U.S.-Russia Relations After Boston

In Novoye Vremya, three Russian political analysts are asked how the events surrounding the Tsarnaev brothers will affect Russia-U.S. relations [my tr.]:

Vyacheslav Nikonov, President of the “Politika” Foundation:

They will have a bad effect.  When I saw the reports  about Boston, I immediately thought that a “Chechen trace” would definitely be found.  It’s not for nothing that  Kadyrov was included on the “Magnitsky list” .

Igor Bunin, Director-General of the Center for Political Technologies:

The most significant thing is that  Russia immediately showed sympathy for the United States, and offered its moral support. I would draw  attention to the reaction of Putin, who immediately expressed his condolences and, having flown in [to Sochi] for a  U.S- Russia hockey tournament, organized a minute of silence. This was reminiscent of the situation on September 11  2001, when  Putin was one of the first [leaders] to support the United States in the fight against terrorism. And now, making use of the same theme, he  is trying to repair relations with the United States. Back then, however, the U.S. was able to provide real assistance in connection with  the Afghan “Northern Alliance”… with which our FSB had close ties …

This time an offer of  assistance is more difficult, as it’s unclear how it should be expressed. Most probably, the suspects are linked to “Al-Qaeda”. But the fact that they came from the Russian hinterland has almost no significance. For example, Osama bin Laden, the world’s biggest terrorist, came from Saudi Arabia, but the U.S. did not then sever relations with Saudi Arabia.

Dmitry Trenin, Director of the Carnegie Moscow Center:

I don’t think relations between the U.S. and Russia will alter dramatically. In Russia there are very powerful circles that promote anti-Americanism. and in the United States there are those who deny the legitimacy of the current Russian government.

In America, the majority of public opinion doesn’t perceive what we call “Chechen and North Caucasus terrorism” as a problem of international terrorism. When people [in the West] talk about international terrorism, they’re referring to September 11, 2001 in New York, July 7, 2005 in London, March 11, 2004 in Madrid – they’re not talking about what has happened in Moscow and other Russian cities, such as the apartment bombings and subway terrorist attacks, they don’t see those as an international issue, but rather as a purely internal Russian one. The Russian leadership aims to see to it that that terrorists operating on Russian territory also qualify as international terrorists in the West.

Breivik as author

From IslamRF.ru:

Всякий, кто когда-нибудь хоть немного занимался тем, что называют наукой, например, писал (а не скачивал) добротный реферат, понимает – создать подобное без определённой подготовки или помощи «компетентных друзей» невозможно. Есть основания сделать более радикальное предположение – манифест Брейвика писал не он.

Скорее всего, данную книгу, несущую лёгкий «закос» под любительство, а на самом деле сбитую весьма профессионально, делал хорошо подготовленный коллектив. Возможно, Брейвик её читал, возможно, какие-то фрагменты вставлял сам – но слишком многое сказано не им.

Но от его имени.

От имени массового убийцы и террориста, не дрожащей рукой расстрелявшего десятки ни в чём не повинных молодых людей, от имени психопата-нациста, ещё и похваляющегося своим поступком.


Oslo bomb blast and Utøya shooting – 2

At a Norway police press conference on July 23 national police chief Sveinung Sponheim said that Breivik has made Internet postings which “suggest that he has some political traits directed toward the right, and anti-Muslim views, but if that was a motivation for the actual act remains to be seen”.  During the conference the term “Christian fundamentalist” was used.

If the Oslo blast was caused by a vehicle bomb, it could not have been assembled in a private apartment, but must have been prepared elsewhere, either in the city or outside it. Vehicle bombs are widely used for terrorism not only in Pakistan, Afghanistan and the Middle East but also in the North Caucasus, which leads one to speculate that as there are several thousand Chechen and Ingush radicals living in Norway, there can be no shortage of experts in the field, and the individuals or group who organized the July 22 bombing must have got their expertise from somewhere. However, such speculation is probably misguided, at least at this stage.

Document.no has posted a list of all the comments Breivik has left on its site. There is a Google-ish English translation here.

A second shooter may still be at large.

The death toll continues to mount.

Berlingske reports that Breivik gave himself up voluntarily to Norwegian police.

