In an interview with David Boze, terrorism expert Michael Rubin says that recent suicide bombings in Russia may foretell coming attacks against the West and the Winter Olympics in Sochi.
Between Sunday and Monday, suicide bombers struck in two separate attacks in the city of Volgograd, located approximately 400 miles from Sochi. At least 30 died in the attacks, and experts say that the bombings show how easily terrorists can strike inside Russia.
“We need to consider [the Volgograd attacks] as a precursor to attacks on us,” Rubin told Boze. “There are two basic ways to see terrorism. One is to see terrorism as rooted in grievance. The other is to recognize that terrorism is rooted in ideology. Too many U.S. counterterrorism officials think [terrorism] is rooted in grievance.
“Except, we see time and time again that al Qaeda types don’t recognize ethno-nationalist borders, they’re going to operate on their ideology. Their ideology is to target liberalism and those outside of Islam.”
In the short term, Rubin said, the attacks cast a pall over the upcoming Sochi Olympics, and raise questions about the robustness of Russian security.
“The terrorists in many ways have already won by casting doubt over the Olympics,” Rubin said.
The U.S. and other nations need to pressure Russia to step up security, Rubin said.
“[The Olympics] have become the target of choice,” Rubin said. “That’s what we need to be concerned about.”
Rubin also urged more notoriety for anti-Christian terrorist attacks, several of which occurred last week. On Christmas, two separate bombings in Iraq – one outside a Christian church, the other in a market in a Christian neighborhood – killed 37.
“It seems like there has been no response from the West,” Rubin commented.
Rubin is a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, and is a lecturer at the Naval Postgraduate School. His forthcoming book, “Dancing with the Devil: The Perils of Engaging Rogue Regimes,” comes out in February.