Top Billing! HNN Dr.Tim Furnish –The Ideology Behind the Boston Marathon Bombing
…..Much of the world, including the twittering class, woke up to the relevance — if not existence — of Chechnya this past week. (The Tsarnaev brothers’ parents were Chechen, but Dzokhar was born in Kyrgyzstan and Tamerlan in Russia proper; both had also lived in Dagestan.) Still a part of Russia, despite violent efforts at independence, this small region is home to about 1.3 million people, mostly Sunni Muslims, and is located between the Black and Caspian Seas. Islamic militancy has been part of this Caucasus Muslim culture for at least two centuries, until recently mostly in the guise of the various Sufi jihads waged against their Orthodox Christian (or Marxist) Russian overlords — exemplified by that of Imam Shamil (d. 1859). (The Sufis are the mystics of Islam, usually peaceful but never pacifist.) Throughout the twentieth century the Sufis in Chechnya, Dagestan and environs — predominantly two orders known as the Naqshbandis and Qadiris — increasingly eschewed jihad and, in recent decades, their Islamic militancy mantle has been taken on by Muslims (both indigenous Chechen and foreigners, such as Arabs) of the more Wahhabi/Salafi tendency (who have even killed Sufi leaders there). Salafis are Sunnis who believe in emulating the salaf, “pious ancestors” of Muhammad’s time — think Primitive Baptists, but wielding swords. Wahhabis are a specifically Saudi Arabian type of Salafi, intellectual heirs of the Sunni fundamentalist Ibn Abd al-Wahhab (d. 1792) who had resurrected and repopularized the strict Sunni teachings of Ibn Taymiyya (d. 1328) which, inter alia, included a dislike of Sufis (for their love of saint veneration, seen as shirk, “idolatry”) and the duty to fight jihad against any rulers deemed insufficiently Islamic as well as, a fortiori, non-Muslims.
This was the Chechen Islamic context which incubated both Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev before they came to the U.S. as young men and, after over a decade here, seemingly assimilated. However, Internet sleuthing by various outlets indicates that the elder Tsarnaev, at least, was being pulled back into strict Islamic norms: he was a purveyor of the online sermons of one Feiz Mohammed, whose views were so Islamically “extremist” they might have made Ibn Taymiyya blanch; he may, as well, have become enamored with the ideas of a Pan-Islamic Caucaus Emirate and may have received training from jihadists of that self-styled polity; finally, perhaps most tellingly, Tamerlan was influenced by Islamic eschatological teachings about the coming of the Mahdi.
Foreign Policy J.M. Berger –Boston”s Jihadist Past
….It will take time to discover whether there was a militant connection and, if there was, to what extent it is pertinent to the Tsarnaevs’ decision to bomb the marathon.
But if the lead pans out, it won’t be Boston’s first brush with that faraway war. During the 1980s and into the 1990s, Islamist foreign fighters operated robust recruiting and financing networks that supported Chechen jihadists from the United States, and Boston was home to one of the most significant centers: a branch of the Al Kifah Center based in Brooklyn, which would later be rechristened CARE International.
Al Kifah sprang from the military jihad against the Soviets in Afghanistan. Through the end of the occupation, a network of centers in the United States helped support the efforts of Afghan and Arab mujahedeen, soliciting donations and recruiting fighters, including at least four from Boston who died in action (one of them a former Dunkin Donuts employee). When the war ended, those networks did not disappear; they refocused on other activities.
In Brooklyn, that network turned against the United States. The center’s leaders and many of its members helped facilitate the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, and they actively planned and attempted to execute a subsequent plot that summer to blow up the Lincoln and Holland Tunnels in New York, which would have killed thousands.
When the FBI thwarted the tunnels plot, the Brooklyn Al Kifah office and most of the other satellite locations were shuttered. But in Boston, the work continued under a new name and with a new focus: supporting foreign-fighter efforts in Bosnia and Chechnya.
Dr. Chet Richards –Is 4GW dead?
….The 9/11 attacks, by a transnational guerrilla movement, seemed to confirm 4GW in both of its forms. In the last few years, however, everything has gone quiet. Transnational insurgencies, “global guerrillas” as John Robb terms them, have not become a significant factor in geopolitics. “Continuing irritation” might best describe them, whose primary function seems to be upholding national security budgets in frightened western democracies. The state system has not noticeably weakened. So it might be fair at this point to conclude that although 4GW was a legitimate theory, well supported by logic and data, the world simply didn’t develop along the lines it proposed.
….The conditions for insurgency, as described by Boyd in Patterns of Conflict, had been defused by reforms in the early 20th century. Within the last 25 years or so, these conditions have returned. The austerity measures in southern Europe, the decline in living standards and economic polarization in the United States, and the enormous increase in firepower available to the general citizenry (at least in the US) will combine to produce abrupt changes in political organization. So long as the democratic process remains uncorrupted, these changes will be largely peaceful. In non-democratic states, and in those democracies where the beneficiaries of highly-skewed income and wealth distributions attempt to hang on to their gains by whatever means they deem necessary, we should expect higher levels of violence.
Social Evolution Forum – How to Overthrow an Empire and Replace it with your Own
Registan.net –Contextualizing Media Claims in Boston, About the Central Asian Link to those Boston Bombers, Freedom and Fear in Central Asia: How the Security Assistance Debate is Asking the Wrong Questions
Haft of the Spear -Explaining Computer Security Through the Lens of Boston
Global Guerrillas –OPEN SOURCE WARFARE never goes away
Marine Corps Gazette Blog – Marine Corps End Strength: 100k and End Strength 100k: Fixed-Wing Air
Hmmm…America wants more than a tiny Marine Corps
Dr. David Ronfeldt –Further points about “tribes” (T) — plus a new proposition about TIMN as a whole
WPR Dr. Steven Metz –Strategic Horizons: U.S. Professional Military Education on the Chopping Block
Campaign Reboot – Kill Chain
SWJ El Centro – How to Win the Mexican Drug War
Jamestown Foundation – Shattering the al Qaida-Chechen Myth
Nick Carr – Augmentor and Augmentee
Presentation Zen –Should we be suspicious of stories?