Oslo bomb blast and Utøya shooting


There has been a mass shooting at the AUF (Norwegian Labour Party youth section) summer camp on the lake island of Utøya near Oslo. A man dressed as a policeman who arrived by boat was reported to be firing an automatic weapon. A large force of anti-terror police was said to be on the way to the site of the shooting. Sky News reports that ambulances were unable to reach the island, as shooting was still going on. There are some 560 teenagers participating in the camp. Some tried to escape the island by swimming in the very cold waters of the lake. Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg was due to speak at an event on the island either today or tomorrow.Latest reports speak of panic situation and many shot and killed. Sky reports that the shooter has now been apprehended, and interrogation will follow.

There are echoes of Beslan, Mumbai, and London. But the motive for the attacks remains unclear.

Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg has said that “Norway finds itself in a very serious situation.” A crisis meeting of ministers has been called. Is it a 9/11 moment?

There are unconfirmed reports (NRK, AP) of over 20 bodies on Utøya.

Some reports indicate that the Utøya gunman is a male of Nordic appearance – but the significance of this is unclear. It will be recalled, for example, that Alexander Tikhomirov (Said Buryatsky), killed in 2010, was an ethnic Russian convert to Islam who recruited and trained terrorists in Russia’s North Caucasus.

The official Utøya death toll has now risen to at least 84, and the events appear to constitute a large-scale massacre.

The man being held by Norwegian police on suspicion of carrying out the shootings is 32-year-old Anders Behring Breivik, a member of an extreme right-wing organization, Aftenposten reports. English-language link here.

A representative of Norway’s Police Security Service (PST) has said that a violent action of this kind by right-wing extremists has long been feared, noting that there are links between Norwegian extremists and groups elsewhere in Europe, including Russia.

In the comments at Harry’s Place, Dorthea has posted a quick translation of an article from Verdens Gang:

A childhood friend of Breivik tells VG Nett that Breivik became right-wing in his late 20’s, and posted a series of controversial opinions on Facebook. His profile was deactivated after a while.

Anders Behring Breivik marks himself in online debate forums as well read, and one with strong opinions about Norwegian politics. He promotes a very conservative opinions, which he himself claims to be nationalistic. He also expresses himself strongly opposed to multiculturalism – that cultural differences can live together in a community.
Breivik once had many posts on the site Document.no, an Islam-critical site that publishes news and commentary.
In one of the posts he states that politics today no longer revolves around socialism against capitalism, but that the fight is between nationalism and internationalism. He expressed clear support for the nationalist mindset.
Anders Breivik Behring has also commented on the Swedish news articles, where he makes it clear that he believes the media have failed by not being “enough” Islam-critical.
Six days ago he released his first and only message on the social networking site Twitter, where he laid out a famous quote by British philosopher John Stuart Mill. “One person with a belief is equal to the force of 100 000 WHO garden only interests.”
On Facebook Breivik stated that he is the director of his own company Geofarm. Breivik established firm GeoFarm in 2009, and stated that the company should engage in the cultivation of vegetables, roots and tubers. The company in this industry you can get access to large amounts of fertilizer. He claims he has an education in finance and religion, but does not disclose what universities he should have studied at. The only school he gives are Oslo Handel – listed as his high school.
All pictures on your Facebook profile is now available were published as late as 17th July this year. All posts on the wall was published on 17 and 18 July.
32-year-old is among other things, registered as a member of Oslo gun club and the Masonic Lodge. Among other interests he expresses his admiration for Winston Churcill, classical music and Max Manus (Norwegian movie about WW2).
The 32-year-old man has been active in video games and has been involved in the online game World of Warcraft. In connection with this game, he posted a picture of a gun.

Not terrorism, but an act of God

Writing in ej.ru, analysts Andrei Soldatov and Irina Borogan suggest that by placing the blame for the Domodedovo tragedy on lax airport security, the Kremlin has finally come out into the open and has opted to classify terrorist acts of this kind as natural disasters rather than planned attacks. The security services will no longer work to find the culprits, but will hide behind a mask of official impenetrability, making the guardianship of “security” their number one priority instead.

