsk district market vendor

Reuters  A bomb on a bus in Volgograd, Russia, on Monday killed at least 15 people. It was the second fatal blast in the city in two days. 

Little wonder everyone is fearful. What appears ordinary, a usual winter day in a busy metropolis, with people going about their business in a routine manner suddenly is infused with the horror of unpredictable violence leaving mayhem and carnage in its wake. People are killed, maimed for life, and those indirectly affected have inherited a different kind of trauma, one that will never give them peace throughout their lives.

The knowledge that a hatred so intense, so beyond human recall, has irretrievably taken life, altered life, transfixed and transformed a society. Trust replaced by suspicion and social disequilibrium. When something of this magnitude occurs, the normal exchange between people will never again be as relaxed and naturally casual. A lingering suspicion may enter the public square to change the culture from an open acceptance to one of alert caution.

Volgograd struck twice within a matter of days by an ideology of violent achievement, so dedicated to destruction of peace and social harmony that the willing martyrs' own death to be used as a tool in the deaths of many becomes a source of vengeance, solace for a twisted soul. On Monday, fourteen innocent people killed, another 28 injured, three of them critically.  On Sunday, an explosive detonated at Volgograd's train station killed 17, inuring over 40.

Surely much satisfaction given to those whose idea of life's purpose is to sow terror in the hearts and souls of one's perceived enemies. And putting the Kremlin on notice that the entire country cannot be protected from such assaults accounts for Volgograd's being targeted despite its distance from Sochi was the message delivered. And to warn the world awaiting the Olympic Games' opening that they are in danger should they attend the Games.
"The attack demonstrates the militants' capability to strike at soft targets such as transport infrastructure outside of their usual area of operations in the North Caucasus. Although the very strict security measures which will be in place at the Sochi Games will make it difficult to undertake a successful attack against the main Olympic venues, public transport infrastructure in Sochi and the surrounding Krasnodar territory will face an elevated risk of attack."
Matthew Clements, analyst, Jane's

The intention of creating an Islamic state in the North Caucasus region and the Russian counter-intention not to allow this to happen challenges two indomitable ideologies in direct confrontation with one another. The Russian-Chechnya wars and the separatist jihadists messages delivered in the slaughter at a Moscow theatre, the hospital hostages in Budyonnovsk, and the seizure and slaughter at the Beslan school served as more than ample evidence that Islamist terrorists would stop at nothing to achieve their goal.

With the world focused on the Winter Games at Sochi, the opportunity presents itself for the leader of the Caucasus Emirate, Doku Umarov, to reveal just how powerful the separatist movement is in the minds of his followers. He invokes in them the spirit to contribute to their cause by sacrificing their lives and through their martyrdom achieving the goal of hastening the eventuality of the long-awaited Caliphate.

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