Second Terror Attack in Volgograd, Concern For Olympics

In the last two days, there have been two terror attacks in Volograd, Russia, one at a train station and one on a trolley, raising concern for safety at the upcoming Winter Olympics in Sochi. At least 27 people have been killed, and at least 45 were maimed or wounded.

The suicide bomber at the train station has been identified by the Siberia Times as a 26 year old female named Oksana Aslanova. She is known as a "black widow," having been married to two deceased Islamic terror leaders in North Caucasus. Both her husbands were killed by Russian forces, and she was on a watch list. [More...]

Aslanova was a wife of 'General' Validzhanov, who was destroyed,' said a bulletin issued last month expressing concern over her whereabouts, and predicting she could make an attack. 'She went through a training in camps and can become a black widow and take part in preparing terrorist attacks on the territory of Russia', said the Dagestan Interior Ministry.

The attacks are believed to related to militant leader Doku Umarov, who in June, called for attacks of "maximum force" to stop the Winter Olympics in Sochi, which he labeled "satanic games to be held on the bones of our ancestors".

On Saturday, Russian forces killed an aide of Umarov in Dagestan. Umarov is suspected to be behind the bombing of a Moscow airport in 2011 and the bombing of the Moscow Metro in 2010. He publicly claimed credit for both attacks. The U.S. designated him a terrorist in 2010.

Dagestan and Chechnya are about 250 miles from Sochi.

Because security is already beefed up in Sochi, a Russian anti-terror official says "...terrorists will strike instead in these nearby cities like Volgograd." On the security at Sochi:

The security measures for the Sochi Olympics drafted in 2009 will be enforced by 42,000 police officers and 10,000 Interior Ministry troops, while 23,000 Ministry for Emergency Situations personnel will be deployed in the mountains and along the coast.

Chechens aren't taking Umarov too seriously. Many believe he's clamoring for attention to make people believe he still has relevance.

Meanwhile, just 50 percent of Chechens believe that Umarov’s statement was indeed motivated by resentment at Moscow’s choice as the venue for the 2014 Olympics of the ancestral homeland of the Circassians. In a poll launched in mid-December by RFE/RL’s North Caucasus Service, 10.5 percent of respondents attributed Umarov’s statement to the need to remind people he still exists, 7.9 percent to the belief that if he issues such threats, people will believe he is still a force to be reckoned with, and just 5.9 percent to the belief that he could force Russia to backtrack over the venue.

Ten days ago, Russian authorities said Umarov had been killed, and he released a video to dispute them (which made no mention of the Olympics.)

Back to the Black Widow:

Oksana Aslanova was reportedly born June 16, 1987 in Turkmenistan. She later moved to live in Russia’s North Caucasian Republic of Dagestan. She settled in the city of Derbent at 15/41, Rasulbekov Street and studied at the Dagestan State Pedagogic University.

She married Mansur Velibekov, a Chechen radical and member of the Southern (Yuzhnaya) criminal ring that was wiped in 2008. Upon her death, Velibekov’s widow became a so-called “Sharia wife” of the gang’s leader, Gasan Abdulayev.

Another report suggests that Aslanova was also married to a known terrorist, Israpil Validzhanov, who went under the nickname of Amir Hasan. He was eliminated on March 18, 2011 near the Dagestani village of Tashkapur.

She hasn't been heard from since 2012, leading authorities to believe she attended a training camp for suicide bombers.

In October, Naida Asiyalova, another female "black widow" bomber blew herself and others up on a bus in Volgograd.

The Olympics will, and should, go on.

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    Agreed. (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Mon Dec 30, 2013 at 03:59:23 PM EST
    CORRECTION: The name of the city where the recent bombing attacks took place is Volgograd, not Volograd.

    The Olympics should go on, if only because it's way too late to find an alternative site for the Winter Games.

    But old blood feuds die hard, Jeralyn, and the fact of the matter is that Russia's behavior with regard to Chechnya -- long considered to have been a wayward and renegade province, going back to the days of the czars -- over the previous seven decades has been lamentable, and during the past 20 years it's been nothing short of abominable. So this particular grudge is really not all that old.

    In 1944 during the Second World War, Soviet leader Josef Stalin had the entire Chechen population deported to Siberia, in retaliation for alleged collaboration with the invading Germans in the summer of 1942. Axis Romanian forces briefly occupied the ancient Chechen capital of Grozny (also known as Jokhar) in early October 1942, but were withdrawn to reinforce German attacks upon Stalingrad, which is known today as Volgograd. The Chechens were only allowed to return to their homeland in 1957, once Nikita Khrushchev was able to finally consolidate his hold on the Kremlin, in the wake of the power struggle that followed Stalin's 1953 death.