Medvedev, Chechnya and Hamas

Russian President Reaches Out to Hamas despite Links between Chechen and Palestinian Terror Groups

As indirect peace talks take off between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said this week that Iran-backed Hamas should play a role in the peace process.[1] Medvedev made the announcement May 12, a day after meeting in Damascus with Hamas political leader Khaled Meshal.[2]

Russia’s overtures to Hamas come despite Israel’s support for Russian counterterrorism operations against Chechen separatist groups.[3] Expressing disappointment over Russia’s behavior, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said, “Just as Israel unconditionally supported Russia in her struggle against Chechen terror, we expect equal treatment in our struggle against Hamas.”[4]

Chechen terrorists share some of the basic jihadist goals and characteristics of their Palestinian counterparts such as Hamas. For years, Chechnya-based terrorist groups have attacked Russian civilian and military targets, killing thousands. Similarly, Hamas and other Iran-backed Palestinian organizations launched a years-long campaign of bombings and rocket and missile attacks against Israelis. Carrying out suicide bombings against civilians is also a tactic common to both groups.[5]

Russia, along with the United States, the European Union and the United Nations, is a member of the Middle East Quartet, the international body involved in brokering a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians.[6] Russia is also part of the “P5+1,” the permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany negotiating with Iran to prevent the Islamic Republic from developing nuclear weapons.[7]

Iran trains, arms and funds Hamas, which has been designated a terrorist organization by the European Union, the United States, Israel, Canada and Australia.[8] Russia, however, has not labeled Hamas a terrorist organization.[9]

Following is background on ties between Chechen and Palestinian terrorist groups.

  • Iran-backed Hamas has expressed ideological solidarity with Chechen terrorists. For example, Hamas distributed a poster inside a propaganda CD juxtaposing headshots of former Chechen terrorist leaders Ibn al-Khattab and Shamil Basayev alongside those of former Hamas leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin and al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden.[10] Basayev claimed responsibility for the 2004 Beslan school massacre, in which 186 children and about 150 other hostages were killed.[11]

  • Another image of Chechen terrorist leader Al-Khattab, killed by Russian authorities in 2002, appears on a CD that Hamas distributed. The text says of al-Khattab, “Oh hero, who disappeared from the land of jihad, your eyes covered with a tearful veil of dreams. Allah relieved you of [life in] a time when everything is upside down…”[12]

  • A CD titled “The Russian Hell” that Hamas distributed at two West Bank universities and a Hamas-linked orphanage shows footage of fighting in Chechnya and a jihadist sermon.[13] Comments in the CD include a statement that “fire awaits [the Russian soldiers] in the next world, and the Chechens in this world,” and Chechen rebels are called “jihad warriors.”[14]

  • The Israel Defense Forces in 2005 found a brochure supporting Chechen separatism titled “Chechnya: an excellent people and their hopes,” inside a Hamas “Islamic club” in the West Bank. The back of the brochure displays an image of the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem above a picture of Chechen fighters, along with text that states, “From Al-Aqsa to Grozny [the capital of Chechnya], darkness disperses and dawn rises.” The brochure’s introduction encourages the Palestinians’ “brothers” in Chechnya to “follow the path of jihad.” The brochure also includes an article by a Hamas-affiliated professor of Islamic law justifying Chechen terrorism.[15]

  • A jihadist Web site mainly focused on Palestinian militancy and likely produced by Hamas – “AqsaTube” – featured a video of the life of former Chechen terrorist leader al-Khattab. A Russian Internet company began hosting the site after it was removed by a French company that had previously hosted it.[16]

  • Hamas’ official Web site posted a fatwa (religious edict) authored by a Chechen-Muslim cleric justifying suicide bombings alongside similar fatwas by Arab-Muslim clerics.[17]

  • The spokesman of the Abu Rish Brigades, a Fatah splinter group that has collaborated with Hamas, said, “Our banner is jihad everywhere, even Chechnya. Our aim is to liberate every piece of land in Palestine, including what is now called Israel.”[18]

  • Asbat al-Ansar, a Lebanon-based terrorist group connected with Palestinian terrorist Munir Maqdah who has said the group is ideologically similar to Hamas,[19] has dispatched fighters to Chechnya. In 2000, two terrorists from the group – one of whom was Palestinian and said he was “sacrificing himself for Chechnya”– attacked the Russian embassy in Beirut using rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs), killing a Lebanese police officer.[20]

