Switching justifications for terrorism from oppression by Russia to carrying out jihad has proven to be a boon to Chechen rebel leader Doku Umarov.
Ellen Barry of the New York Times reports:
The separatist, Doku Umarov, last year revived a suicide battalion believed to be behind some of the most notorious attacks of the past decade, and then issued a warning in February that he was planning attacks in central Russia. In the recording released Wednesday, Mr. Umarov seemed to take pleasure in thrusting the bloody violence of the Caucasus upon the comfortable residents of the capital. "You Russians hear about the war on television and the radio," Mr. Umarov said on the video, apparently made hours after the subway blasts. "I promise you the war will come to your streets, and you will feel it in your own lives and on your own skin."
In assuming a public role and taunting Russia with his pronouncements, Mr. Umarov seemingly played into the hands of Prime Minister Vladimir V. Putin, offering evidence that the threat in the Caucasian republics was part of a broader Islamic insurgency that threatened Russia's security. That may provide Mr. Putin with a fresh rationale to pursue a take-no-prisoners policy in the Caucasus.
But the insurgents lacked a central figurehead, a role that Mr. Umarov now seems determined to seize for himself.
A totally separate issue is Putin's bloody, inhuman crackdown on separatists in the Caucasus. Umarov is simply using Putin's violent suppression of the Chechens as an excuse to carry out his jihad against the west:
"On the 11th of February, 2010, officers of the criminal formation known as the F.S.B. carried out an operation to destroy peaceful citizens," he said. "Any person who will condemn me for those operations, or who will accuse me of terrorism, I am laughing at those people. I can only grin, because I haven't heard that Putin was accused of terrorism for the murder of civilians who were killed at his order." The F.S.B. is Russia's security service.
In fact, the terrorist is right; Obama and the State Department have soft pedaled Putin's crimes against civilians, hoping not to sidetrack the START treaty. Chechen civilians are paying the price while the world turns the other way so as not to offend Putin and his puppet president Medvedev.