Friday, May 17, 2013

The New Great Game Round-Up #1

The Great Game Round-Up brings you the latest newsworthy developments regarding Central Asia and the Caucasus region.

This week we start with a story which was widely covered in the mainstream media:
US 'spy' Ryan Fogle expelled after CIA refused to stop recruiting, say Russians
He was caught while allegedly attempting to convince an FSB agent focused on fighting terrorism in the troubled north Caucasus to work for the CIA.
Russia highlighted that this is not an isolated case:
FSB Officer Complains of Repeated CIA Infiltration Attempts 
“Over the past two years we have been observing persistent attempts by the CIA to recruit employees of Russian law enforcement and security agencies,” the man said, with his face concealed and his voice altered to protect his identity, adding that in January a CIA officer had been expelled from Russia.

Next I want to draw your attention to new information about the main suspect in the Boston bombing, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, [emphasis mine]:
Tsarnaev met with aide to Chechen rebel leader before Boston attack
The main suspect in the Boston Marathon bombing – Tamerlan Tsarnaev – met with an aide to Chechen separatist leader Akhmed Zakayev in Manchester, New Hampshire, several weeks before the Boston attack, which killed three people and left more than 260 injured.
In Chechnya, Khadzhimuradov was known under the nick Spartak and served as a bodyguard to Chechen separatist leader Akhmed Zakayev, who is currently living in exile in London.
It's always interesting to notice which countries shelter these Chechen terrorists because as Sibel Edmonds pointed out:
"The largest concentrations of these active Chechen terrorists are in (in order): Turkey- A NATO member, Azerbaijan (Almost a NATO Member), Germany (a NATO Member), followed by Dubai- one of the closest US Allies in the Arab States, and Qatar-another very close US ally and partner in the Arab states."
Another Chechen leader, who didn't manage to escape the Russian security services and therefore is not living in exile in a NATO country or close U.S. ally, went on trial in Russia this week:
N.Caucasus Warlord Goes on Trial in South Russia
Ali Taziyev, also known by his alias Magas, is charged with setting up an armed militant group, illegal arms trafficking, terrorism, inciting a rebellion and attempted murder of a law enforcement officer. Charges against him also include 24 counts of terrorism.

Okay let us get back to Tamerlan and remember this interesting information:
Tamerlan Tsarnaev Attended CIA-sponsored Workshop
Tamerlan Tsarnaev attended a workshop sponsored by the CIA-linked Jamestown Foundation, Izvestia reports today (see English translation here). The Russian newspaper cites documents produced by the Counterintelligence Department Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia confirming that the NGO “Fund of Caucasus” held workshops in the summer of 2012 and Tsarnaev attended.
There are still a lot of questions regarding the Boston bombing and the involvement of Tamerlan Tsarnaev. But we can definitely say that the U.S. has always been the "The Creator & Sustainer of Chechen Terrorism" and the CIA plays a vital role in this.

So how is the current situation in Russia's North Caucasus? Well, we just need to look at two news headlines from today:
Police clash with militants in south Russia's Dagestan
Police Officer Wounded in Ingushetia Suicide Bombing
Meanwhile Russia continues its crackdown on radical Islamic groups:
Tatarstan's Supreme Court Disbands Muslim Group
And discusses the banning of Wahhabism:
Prohibition of Wahhabism
“Wahhabism, radical political Islamism as a broader concept, has become an integrated anti-Russian protest ideology that attracts enough powerful energy, of course, especially in Muslim areas, in regions of traditional spread of Islam. We cannot treat it calmly, graciously, not least because we see what is happening in the Muslim regions of North Africa and the Middle East.
But there are concerns about damaging the relations with Saudi Arabia and Qatar:
Some officials are afraid because of some business interest. They are afraid that a war with the same terrorists will break some mythical tranches from Saudi Arabia and Qatar, some transactions, will make it impossible to hold some events or to open some resorts.”

Russia should make a decision as soon as possible because the problem could get easily out of hand [emphasis mine]:
Russian analysts: immigrants, guest workers fertile ground for radical Islamism
Roman Silantyev, a religious research specialist and lecturer at one of Moscow's universities, suggested banning Wahhabism as an essential way to fend off the alleged threat of radical Islamism being disseminated in Russia.
"A ban would at least make this possible. Fortunately, it's still curable," he told the news conference.

The head of the Volga Centre for Regional and Ethno-Religious Studies of the Russian Institute of Strategic Studies, Rais Suleimanov, said radical Islamism is spreading in the Volga area and that this has brought into being a situation there that is similar to that in the North Caucasus 15 years ago.

"It seems that this scenario will reach Siberia, where hotbeds are arising already," he told the news conference.

Of course this problem is not limited to Russia. The Central Asian countries are also engaged in the fight against NATO/GCC-sponsored terror [emphasis mine]:
Alleged Leader Of Banned Islamic Group's Cell Arrested In Bishkek
Kyrgyzstan's State Committee for National Security said on May 16 that the 37-year-old man from the southern region of Jalal-Abad has been charged with inciting ethnic, racial, and religious hatred, the illegal possession and distribution of extremist materials, and the premeditated use of extremist symbols.
Hizb ut-Tahrir is a London-based Sunni political organization that seeks to unite all Muslim countries into an Islamic caliphate.
Six On Trial In Kazakhstan For Islamic Extremism
According to the prosecutor, the group planned to blow up the Opera and Ballet Theater in Astana and also to send financial support to Islamic insurgents in Russia's North Caucasus.
Uzbekistan tightens security because of terror risk
"In addition to the escalation of terrorist activity across the region and the world as a whole by groups that made a name with their previous [terrorist] acts in our country – the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan [IMU] and Salafist groups – we now have information that terrorists are grouping on the border of Afghanistan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan," he said though he declined to discuss specifics about the available intelligence data for security reasons. "This poses a danger to Uzbekistan."
The Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan is becoming increasingly powerful and popular. Nowadays they already manage to find sympathizers in the United States:
U.S. Police Arrest Uzbek In Terror Case
The indictment against him alleges that between August 2012 and May 2013, he knowingly conspired with others to provide support and resources, including computer software and money, to the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, a designated terrorist organization.
And some day the IMU might even become the new "al-Qaeda".