  • At the beginning of the Second Intifada in 2000, Chechen terrorist leader Basayev offered to send 150 Chechen mujahedeen (holy warriors) to Palestine to assist with jihadist activities there. He subsequently offered to pay $1,000 to the families of Palestinian “martyrs.” Said Basayev, “The Sharia (Islamic law) requires us to assist those Muslims who are struggling to free the sacred places of Islam—the city of al-Quds [Jerusalem] and the al-Aqsa Mosque. Those belong to all Muslims, regardless of their nation or ethnic group. It is a clear duty of all Muslims to help the Palestinians." Basayev also said the Russian army “had Jews in military ranks both as soldiers and engineers.”[21] “We ask Allah to destroy the heartless Jews and their allies,” Basayev said.[22]

  • Chechen separatists and Palestinian terrorists have at times shared common sources of funding. For example, in 2001 Egyptian authorities arrested a popular Muslim cleric who raised about $1 million distributed to various terrorist groups, including Hamas as well as Chechen fighters. Said a lawyer for another suspect in the case, “The government says this is not just for families or social aid, but was buying weapons for jihad, for Hamas and for Chechnya.”[23]

  • In 2000, then-Hamas leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin likened the goals of Chechen separatists to Palestinian terrorists when he addressed a Hamas rally in Gaza in support of Chechen rebel groups. About 200 Hamas activists showed up to the demonstration. At about the same time, Israeli newspapers reported that Hamas had planned to bomb a Jerusalem high-rise apartment in an attempt to emulate a 1999 Chechen attack on a Moscow apartment building.[24]


[1] Ravid, Barak, “Israel to Russia: Hamas is like the Chechen terrorists,” Haaretz, May 12, 2010, http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/israel-to-russia-hamas-is-like-the-chechen-terrorists-1.289918

[2] “Medvedev to Hamas: Work quickly for Shalit deal,” Haaretz, May 11, 2010, http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/medvedev-to-hamas-work-quickly-for-shalit-deal-1.289668

[3] Bourtman, Ilya, “Putin and Russia’s Middle Eastern Policy,” Middle East Review of International Affairs, June 2006, http://meria.idc.ac.il/journal/2006/issue2/jv10no2a1.html

[4] Ravid, Barak, “Israel to Russia: Hamas is like the Chechen terrorists,” Haaretz, May 12, 2010, http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/israel-to-russia-hamas-is-like-the-chechen-terrorists-1.289918

[5] “Hamas terrorist attacks,” Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, March 22, 2004, http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Terrorism-+Obstacle+to+Peace/Terror+Groups/Hamas+terror+attacks+22-Mar-2004.htm; IDF Spokesperson’s Unit communiqué, Jan. 3, 2009; “Female suicide bombers blamed in Moscow subway attacks,” CNN, March 29, 2010, http://www.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/europe/03/29/russia.subway.explosion/index.html

[6] “Russia rebuffs Israeli rebuke over open relations with Hamas,” Reuters via Haaretz, May 13, 2010, http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/russia-rebuffs-israeli-rebuke-over-open-relations-with-hamas-1.290241

[7] Sturdee, Simon, “World powers discuss Iran as sanctions pressure grows,” AFP, Sept. 2, 2009, http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5g0V4v_KwXli-4rmoRMCcWFdszrMA

[8] "Council Decision," Council of the European Union, Dec. 21, 2005; "Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs)," U.S. Department of State Web site, Oct. 11, 2005, http://www.state.gov/s/ct/rls/fs/37191.htm; Wilson, Scott, "Hamas Sweeps Palestinian Elections, Complicating Peace Efforts in Mideast," The Washington Post , Jan. 27, 2006, accessed Jan. 18, 2006,
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/01/26/AR2006012600372.html; Public Security and Emergency Preparedness Canada, National Security, Listed entities, accessed Jan. 18, 2007, http://www.psepc.gc.ca/prg/ns/le/cle-en.asp#hhi18; "Listing of Terrorist Organisations," Australian Government Web site, May 24, 2007, http://www.nationalsecurity.gov.au/agd/www/nationalsecurity.nsf/AllDocs/95FB057CA3DECF30CA256FAB001F7FBD?OpenDocument

[9] “Terrorist Organization Profile: Hamas,” National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism, http://www.start.umd.edu/start/data/tops/terrorist_organization_profile.asp?id=49, accessed May 14, 2010

