‘Boston bombing does not correspond with Chechen terrorists trace’

‘Boston bombing does not correspond with Chechen terrorists trace’
The Chechen ethnicity of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects is “misleading” as the militant groups of Russia’s North Caucasus wouldn’t be interested in striking the US, Matt Clements, a regional manager at the IHS information company, told RT.

Although evidence from the first interrogation allegedly suggests the suspects in the Boston Marathon attack were “motivated by religion” and “US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan” investigators are still struggling to understand the motives behind the deadly Boston bombing, maintaining the two had no evident ties to Islamist terror groups.

While the Tsarnaev brothers - like many Chechens - practiced Islam and appeared to have a strong sense of ethnic identity, neither of them was a religious fanatic according to their relatives and friends. The two had only spent a small and early portion of their lives in their homeland. Both were ethnic Chechens, but Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was born in Kyrgyzstan while brother Tamerlan was born in the Russian republic of Kalmykia.

By the time of the Boston attack, both brothers had been living in the United States for over a decade and it is unlikely they had direct links to militants in the North Caucasus, Matt Clements told RT.

RT:  Why would Chechen militants be interested in staging this attack in the US – a country that at the very least used to sympathize with Chechen armed groups?

Matt Clements: You’re right, they wouldn’t be interested in striking at the US. The Chechen ethnicity of the two suspects is somewhat misleading. Their actual time spent in the north Caucasus was relatively small.  I think the most likely outcome is that these guys are going to be self-radicalized rather than having direct links to militants in the North Caucasus.

Chechen militants in Grozny. January 1995. (RIA Novosti / Igor Mikhalev)

RT:How could that happen that the suspects got self-radicalized?

MC: There is a number of reasons for which people could get self-radicalized. The details surrounding Tamerlan and his younger brother are somewhat sketchy at the moment. Going in to too much detail would be to speculate too far. But there seems to be some signs around the older brother Tamerlan in particular to suggest that he was struggling to adapt to life in the US. Which is similar to previous people who became radicalized in this sort of way. Disengagement with society can often lead people to look for alternative sources. And radical Islam can be one of those factors which people turn to as a means to direct their lives.

RT:  What do you think about the FBI's failure to take proper action after Russia's warning over the eldest brother a couple of years ago? Why did that happen?

MC: Difficult to say what the FBI’s situation was back then, what they were able to find out about Tamerlan. But linking back to the north Caucasus, I think the difficulty we have here is that the North Caucasus militants themselves have little interest in striking targets in the US and the West more generally. They are very much locally focused. Their interest is creating an Islamic caliphate in the North Caucasus itself. In the last couple of years it stepped away from even launching attacks against civilians within other parts of Russia.

Doku Umarov, the leader of the Caucasus emirate ordered in Feb 2012 that civilians would no longer be targeted. And since the Domodedovo airport attack in January 2011 there haven’t been any major attacks in other parts of Russia. All of which suggests this group is no longer interested in operations beyond its co-area operations in North Caucasus. For them being suggested to have been making attacks in the US is quite a step for them, which is not likely at all.

Chechen rebel Doku Umarov. (AFP Photo / Ansar Aljihad)

RT:There are rumors that the attack could further see America or NATO putting its positioning more along the southern areas of Russia. Do you read any truth to that?

MC: I don’t think that the particular attacks in Boston would lead to any major realignment of the US major strategic, alignment globally. The plans that the US has regarding its military and other operations around the world are already likely to be in place. I don’t think that this attack itself, particularly because the links to NC are likely to be very minimal, would lead to US strategic thinking on that part.