    The Chechens took advantage of the Soviet Union's collapse in the early 1990s to declare their independence from Russia, prompting then-President Boris Yeltsin to order the Russia Army to occupy the region and re-assert Russian hegemony.

    This resulted in the First Chechen War (1994-96), as the Russians assaulted and then occupied the capital of Grozny in January 1995, a brutal action which roused the Chechen people to launch sustained counterattacks on the thinly stretched Russian supply lines from the surrounding mountains. The demoralized Russian Army soon found itself besieged and starving in Grozny, compelling a humiliated Yeltsin to seek a negotiated settlement that led to a complete withdrawal of forces in August 1996 and recognition of Chechnya's de facto independence.

    Upon the succession of Vladimir Putin to the Russian presidency in 1999, Chechnya had devolved into a lawless region controlled by various warlords, whose criminal raids on various Russian border towns prompted Putin to order the Russian military to re-establish Russian control over the region.

    The Second Chechen War, which began with the second Russian invasion in 1999, was an even more brutal affair than the first. The capital of Grozny was essentially obliterated by prolonged Russian artillery and aerial bombardment, followed by a vicious ground assault. Untold thousands of Chechen fighters and civilians died in the Russian military onslaught.

    It is worth noting that the population of Chechnya has been systematically reduced by some 40% during the Russian re-conquest, from 1.2 million in 1995 to less than 750,000 today. And that's the hard reality behind the recent terrorist strikes on Russian soil by Chechen fighters and suicide bombers.

    For their part, our own media has done an abysmal job of informing the American people about the ongoing Russian aggressions and atrocities in the Caucacus region, crimes which have gone a long way toward incurring the undying enmity of its Muslim-majority population, and includes the recent military seizures of the Republic of Georgia's South Ossetia and Abkhazia provinces in August 2008. (Please note the uncomfortable proximity of the Olympic city of Sochi to the Caucasus region in the aforelinked map.)

    That we should be repeatedly surprised by instances of Chechen / Muslim hostility toward the Russians speaks directly to our misinformed knowledge of the Caucasus and its troubled history. I'll be watching the Sochi Olympics like a lot of other people, but frankly, I think the IOC made a big mistake in awarding that city the 2014 Games seven years ago. Let's hope its restless neighbors don't give us cause to really regret that choice.


    After filming the horror (5.00 / 2) (#4)
    by fishcamp on Tue Dec 31, 2013 at 07:41:29 AM EST
    during the Munich Olympics in 1972 I have no desire to attend the Sochi Olympics.  ABC Sports also sent us to Sarajevo to film the 1984 Olympics which were fun and safe but in 1992 that beautiful city was all but wiped out.  It's a shame that politics is so involved with the Olympic choices instead of merely choosing the best locations.  Sochi has not been  known as an international winter sports location until very recently while Europe,  Japan, and the USA have fantastic Alpine and Nordic venues available that have been proven for more than fifty years.  During my ski racing and filming career I wound up in several different European medical facilities that are close to the mountains and provided excellent care.  Getting injured in Sochi means a Russian hospital which doesn't sound good to me.

    Agreed--Russian hospitals (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by KeysDan on Tue Dec 31, 2013 at 10:46:57 AM EST
    are to be avoided as a patient (although in fairness, hospitals, generally, can be dangerous places).   And, in my experience, the Russian hospitals try hard to avoid visitor tours.  The hospital staff preferred to meet in a conference room, discuss clinical matters, and serve stale sweets and strong coffee.  Overall, the hospitality was more impressive than the hospitals.

    After Afghanistan... (none / 0) (#2)
    by unitron on Mon Dec 30, 2013 at 06:20:56 PM EST
    ...you'd think that when Chechnya declared independence Russia would have figured out that trying to hold onto a mountainous region with a majority Muslim population, descendents of people who held off the Mongols, would not go particularly well.

    But that's Chechnya--what's up with this guy trying to claim that Sochi is in Muslim lands?

    Sochi is situated on the northeast coast ... (none / 0) (#3)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Mon Dec 30, 2013 at 07:50:33 PM EST
    ... of the Black Sea in the province of Krasnodar Krai, formerly known as North Abkhazia. Prior to the mid-19th century, this territory had been historically settled for well over a millennium by the Circassians, who were descended from the Tatars and for the most part were people of the Islamic faith.

