Saturday, September 6, 2008

Dagestani terrorists blow up mosque in Baku?

In August, a mosque in Baku was bombed, ostensibly by Dagestani militants. However, as Radio Free Europe explains, the Dagestani theory doesn't hold up:

That National Security Ministry statement contains two major flaws, however. First, the North Caucasus Islamic resistance in general, and the resistance in Daghestan in particular, adheres to the Salafi strain of Sunni Islam. The congregation of the Abu Bekr Mosque is also predominantly Salafi. What conceivable motive could the resistance have to target co-religionists?

And second, a spokesman for Daghestan's Shariat jamaat, one of the subdivisions of the North Caucasus resistance, told RFE/RL's North Caucasus Service last month that the group's primary objective is to "expel the aggressor" – meaning Russia – from the territory over which the resistance claims hegemony. He made no mention of exporting jihad to Azerbaijan.

And where there's intrigue in Russia's "near abroad," there's Russia:

A second possibility is that Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) may have organized the grenade attack on Abu-Bekr in order to destabilize the political situation in Azerbaijan in the run-up to the October 15 presidential election.

In a September 3 interview with, Humanitarian Party leader Oktay Atahan gave partial credence to the National Security Ministry explanation, saying at the same time he has no doubts that the FSB recruited Daghestani militants under a "false flag" to perpetrate the Abu-Bekr attack. Atahan suggested that attack was part of a broader operation by the FSB to mobilize Azerbaijan's alienated ethnic minorities, especially the Lezgins of northern Azerbaijan, under the banner of Islam.

This wouldn't be the first time that the Kremlin ordered false flag attacks dressed in Muslim clothing. The FSB has been directly accused by Alexander Litvinenko (among others) of orchestrating both the 1999 apartment bombings and the 2002 Moscow theater siege, both of which were blamed on Muslim terrorists from the Caucasus (the Chechens, in those cases).

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