Russia is in preparations to become the mother of all Olympic games in advance of their first-ever turn at hosting the Winter Olympics. Spending over 50 billion dollars, they are creating a Winter Wonderland for athletes participating in Sochi as they transform the popular Black Sea resort into a winter oasis. Officials are going so far as to store snow under thermal covers in the event there is not enough for competition. The favorite vacation destination for President Putin, he is determined that the Olympics in Sochi will be successful.
It seems that someone has forgotten that phrase, “Location, Location, Location”.
Sochi is located at the foot of the Caucasus Mountains – Europe’s highest mountain range that includes Chechnya and Dagestan-homeland to the Tsarnaev brothers (aka -the Boston Islamic bombers). Sochi is also bordered by Georgia, with whom Russia was engaged in a brief war in 2008, and of which there has been no restoration of formal diplomatic relations. Georgia, however, has accepted Putin’s offer to take a role in security. There have been concerns, voiced by some observers that Islamic militants from Russia who have fought together with Syrian rebels could return home and try to take revenge against Russia for its support of Syrian President Bashar Assad. Security will be unprecedented. Drones will be overhead, robotics will be searching for explosives throughout different sporting venues, high-speed boats will be on the Black Sea, and tens of thousands of extra police will be deployed to provide security. Anyone wishing to attend the Sochi Winter Games will be asked to voluntarily register personal details with the Russian authorities first, according to organizing committee head Dmitry Chernyshenko, to certify “he is a well-behaved fan”. Russian officials have said that they have taken all necessary precautions to ensure the 2014 Winter Games in the Black Sea resort of Sochi will be “the safest Olympics in history.”
Until recently, the bigger perceived threat had been the “lone-wolf” bomber, one that could avoid detection while inflicting maximum damage.
According to Sky News, Islamic extremist Doku Umarov has posted a video message online at Kavkaz Center, an independent Chechen news agency, claiming that it is the duty of Muslims in the North Caucasus region to disrupt the Sochi Olympics…using maximum force.
“They (Russia) plan to hold the Olympics on the bones of our ancestors, on the bones of many, many dead Muslims, buried on the territory of our land on the Black Sea.
We as mujahideen are obliged to not permit that, using any methods allowed us by the almighty Allah.”
Umarov had banned mjuahideen, Islamist guerrilla fighters, from attacking Russian targets for the last eighteen months. He now has effectively given his disciples permission to engage in an attack on Sochi during the Olympics.
“I call on you, every mujahid, either in Tatarstan, Bashkortostan or on the territory of the Caucasus to use maximum force on the path of Allah to disrupt this Satanic dancing on the bones of our ancestors,” he added.
Seeking to establish an Islamist caliphate within the Russian Caucasus, Umarov is among the most sought after terrorists in the world. Wanted for a suicide attack at a Moscow airport back in 2011, which ultimately killed 37 people, he has also claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing in the Moscow subway system in 2010 that took the lives of 40 people.
After repeated assurances back in February by Vladimar Kuleshov, head of the national anti-terrorism committee, that the Olympics will indeed be a sporting event and not a security event, he denied that no “extraordinary” security measures would be needed. He may want to rethink that.
The real issue is not about the need to hoard snow because of Sochi’s mild temperatures, or the heart wrenching euthanizing of animals (there will be a mass-kill of cats and dogs found in the streets of Sochi, before the Olympics begin), or the 50 billion dollar price tag Russia is paying to prepare for the Winter Olympics of 2014. The real issue is one of Islamist terrorists. How does Russia keep athletes safe against “lone-wolf” terrorists, Russian soldiers returning from fighting with Islamist Syrian rebels and craving revenge against Putin, or Islamist terrorists hell-bent on destroying the Winter Olympics to further their dreams of a caliphate? Will drones, thousands upon thousands of security officers, national ID, and registration be enough? While we are engrossed in watching countries compete in various sports, athletes from around the world will be performing with a target on their backs-if Islamist terrorists have their way.