World View: Boston Bombers Raise New Problem for Russia's Vladimir Putin

This morning's key headlines from

  • Russia's Vladimir Putin warns of 'alarming signals' of economic slowdown
  • Boston bombers raise new problems for Russian officials
  • Canada thwarts al-Qaeda inspired plan to attack passenger train
  • Lebanon Salafists call for jihad against Hizbollah in Syria

Russia's Vladimir Putin warns of 'alarming signals' of economic slowdown

Vladimir Putin on Monday (RT)
Vladimir Putin on Monday (RT)

Russia's president Vladimir Putin warned his economic ministers on Monday of "alarming signals" of a slowing Russian economy, and demanded:

"I'm waiting for concrete proposals about measures that will help us ensure stable economic growth and safeguard ourselves against negative swings in the world economy, reduce the risks for key industries and stimulate business activity."

However, like politicians in Europe and America, Putin added that there's nothing to worry about:

"I do not want to dramatize the situation unnecessarily. The Russian economy has a sufficient safety net. Many analysts believe growth in the second-quarter is expected to recover."

I guess that even in Russia, prosperity is just around the corner. Russia Today and Bloomberg

Boston bombers raise new problems for Russian officials

The news that the Boston terrorist bombers are ethnically from Chechnya who have lived in the U.S. for many years may be shocking to Americans, but in Russia it's not so surprising, as they've been dealing with exactly the same situations for years. In fact, Americans who used to be sympathetic to the Chechens and blamed the Russians for the unrest are now doing an about-face and viewing Chechnya as a "cauldron of Islamic militancy." However, that reality has created an ironic problem for Russian officials, because the Boston terrorist connection to Chechnya is going to create bad publicity for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games to be held in Sochi in the North Caucasus, and also raises new questions about the stability of Russia's government. Russia Today and Jamestown

Canada thwarts al-Qaeda inspired plan to attack passenger train

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) on Monday announced the arrest of two men planning a terrorist attack on a passenger train. The plan received "direction and guidance" from an element of al-Qaeda based in Iran, but there was no evidence that the plan was "state-sponsored" by Iran. Although details of the planned attack were not released by the RCMP, speculation is that they were planning to blow up a bridge as a train from New York to Toronto passed over it. The two men are from Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates, respectively. The planned attack is unrelated to the Boston bombings.

The startling element of this case is that it was inspired by al-Qaeda elements in Iran. Now, Sunni Muslim al-Qaeda and Shia Muslim Iran are bitter enemies. Al-Qaeda linked terrorists have conducted terrorist attacks on Iran, most spectacularly the 2009 attack by Jundallah that killed 42 people, including 20 top commanders in the Revolutionary Guards. (See "Furious Iran blames Pakistan, US and Britain for Sunday's terrorist attacks.")

Nonetheless, Iran and al-Qaeda have cooperated, especially in Afghanistan, against their common enemy, the United States. After 9/11/2001 and the start of the Afghan war, Iran transported several hundred al-Qaeda linked individuals to Iran, where al-Qaeda established its "management council," under the direction of Osama bin Laden. Iran has kept the group under strict house arrest, but allowed them to plot activities against the United States and others of Iran's enemies. Canadian TV News and Foreign Affairs (Jan 2012)

Lebanon Salafists call for jihad against Hizbollah in Syria

The Iran-support Lebanese terrorist group Hizbollah is now openly fully engaged in fighting in the al-Qusair region of Homs province in Syria, alongside the army of Syria's president Bashar al-Assad. The actions of Iran-backed Hizbollah are being called a "declaration of war" by the rebel Syrian National Coalition, and Lebanese Salafists are calling for a jihad to defend Sunnis in Syria from Shia Hizbollah. According to Sheikh Ahmad Assir:

"We in Lebanon are today [caught] between the Zionist hammer and the anvil of Iran's party arms [Hezbollah], which have been directed internally. Therefore, every Muslim in Lebanon or abroad is duty-bound to respond to the [jihad] appeal and support the oppressed in Syria, particularly in Al-Qusair."

However, a Hizbollah official defended its actions, calling it a "moral duty":

"What Hizbollah is doing toward this issue is a national and moral duty in protecting the Lebanese in border villages. Are we required to leave our people in border villages exposed to killings, kidnapping, slaughter and displacement?"

The danger is that the war will spread into Lebanon and into other countries. Daily Star (Beirut)

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