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30 Mar, 2010 07:53

Metro attacks are likely to have Caucasus track – Carnegie Center analyst

“The most probable option is connected with guerrillas of northern Caucasus,” Nikolay Petrov, a political analyst from the Moscow Carnegie Center, told RT when asked who was behind the Moscow Metro attacks.

“Perhaps, it’s too early to make a final conclusion, but, to my mind, it’s pretty evident that there was a pretty well-organized force behind the attack if you look at the scale, at timing, at places where it was organized,” explains the analyst.

Referring to the two tactics the government has so far been using to fight terrorism, Petrov says, they might be counter-productive this time.

“One [scenario] was to intensify pressure on suspicious guys everywhere, not only in the Northern Caucuses. Another was to make tougher controls over political development, like after the Beslan terror attacks,” he noted.

Petrov says that the recent shift of the Kremlin to a more business-like model of trying to negotiate with the major groups and clans is much more effective.

“The problem is that the authorities do want results now, and there is no way to achieve fast results,” Petrov concluded.

Some observers are casting doubt that yesterday's bombings are directly linked with Al-Qaeda. Yet, as British author and policy analyst Anatol Lieven explains, all terror groups are connected in a global network.

“This is not an immigrant problem in Russia, I mean it’s a migrant problem in Moscow,” Lieven told RT. “The bulk of these people are Russian citizens from the North Caucasus. International Islamist forces are allied with them and stand behind them. But just as in Britain the perpetrators of 7/7 in 2005 were not international Islamists, they were British Muslims, citizens, who then went to Pakistan to train. That of course is much more difficult to stop; it’s not a question of stopping people at the borders.”

Russian authorities are convinced that North Caucasus extremists are to blame. Political analyst Dmitry Babich from “Russia Profile’ magazine is hoping that the recent blasts will not lead to more violence.

“I work close to the site of one of yesterday bombings and yesterday I got so many calls from my Muslim friends who were all concerned about me,” Babich told RT. “And I know that some of my Russian friends have become more careful in dealings with Muslims trying not to offend them. I hope people understand that this is exactly the reaction that terrorist wanted to trigger, to see Christians and Muslims fighting each other in Russia, or at least looking at each other with suspicion.”

Dr Walid Phares, a professor and commentator on global terrorism and Middle Eastern affairs, says the bombings are not just a domestic affair for Russia. He maintains that they are a part of international terrorism directed against the world's democracies.

“This is a campaign waged by Jihadi forces some of which are inside the borders of Russia,” Phares said RT. “Other parts – it’s like the tip of the iceberg – are also found in other places funding this. Not only do we have the threats by the leader of the Caucasus Jihadists – Mister Umarov – but we also had statements made and attitude developed by Jihadists made as far as Pakistan, Afghanistan, North Africa, even in the West in support of this activity. So, Russia has been hit by international terrorism."