Friday, May 03, 2013

Inside Out

In EDM, Mairbek Vatchagaev writes that "locating Tamerlan’s ideological trajectory in the North Caucasus may prove to be little more than a distraction." He points out that, with impaired links to Chechen culture, Tsarnaev appears to have been relatively isolated from the Chechen world, and probably picked up his Islamist views in Boston, from local Salafists. This would account for his hostility to U.S. Middle East policy, and his choice of the U.S., rather than Russia, as the target for a terrorist attack.

The article also draws attention to the fact that it was only some time after the Boston attack that the potential North Caucasus link began to be mentioned, giving the Moscow authorities an opportunity to become involved in the investigation:
In all this tragedy, Moscow seems to consider itself a winner. President Vladimir Putin said at a press conference that Russia had long sought cooperation from the US in the field of international terrorism (www.golos-ameriki.ru/content/putins-live-show/1648501.html). There was more of a reprimand of the US in Putin’s words than an admission of Russia’s own guilt for the attack in Boston. Moscow interprets terrorism in quite broad terms and includes everyone who is dissatisfied with the Russian political system and seeks to secede from Russia.
It has been observed that one point not addressed in the piece - though raised obliquely in one passage - is the question of whether Tamerlan Tsarnaev might have been a Russian agent.

Meanwhile, an RFE/RL report considers the role social media may have played in interactions between Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and his Kazakh college friends Dias Kadyrbaev and Azamat Tazhayakov:
The vKontakte post by Kadyrbaev is striking mostly because of its timing. When it was posted there had already been reports of a shoot-out that had left one suspect dead and another on the run, but at the time, most of the world -- perhaps including police -- would still not have been able to connect a name to the grainy image of suspect no. 2 being shown on television screens. Kadyrbaev though, had allegedly already known for up to nine hours.

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