Smoke and Mirrors

The unconfirmed reports of the death of Caucasus Emirate leader Doku Umarov, together with the recently-released but unverified statement and video by a Dagestan-based group calling itself “Ansar al-Sunna” (Helpers of Sunna, a name it shares with Jamaat Ansar al-Sunna, a group based in Iraq), and claiming Umarov’s sponsorship and guidance in the Volgograd bombings, are increasing the uncertainty about Russia’s ability to maintain adequate security at the upcoming Sochi Winter Olympics.

Moscow sources have begun to make capital from the rumours, with one commentator pointing to a supposed link with the Syrian conflict and a threat to Russia from Saudi Arabia, which is said to have promised “internal complications” if Russia continues to support Syria’s Bashar Assad. The Saudi theme is an old one in Kremlin propaganda, which seeks to lay the blame for atrocities like the Beslan school siege at the door of the West, the CIA, and alleged “Saudi links”.

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