Moscow - The Sochi Olympic Games are the most important sporting event in the upcoming weeks. Unfortunately, the possibility of a terrorist attack is too high to ignore. The Islamic Brigade of Chechen separatist Dokka Umarov (presumed dead many times but still alive and kicking) was responsible for two terrorist attacks in Volgograd, well before the Games in late December, causing 34 casualties. Yesterday, the Islamic group Vilayat Daghestan sent a video threat to Vladimir Putin. The footage, which is almost an hour long, shows two men talking while holding their Kalashnikov rifles.
The Russian intelligence service classified the threat as credible. There is a clear indication of the American reaction in the concerned statement of Mike Rogers, Chairman of the Intelligence Committee of the USA Congress who stated: “there is some reluctance of the Russians to share this intelligence with us”. China, a Russian ally, is joining the scene as well. The Peking intelligence services are reviewing with Moscow a possible list of at least 10 targets. For instance, Frankfurt airport is on the list, since it is the main junction of almost all world routes, and will be especially busy during the winter Games. The list also includes the three Moscow airports (Sheremetyevo, Domodedovo and Vnukovo) as well as Sochi airport. Another hot target is the Fisht Olympic Stadium, that will host the Olympic Games opening ceremony on February 6th.
There are also fears of a bomb attack on the subway linking the Adler Olympic Village and the Krasnaya Polyana venue. The new railway line Moscow-Adler is not considered safe either. It is possible that terrorists may attack one of the 36 hotels or 14 shopping malls of Krasnaya Polyana and Estosadok, the towns where most competitions will be held. It is almost impossible to take any prevention or precaution measures when faced with suicide bombers, or four black widows looking for martyrdom (the news comes from Moscow), who try to blow themselves up in a crowded supermarket or in the lobby of a hotel. However, Putin flexes his muscles and quotes the numbers of jets and anti-air missile batteries. He underlines that 30,000 policemen have been mobilized, including bomb disposal canine units and 2,000 civil protection officers. Unfortunately, the area is too big to control and Umarov’s men have eluded all surveillance so far, in a rather sadistic dress rehearsal.
Yet there are those who argue that all this deployment of forces, which will cost around 2.5 billion Euros to the Russian taxpayers, may have been avoided. The Lebanese newspaper As Safir reported an altercation that took place in Moscow in the first week of August between Putin and the Prince Bandar Bin Sultan, the leader of the intelligence service of Saudi Arabia. During his official visit, Bandar promised Putin that he would control the jihadist militants in the Caucasus, if Russia kept its distance from the Assad regime in Syria. The Russian President interpreted this as blatant blackmail and the blunt “no” from the Kremlin may have caused the dire consequences that are now visible.