Monday, March 29, 2010

Breaking News:

Two female suicide bombers, who's explosives were packed with metal rods and bars, detonated their devices 45 minutes apart in two Moscow subway stops this morning, killing at least 38, and injuring over 100.

If the FSB claims are to be believed, the bombers were tied to the northern Caucuses -- Chechnya. The bombers appear to be from the elite "Black Widow" squads of the Chechen Insurgency.

If the FSB is right, it appears that Doku Umarov has made real his threat that:

"Blood will no longer be limited to our (Caucasus) cities and towns. The war is coming to their cities."
the Chechen rebel leader made those remarks during in an interview on the unofficial Islamist website

This attack, while horrific in and of itself, will have far reaching impacts on the Russian government. It is a direct challenge to Vladimir Putin's strong-man image -- something that Mr. Putin will respond to in a direct, violent, and unflinching way.

Mr. Putin's immediate response?

(more after the jump)

from Reuters:
"A crime that is terrible in its consequences and heinous in its manner has been committed," Putin told emergency officials in a video call.
"I am confident that law enforcement bodies will spare no effort to track down and punish the criminals. Terrorists will be destroyed."
But Mr. Putin must be careful here. An over-reaction and vast military campaign reminiscent of the Grozny battles of the 90's will not destroy the Chechen separatists, but rather, drive more of the hearts and minds away from Moscow, and motivate the Chechen dyaspora to lend material support and aid to the fighters who have taken to the hills.

Beyond the Chechen movement, a new front against Islamic militants in central Asia has the possibilities of drawing large numbers of foreign fighters into the campaign -- not unlike the first and second Chechen wars.

If Mr. Putin seeks to eliminate the threat from Chechen separatists, he must fight a smart counter insurgency with effective counter-terror strategies. If he wants to battle an intractable conflict with a poly-glot radical alliance of Islamists, he should send in the tanks.

We'll see what happens.

D&D's hearts and thoughts go out to the people of Moscow today, because today we are all Muscovites.


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