This morning’s key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com
- Suicide bomber at Russia’s Volgograd station sends Putin a message
- Saudi Arabia pledges $3 billion to Lebanon’s army to buy weapons
Suicide bomber at Russia’s Volgograd station sends Putin a message
Surveillance camera catches the explosion in Volgograd train station on Sunday
At least 16 people were killed and dozens injured on Sunday in anoontime blast at the main railway station in Volgograd when asuicide bomber detonated a large bomb just outside the metal detectorsthat all passengers must pass through. There are conflicting reports about whether the bomber was male or female.
Ordinarily, this would have been just another terrorist bombing inRussia of not much interest to anyone except, of course, the peoplewho were killed, maimed, or hospitalized and their friends and families,or the people whose lives were destroyed in other ways.
But this bombing is international news because we’re only a few weeksaway from the Winter Olympics, held in Sochi in February.Having a successful Olympics event with plenty of internationalvisitors is being viewed as crucial inside Russia, as Russia’s president VladimirPutin has been doing everything possible to convince the worldthat the Olympics will be safe and has spent huge sums on securitythroughout the region.
According to analysts I heard, this bombing is a message to Putinthat even if he can protect a small region around Sochi, he stillcan’t prevent terrorist acts in nearby cities, and these willcontinue to get international headlines, drawing attention awayfrom Sochi.
Who’s sending that message to Putin? It’s thought to be Doku Umarov.Umarov is a veteran of the Chechnya wars fought in the 1990s and early2000s by rebels wishing to separate Chechnya from Russia and make ita separate state. Umarov has been on Russia’s most wanted criminallist for various terrorist attacks and assassinations. In July,Umarov posted a video calling on jihadists around the world to useUmarov is the perpetrator of, among other things, the Moscow airportbombing in January 2011.
A female bomber was responsible for a major suicide bus bombing in Volgograd in November. Volgograd usedto be called Stalingrad during World War II, and it was the site of amajor victory, the Battle of Stalingrad, by the Russian army over theNazis. Perhaps that’s why Umarov chose Volgograd as the site of themessage he’s sending to Putin. Russia Today and BBC
Saudi Arabia pledges $3 billion to Lebanon’s army to buy weapons
A couple of days after the murder of moderate Sunni leader MohammadShatah in the heart of downtown Beirut (“28-Dec-13 World View — Lebanon faces new chaos after car bombing in heart of Beirut“), Saudi Arabia is pledging $3billion for the Lebanese army. In the same announcement, France’s President, François Hollande, is offering to sell to Lebanon’s army anyweapons it wishes to buy.
Right now, Lebanon’s army is so weak that it couldn’t defend adoghouse. The most powerful army in Lebanon belongs to the Shiaterror group Hezbollah, which is funded by Iran. SaudiArabia’s pledge will mean that Lebanon has two powerful armies, oneShia and one Sunni, funded respectively by two bitter enemies, Iranand Saudi Arabia.
More and more, the sectarian conflict in Syria is spilling over intoLebanon and the entire Mideast. Thanks to the actions ofSyria’s genocidal monster, President Bashar al-Assad, and his devotedweapons supplier Vladimir Putin, Syria has become a magnet forjihadists from all over the world. Sectarian tensions continue togrow each day, and a sectarian war will not be far off. Daily Star (Beirut) and AFP