[10] “Russian president invites Hamas to Moscow,” Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, Feb. 10, 2006, http://www.terrorism-info.org.il/malam_multimedia/html/final/eng/eng_n/html/hamas_moscow_e.htm

[11] Osborn, Andrew, “Russians claim killing of rebel Basayev, the Beslan butcher,” The Independent (UK), July 11, 2006; “Putin meets angry Beslan mothers,” BBC News, Sept. 2, 2005, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4207112.stm

[12] “The Internet and terrorism: a week after AqsaTube was removed from the Internet, it returned in a similar format and with support from a Russian company,” Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, Oct. 22, 2008, http://www.terrorism-info.org.il/malam_multimedia/English/eng_n/html/mt_e005.htm

[13] “Russian president invites Hamas to Moscow,” Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, Feb. 10, 2006, http://www.terrorism-info.org.il/malam_multimedia/html/final/eng/eng_n/html/hamas_moscow_e.htm

[14] Nahmias, Roee, “What Putin doesn’t know about Hamas,” YnetNews, Feb. 10, 2006, http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3214119,00.html

[15] “Shamil Basayev, leader of the Chechen separatists and responsible for the Beslan school massacre, was killed by the Russian security forces.His organization is identified with Al-Qaeda and the global jihad. Hamas identifies with and is inspired by Chechen separatist ideology,” Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, July 19, 2006, http://www.terrorism-info.org.il/malam_multimedia/English/eng_n/html/hamas_ch_e.htm

[16] “The Internet and terrorism: a week after AqsaTube was removed from the Internet, it returned in a similar format and with support from a Russian company,” Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, Oct. 22, 2008, http://www.terrorism-info.org.il/malam_multimedia/English/eng_n/html/mt_e005.htm; Thorold, Crispin, “Jihad website AqsaTube goes offline,” BBC News, Oct. 15, 2008, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7672162.stm

[17] “Hamas identifies with and supports Chechen and international Islamic terrorism on CDs found in the Palestinian Authority-administered territories. The CDs are distributed by Hamas to Palestinian youth in various educational institutions,” Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, September 2004, http://www.terrorism-info.org.il/malam_multimedia//ENGLISH/GLOBAL%20JIHAD/PDF/SEP9_04.PDF

[18] Levitt, Matthew, “Putin’s New Friends: Moscow Hosts Hamas,” Washington Institute for Near East Policy, March 19, 2007, http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/print.php?template=C06&CID=1038; “Terrorist Organization Profile: Abu al-Rish Brigades,” National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism, http://www.start.umd.edu/start/data/tops/terrorist_organization_profile.asp?id=4664, accessed May 12, 2010

[19] Abedin, Mahan, “Ein Al-Hilweh: A fruitless search for al-Qaeda,” Asia Times Online, Jan. 7, 2010, http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/LA07Ak02.html

[20] Murphy, Paul J. (2004), The wolves of Islam: Russia and the faces of Chechen terror, Dulles, Va.: Brassey’s Inc., p. 213; Fisk, Robert, “Chechen allies open fire on Russian embassy in Beirut,” The Independent (UK), Jan. 24, 2000, http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/chechen-allies-open-fire-on-russian-embassy-in-beirut-727331.html

[21] McGregor, Andrew, “Distant Relations: Hamas and the Mujahideen of Chechnya,” The Jamestown Foundation, http://www.jamestown.org/single/?no_cache=1&tx_ttnews[tt_news]=3166

[22] Riebling, Mark; Eddy, R.P., “Jihad@Work,” National Review Online, Oct. 24, 2002, http://old.nationalreview.com/comment/comment-riebling102402.asp

[23] Schneider, Howard, “Egypt Steps Up Prosecutions Of Fundraisers for Militants; Now in Military Court, Scholar May Face Death Penalty,” The Washington Post, Nov. 12, 2001, accessed via Lexis-Nexis

[24] Copans, Laurie, “Reports: Palestinian militants mimicked Chechen bombings in planned attack,” AP, Feb. 23, 2000, accessed via Lexis-Nexis; Bhattacharji, Preeti, “Backgrounder: Chechen Terrorism (Russia, Chechnya, Separatist),” Council on Foreign Relations, April 8, 2010, http://www.cfr.org/publication/9181/chechen_terrorism_russia_chechnya_separatist.html?breadcrumb=/publication/by_type/backgrounder