    North Abkhazia had long been part of the Ottoman Empire since the mid-15th century until it was nominally ceded to Russia as a result of the treaty ending the First Caucasian War (1828-29). But the Russians were not able to fully assert their hegemony over the territory until the end of the Second Caucasian War (1864-70), when its Muslim population was either expelled to Ottoman Turkey or killed in the Circassian Pogrom (a polite Russian term for genocide) ordered by Czar Alexander II.

    The region was subsequently settled predominantly by Russians and Ukrainians, but also hosted a rather sizable German population, which was later expelled by Stalin and exiled to East Germany following the Second World War.



    Anyway you cut it (none / 0) (#6)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Dec 31, 2013 at 11:18:04 AM EST
    what we have is another attack by Muslim terrorists.

    Even the hint of support for such activities disgust me and should you.

    Being disgusted by Chechen terrorism ... (none / 0) (#10)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Tue Dec 31, 2013 at 03:10:53 PM EST
    ... should not preclude rational people from at least attempting to understand how this all came about in the first place. And I speak as someone who lost his own father to an act of terrorism back in 1964.

    Given that the Russians, through the wanton use of military force and state-sanctioned violence over the past two decades, have summarily reduced the Chechen population in the most brutal fashion, it should come as no surprise that a desperate people would resort to such desperate measures in fighting back. Human rights advocates in Moscow itself estimate that about 3,000 Chechens per year simply "disappear" as a result of Russian army sweeps through their villages. Since the latest round of Chechen wars began in December 1994, nearly half of Chechnya's population of 1.2 million has either been killed or displaced.

    The Russians' aggression toward the peoples of the Caucasus region in southeastern Europe long predates our own issues with the Middle East, and really has nothing at all to do with our own so-called "War on Terrorism." You will never solve a problem without first comprehending the root source of your predicament. Failing that, you'll only succeed in contributing to an endless cycle of recrimination and retribution. Lather, rinse, repeat.

    And in your case, Jim, the first step is to curtail your tiresome tendency to lump all Muslims into a "one size fits all" category, which serves only to further feed your own increasingly obsolete misperceptions about the nature of our relations with the various peoples of Eurasia.

    FYI, the Muslim world is 1.3 billion inhabitants strong, and only 20% of them are actually from the Arab world. Muslim-majority countries span the globe from Indonesia and Bangladesh in east Asia to Turkey and Albania in Europe, and from Kazakhstan in central Asia to Mauritania and Nigeria in Africa. Russia's own Muslim population is about 12% of the country as a whole, and is comprised of various peoples, from Uighurs and Turkmen in western Siberia to the Chechens and Ossetians of southeastern Europe. They all speak different languages.

    It's not a sign of political weakness to want to learn about other cultures and peoples, if only to know your potential adversary. Rather, knowledge itself is a source of strength.



    Donald, you do love to lecture (none / 0) (#11)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Dec 31, 2013 at 03:36:09 PM EST
    You should have been a teacher.

    But you aren't.

    I have long been aware of the Chechen situation and have no love for the Soviets or what they, and the Russians, have done.

    But the fact remains that these are just more examples of Muslim terrorist attacks.

    And your snide remark that I have "increasingly obsolete misperceptions about the nature of our relations with the various peoples of Eurasia" is typical. You have zero information to base it own yet you exercise your own bias because you perceive that I disagree with your tone.

    And I do. You remind me of those who, whenever the US is attacked, start looking for a "reason." First it was poverty. Then it was our "freedom." Then it was a "video." And I won't even mention the dead from the riots over a cartoon and "dissing" a Koran.

    How dumb can we get?? The reason is simple. Islam, for whatever reason, encourages radicals to attack the West in an attempt to rule the world. And yeah, I know it is a dumb thing but no one is telling them that and when I watch us falter in defense of our freedom and our culture in the name of "political corrects" I often wonder who will win.

    And lest you forget, here is what Osama Bin Ladin had to say on the subject in a March '97 interview with Peter Arnett, then with CNN.

    REPORTER: Mr. Bin Ladin, will the end of the United States' presence in Saudi Arabia, their withdrawal, will that end your call for jihad against the United States and against the US ?

    BIN LADIN: ... So, the driving-away jihad against the US does not stop with its withdrawal from the Arabian peninsula, but rather it must desist from aggressive intervention against Muslims in the whole world.

    (emphasis added)


    Yeah The Whole World.

