Jihadi Massacre at Domodedovo International Demands an International Response to Jihad
Walid Phares, Ph.D.
Monday’s suicide bomb attack at Moscow Domodedovo International Airport (DME) that killed 35 and wounded scores more serves as a bloody reminder of the global Jihadist pandemic, with its various mutations and assorted agendas, that self-replicates in local, regional and international causes, turning them into unwitting hosts for its lethal advance in societies the world over. The blast that ripped through the baggage claim areas of Moscow's busiest airport will likely be attributed to Wahabi Jihadist networks out of the North Caucasus region who claim solidarity with Chechnyan and Dagestani secessionists.
For those of us who have observed and analyzed Jihadi terrorism for decades this horrible attack leaves us with two immediate thoughts:
The jihadists behind the Moscow terror attack will boast of their “exploits” to incite other jihadists around the globe to follow their example and emulate their method. There is a crucial lesson to be learned from the Moscow airport massacre for security and law enforcement officials who are receptive to its teaching—Jihadi terrorists will innovate and adapt their methods to circumvent multiple layers of airport security and strike “targets of opportunity” as they did at Domodedovo International Airport in the international arrival terminal. Russian and other foreign travelers killed in the attack paid a terminal price for because airport security strategy and methods did not adapt in time to prevent this latest mutation of Jihadi terror. It is imperative that other nations of the world learn from the Domodedovo event, especially those nations targeted by Jihadi networks like al Qaeda. What happened at Domodedovo could happen at any airport in the free world.
From the Nord-Ost siege (Moscow Theater Hostage Crisis) of 2002 to the Beslan School siege and massacre in 2004 to this latest terror attack at Russia’s busiest airport, a common theme emerges; the impetus behind all of these terror attacks is an overarching ideology known as Wahabi Jihadism or “combat Salafism.” In each of these cases, the perpetrators came from the northern Caucuses region. Connections between the Caucuses Jihadists and Central Asian and Afghani Jihadi networks are becoming increasingly active as a perusal of the Kafqaz and other Jihadi sites on the Web confirms. The rush to judgement by some Western observers that assigns blame for these attacks on Russian policies in Chechnya is ill advised. First, many Chechens do not support warfare against the Russians. Second, Chechens who happen to support a local guerilla do not necessarily favor strikes against civilian targets deep inside Russia. In point of fact, those who are inciting and carrying out these attacks subscribe to Jihadi ideology like that of al Qaeda, the Taliban or Shabab al Jihad in Somalia. All of these groups, that target civilians, cite Islamic dogma as the basis for their actions, not the ethnic and religious communities from which they come.
The Moscow airport terror attack should prompt the international community, with the United States and Russia in the lead, to escalate this issue as the top priority of world counter-terrorism strategy and launch a global campaign against Jihadi ideologies. Ideology aside, this campaign must also identify and punish the funding sources for radicalization, regardless the effects on political economies. The Jihadists have the world's economies and innocent civilians in their crosshairs. Regardless of national differences, the International community must unite against the Jihadists.
Dr Walid Phares is Fox News Terrorism Expert and a Professor of Global Strategies. he advises the anti-Terrorism Caucus in the US House of Representatives.