The US may be shocked that the terrorist suspects behind the Boston bombings are Chechen natives, but Russia has long cautioned Washington about giving asylum to Islamists from the North Caucasus, political analyst Dmitry Babich told RT.
Two bombs exploded in Boston during the city’s Marathon on April 15, killing 3 people and injuring 176 others.
The suspects in the attack were identified as Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, and his brother Dzhokhar, 19, Chechen natives, who lived in the US for some time. The elder brother was killed in a stand-off with police on Thursday, while the younger one is still at large.
The Voice of Russia radio station’s political analyst, Dmitry Babich, believes that it’s time for the West to understand that the Islamist activity in the North Caucasus is a threat not only to Russia, but the US and Europe as well.
RT: Much is being made of the links of those men to the Caucasus where they briefly lived. How important a factor might this be?
Dmitry Babich: Well, I think that indeed it’s a surprise for many people that these two men happened to be out of North Caucasus. But I think it’s not very surprising because, actually, the Russian government has warned a lot about the kind of refugees, about the kind of immigrants that the US and Western European countries are ready to accept. I mean I didn’t interview these people in Europe or in the US, but read a lot of reports from Russian reporters and from Western reporters actually interviewing those people. And a lot of them didn’t change their convictions. A lot of them are die-hard Islamists. They didn’t change after leaving Russia and I can easily imagine that a lot of them consider both Russia and the US parts of the same western decadent civilization. In this situation they can wage their jihad not necessarily in a place like Syria or Iraq, but also in the US.
RT: Why would these men turn on a country which gave them asylum? DB:
Unfortunately, it happened in many countries that people, who got asylum in the West later turned against their hosts and against their benefactors. It’s enough to remember that Ayatollah Khamenei, the founder of modern Iran, was a political refugee in France before he came back as a victor to Iran. If you expect any kind of gratitude and thankful thinking from these people you’re dead wrong. Most of the jihadists are egotists in their convictions. They think that they have the right to ascertain their convictions, they have the right to commit violence acts if they feed their cause. And their cause is the creation of this Islamic State. Maybe it could be an Islamic State in the North Caucasus. It could be a universal Islamic Caliphate. But that’s their thinking and I’m afraid in Boston they are dealing with exactly that kind of thinking.
RT: How would you assess levels of home-grown terrorism in the US right now? DB: It’s very hard for me to speak from Russia about the level of terrorism in the US, but I think that for many years it was clear that the foreign policy was, at least, strange. Although Russia never made any hostile moves towards the US since 1987, probably – since Gorbachev came to power – the US continues suspecting Russia of having different values. And it always supported groups, sometimes militant Islamic groups, which challenged Russia. I mean, of course, president Clinton didn’t support the Chechen separatists, but then if you read the American press of the time and if you read even certain articles, which appeared on the website of the New York Times today, you can see a lot of simplistic thinking about the so-called Chechen Uprising and the Islamist groups in the North Caucasus. The American newspapers say that Russia is to blame for all of these terrorist activities. Well, I don’t agree with that. I think that Russia was actually fighting a genuine international Islamism threat in the North Caucasus, at least, during the second Chechen War (in 1999-2000). Obviously, this Islamist activity in the North Caucasus is not only a threat to Russia. It’s also a threat to the US. It’s also a threat to Europe, but somehow the Western countries just refuse to recognize it.
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