    Couldn't be plainer.


    You and your fellow wingbats are the ones who are compounding our country's problems with your own deliberate cluelessness and willful ignorance. It certainly didn't didn't work with regards to Osama Bin Laden and al Qa'eda, given that the Bush administration was clearly caught with its pants down around its ankles, depite numerous and ample warnings from the intelligence community as to their hostile intentions prior to 9/11/2001.

    Over the past century, you guys on the right have had numerous chances with regards to contributing to our country's national security, and you blew each and every one of them, big-time and spectacularly:

    • Senate Republicans blocked the ratification of the Treaty of Versailles in 1920, which ultimately undermined the Weimar Republic in Germany and helped lead to Hitler's rise to power.
    • The GOP's head-up-the-butt isolationism of 1940-41, underscored by a collective and defeatist belief that Hitler's Germany could not be beaten militarily.
    • The cynical and duplicitous Paris Peace Accords in 1973, which served only to delay the inevitable in Indochina.
    • The Bush administration's clandestine dealings with Mullah Omar and the Taliban in Afghanistan prior to 9/11, in a futile effort to save its buddies at Enron by building the trans-Caspian pipeline from Kazakhstan's natural gas reserves to that company's white elephant power plants in Dhabol, India.

    It was topped off with Bush's horrific military aggression in Iraq under false pretenses in March 2003, an ill-advised but deliberate action which has left nearly half the world's population no longer seeing the United States as a force for good in the world, but rather as the primary obstacle to peace and security.

    So, please excuse me if I don't put much credence into what you guys on the right say any more, because I happen to think that the world is not the functional equivalent of a Bugs Bunny & Road Runner cartoon.

    And when it comes to foreign policy and military affairs and matters of the U.S. Constitution, I've long since concluded that Republicans can no longer tell their own posteriors from their elbows, and as a result of your denial of reality, you tighty-righties have succeeded only in seriously eroding our country's already shaky moral standing in the world. Your guys' crashing of the U.S. economy is left to another discussion for another time.



    As usual you think that every one (none / 0) (#16)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Dec 31, 2013 at 07:58:18 PM EST
    who disagrees with you is...

    "Over the past century, you guys on the right..."

    Hooey. You want me to write again that I am a Social Liberal that believes in minority rights,including gay marriage, women's right to choose, single payer health care, legalization of MJ, etc., etc.

    Is that what you want? Well, you have it. But no. Like far too many "liberals" you demand 100% agreement and when it doesn't happen you snark and attack.

    Hooey again. You deserve to be marginalized and that is what is happening. Look around you.

    As for bin Ladin, he said THE WHOLE WORLD. Is there something about that you fail to understand??

    And that is my point. No matter who is running "it." IT is under attack by Muslim terrorists and we need to never never never excuse their actions.

    Now, let's see what else bin Ladin said.

    As for the young men who participated in jihad here, their number, by the grace of God, was quite big, Praise and Gratitude be to Him, and they spread in every place in which non-believers' injustice is perpetuated against Muslims. Their going to Bosnia, Chechnya, Tajikistan and other countries is but a fulfillment of a duty, because we believe that these states are part of the Islamic World. Therefore, any act of aggression against any of this land of a span of hand measure makes it a duty for Muslims to send a sufficient number of their sons to fight off that aggression.


    And do you wanna see some real nutso PC stuff at work?

    "We were talking last night before bed about Ramadan and my son Luke came out that he wasn't allowed to drink at school," Blagden told the newspaper. "I said, `Hang on, why aren't you allowed to drink at school?'"

    "He said his class teacher refused it because one of the kids was fasting, I think quite a few were fasting, but one in particular had a headache. They said it would be unfair if the other pupils were to drink in front of that child, Luke agreed and he took it that he couldn't drink water all day."

    (Emphasis added)


    Come on Donald. Admit it. Making excuses for Muslim terrorists leads to stupid things like this. Problem is, that's just the nose of the camel under the tent.


    You are confusing excuses... (none / 0) (#25)
    by unitron on Thu Jan 02, 2014 at 10:21:41 AM EST
    ...with causes and explanations.

    Since fewer Muslims than every last one of them are would-be Western Civilization-destroying, take over the entire globe terrorists-to-be, it might be helpful to know why some are and some aren't.

    Better to figure out how not to turn someone into your enemy in the first place if it can be reasonably avoided than to expend the lives and treasure necessary to defeat all of your enemies.


