Friday, April 02, 2010


The NYT continues to surprise. It might be that this kind of analysis appears because it is a discussion of Russia and not the US. Or maybe in the US, one has to speak between the lines and this was merely smuggled into the NYT. At any rate, this is a rare analysis to be found in the NYT. It doesn't, as they say, fit the the dominant narrative.

ALMOST every month for the past two years, Chechen suicide bombers have struck.But do we really understand what drives young women and men to strap explosives. The three of us, in our work for the Chicago Project on Security and Terrorism, have analyzed every Chechen suicide attack

few of the suicide bombers profess religious motives. Something is driving,it is hardly global jihad.

As we have discovered in our research on Lebanon, the West Bank, Iraq, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and elsewhere, suicide terrorist campaigns are almost always a last resort against foreign military occupation

“black widows” — women who have lost a husband, child or close relative to the “occupation” and killed themselves on missions to even the score

“They do not accept being humiliated and living under occupation.”

“The Russians think the war is distant,” he said. “Blood will not only spill in our towns and villages but also it will spill in their towns

“This is the land of our brothers and it is our sacred duty to liberate these lands.

What explains the three-year pause in suicide bombing?
  • Russians pursued a robust hearts-and-minds program
  • killed significantly fewer civilians.
  • Amnesty was granted to insurgents

Russians then over-reached
  • stamp out the remaining militants
  • ambitious counterterrorism
  • rebels were abducted and imprisoned
  • forced confessions and coerced testimony
  • claims of extensive torture and executions
  • [Russia]suppress knowledge of its policies through official lies, obstruction and witness intimidation.”

Chechen suicide terrorism is strongly motivated by both direct military occupation by Russia and by indirect military occupation by pro-Russia Chechen

any realistic solution
  • must improve the legitimacy of Chechnya’s core social institutions
  • free and fair elections
  • adopting internationally accepted standards of humane conduct
  • equally distributing the region’s oil revenues

No political solution would resolve every issue. But quelling the rebellion with in its security interests

as Chechens feel themselves under occupation, the cycle of violence will continue

On the way home this day, I rode for a while behind this bumper sticker: Si quieres la paz, lucha por la justicia

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