    Wow (none / 0) (#22)
    by Wile ECoyote on Thu Jan 02, 2014 at 06:17:48 AM EST
    Dragging up stuff from the 1920's.  I take it you have no problem with people reminding what party was cracking the bull whip in the south in the 50's and 60's.

    Funny how the "Dixiecrat" wing... (none / 0) (#24)
    by unitron on Thu Jan 02, 2014 at 10:14:16 AM EST
    ...of the Democratic party was welcomed with open arms into the GOP when they left because of Democratic support for civil rights legislation.

    So the only two choices are... (none / 0) (#23)
    by unitron on Thu Jan 02, 2014 at 10:05:49 AM EST

    1. I am in favor of the great white father breaking every treaty ever signed and stealing all the good land from the Indians, putting them where they'll freeze and starve during the winter or giving them plague infected blankets and letting the germs do the dirty work.


    2. I am in favor of the Indians slaughtering the settlers.



    It should be remembered that a couple (none / 0) (#7)
    by scribe on Tue Dec 31, 2013 at 01:14:02 PM EST
    months back, Saudi Prince Bandar met with Putin to tryto persuade Putin to end his support in Syria.  Bandar's negotiating leverage was a pretty explicit threat that the Saudis controlled the Islamist terrists in Russia and they could either act, or not, in time for the Olympics depending, of course, on how Putin acted.

    Putin told him to pound sand.

    Prince Bandar was a great guy (none / 0) (#8)
    by fishcamp on Tue Dec 31, 2013 at 01:28:00 PM EST
    during his many visits to Aspen.  He had a 35 bedroom house that he finally sold.  It was even too big for him and he stayed in his giant guest house instead.  I was called upon to ski with him many times and he was an adequate skier that loved to out ski his body guards.  They semi-warned me not to do that...so I stopped.  His dinner parties were extremely lavish and he had better Persian carpets than the Shah of Iran had in his St. Moritz castle.

    And Al Capone liked opera (none / 0) (#9)
    by scribe on Tue Dec 31, 2013 at 03:07:05 PM EST
    Or, in short, so what that Bandar's a nice guy?  You didn't have anything he wanted, so there was no point in his showing you his real self.

    Very well said. (none / 0) (#12)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Dec 31, 2013 at 03:37:19 PM EST
    Real Self? (none / 0) (#26)
    by squeaky on Thu Jan 02, 2014 at 11:17:47 AM EST
    And you know him?

    Some think that Bandar exaggerates his influence and his presence, but his name shows up repeatedly in any recounting of the polit- ical events of the  past  twenty years in particular as a fixer of problems that cannot be solved in the open. According to an authoritative Israeli source, Ehud Barak thought that in many cases Bandar's intercession was more effective than that of  the American peacekeeping team. "At the end of  the day, who can deliver is who wins the battle," Bandar told me.  

    NYer (2003)

    Worth a read, imo..


    And meanwhile, his wife, ... (none / 0) (#14)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Tue Dec 31, 2013 at 05:03:32 PM EST
    ... the Princess Haifa al-Faisal (daughter of the late King Faisal), was abusing her own diplomatic status in this country by serving (albeit perhaps unwittingly) as a clandestine financial conduit for several of the Saudi 9/11 conspirators. Yeah, that Prince Bandar bin Sultan's a real peach.

    Personally, I think that the good prince is nothing more than a nattily-dressed war criminal and further, when it comes to our toxic relationship with the feudal barony that's Saudi Arabia, I'd offer that official Washington has all-too-conveniently looked the other way for far too long.



    It was just a story... (5.00 / 3) (#15)
    by fishcamp on Tue Dec 31, 2013 at 06:07:50 PM EST
    And you got jumped on (none / 0) (#18)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Dec 31, 2013 at 08:10:40 PM EST
    Sorry. I'll tell you how much I enjoyed my trip to Moscow in '68 and how nice the people were so you can jump back.

    Happy New Year, Fisherman. May your catches increase !


    It was a helluva story, fishcamp. (none / 0) (#19)
    by Mr Natural on Tue Dec 31, 2013 at 09:46:14 PM EST
    And I would agree with that (none / 0) (#17)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Dec 31, 2013 at 08:06:58 PM EST
    Thanks and Happy New Year. (none / 0) (#20)
    by fishcamp on Tue Dec 31, 2013 at 10:37:41 PM EST
    Yes (none / 0) (#21)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Jan 01, 2014 at 06:43:12 AM EST
    kind of ironic he's called Bandar Bush isn't it?