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Chechen Black Widows: The lethal female terrorists ever

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[yt_dropcap type=”square” font=”” size=”14″ color=”#000″ background=”#fff” ] C [/yt_dropcap]hechen female terrorists are commonly known as Black Widows, there is a particular reason behind this title because they have usually lost their husbands, brothers or close relatives in one of the two Chechen wars that Russia fought against Islamist rebels since 1994.

There is a strong motivation of resentment and grief for their loved ones that invigorates to revenge, and this grief leads to further heinous activities against oppressors carried out by black widows in the form of suicide terrorist activities. Behind the attacks, the majority of those females are poorly educated which is driving force for Islamist extremists to get recruitments and trained up with relative ease. On the other hand, a number of female terrorist accuse Russian forces of using overly brutal tactics against the civilian population, including women, in order to flush out rebel fighters. It is a counterproductive strategy that only serves to radicalize people.

The first Black Widow attack took place in early 2000, when Khava Baraeva drove a truck filled with explosives into a building housing Russian special forces in Chechnya. In the last 12 years, 46 women have turned themselves into suicide bombs in Russia, committing 26 terrorist attacks. Most of the bombers were from Chechnya and Dagestan. Most studies of Chechen female suicide bombers have found that these women have experienced serious personal trauma and are then take arms in hands. As the term Black Widow would suggest, many have lost almost every single thing and almost have nothing left behind to care about over the last two decades of continuously facing violence and brutalities since war.

Resultantly, all individuals including males and females have experienced deep personal traumatization, and evidence of symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder are commonly present in the entire survey. The demographic description and psycho-social motivators for embarking this devastating path plays a significant role for female terrorists before bombing themselves. It further leads to other motivating factors like nationalistic conflict and less knowledge about Islam. There is a wide division and factions within Chechens which totally split the mainstream agendas of violence. These includes secular-nationalists particularly Salafi Muslims (the ‘indigenous’ sect of Islam in Chechnya) which is led by Chechen President Aslan Maskhadov and his State Defense Committee. On the other hand, there is minority of Salafist preaching radicals led by figures as Shamil Basayev, Movladi Udugov, and Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev.

These two factions play a significant role in destructions against Russian land and masses. For the young women, the suicide missions are not especially a question of religion, is it just that they understand the revival of Islam in Chechnya as a critical element in the identity-building of the torn region. For them, not to allow them to practice Islam freely is understood as the ultimate attack against who they are, or who they are trying to be: faithful young Muslims (Nivat, 2005). As Nivat analyzes, nobody will be able to stop these young women who are in deep despair and have no fear of death to proceed with more suicide bombings. Before the fall of communism, the practice of Islam was limited by Russia.

They were actively promoting Russia in Chechnya, promoting the Russian language and other Russian cultural elements. The Chechens continued to strengthen Nationalism and sense of unity of the Chechens did not appear to be suppressed at all. It was inevitable that after the collapse of communism, a domestic revolution would take place in Chechnya as separate entity. With the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the religion Islam appeared as a binding factor. This collapse caused a wave of national awareness among all the peoples of the former Soviet Union. Because the Islam showed a clear separation between the Northern Caucasus and the rest of Russia, it is no surprise that the Islam is an important part of the awakening nationalist feeling among the Chechens.

This period is also known as the Islamic Renaissance of the Northern Caucasus. In Islam especially Wahhabism ideology got deep roots in females terrorist to explode themselves and meet their parents and loved ones in paradise. The magnitude of Chechen separatism played an advocacy role for maximizing sympathizing effects from a number of various networks on the basis of ethnicity, religion and gender. Chechen separatists have sought to establish the region as its own sovereign state, realizing this briefly between 1917 to 1922 and 1991 to 1994. Most scholars maintain that their will for separatism has been predominantly driven by ethno-nationalism. In recent years however, many argue that Chechen separatism has now somewhat been co-opted by the worldwide jihadist movement. Conversely, there is increasing discourse that claims that Chechen terrorism is just part of a wider jihadi movement and has become the international Islamic terror network’s frontier on Russia.

Russian leader Putin exploited 9/11 to assert that “terrorism equals separatism” (Calzini, 2005:21) Russian President Putin in retaliation statements justify the actions of Russian troops during the second Chechen war; portraying it as a war on terror. This further sparked the potential motivation for joining together and having strong association between Chechen separatism and Islamic extremism. The Chechen separatist moment’s roots lie from Russia’s historical mistreatment of the Chechen people. This mistreatment was in the form of brutal conquests, multiple deportations and the Russian Government’s negligence and finally ignite two wars and a continued insurgency within the Caucasus region.Russia’s difficulties in Chechnya have also spread to neighboring areas of the North Caucasus, says Elizabeth Fuller, an expert on the region with RFE/RL in Prague. “You can’t talk anymore about the purely Chechen separatist movement.

This may reinvigorate the Chechen movement, increasing the number of fighters drawn to the cause and widening the scope of the conflict. Fuller also talks about a “generational change” among Chechen fighters. “You have a whole new group of young commanders and black widows and we have no idea who they are or what sort of people they are” Concludingly, there is variety of factors for black widows to get the effective utilization of continuing activities. Every single factor has got significant importance through nationalism, religion, sociopolitical, ethnic culturalism, personal life experiences and much more to be enlisted. As Ramzan Kadyrov, vice premier of the Russian backed Chechen government said in his interview to Chechen TV on May 11, 2005, Chechen women are the most dangerous for national security because they have carried out the riskiest operations. If the current trend continues, Chechen female bombers will continue to be a grave threat to Russian national security

Terrorism

A Virus Yet to Be Eradicated

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Much as everything in this world, human memory knows its limits. Increasingly receding into a background of the past, episodes of our life—be they thrilling at the thought or intensely dramatic—grow faint and fade, as they are gradually eclipsed by latest events and fresh experiences.

On September 11, 2001, I happened to be a first-hand witness to the most heinous terrorist attack in humanity’s contemporary history—the hijacked passenger jets heading to crash into the towers of the World Trade Center in lower Manhattan. Twenty-one years later, I’m somewhat in doubt that all of this happened to me for a fact: blinding flares of orange against the backdrop of a blue September sky, swirls of smoke and dust slowly blanketing the city’s downtown narrow streets, a high-pitched cacophony of fire-truck and police sirens, crowds of disoriented people having no idea where to run and what the next moment might bring.

In the wake of 9/11, international terrorism has predictably become a thing to bandy about. Like many of my colleagues, I was attending numerous conferences and seminars as well as partaking in various research projects on the subject. Besides, a stroke of fate gave me a rare opportunity to have personal conversations with such heavyweights of world politics as Vyacheslav Trubnikov, Richard Armitage, Thomas R. Pickering, Kofi Annan and others, who made their meaningful contribution to fostering cooperation in countering the terrorist threat. In a way, their efforts have borne fruit as the world has seen nothing similar to 9/11 since 2001.

Still, we have to admit that the war on terror has not ended in a decisive victory. Terrorist attacks no longer claim lives of thousands—however, hundreds have died in the massive attacks in Paris and in Madrid, in Bagdad and in Berlin, in Beslan and over Sinai, in Gamboru (Nigeria) and in Mumbai (India), with new names added to this tragic list every so often. Large-scale terrorist attacks are now few and far between in the United States, but there have been more of them in Europe, let alone in the Middle East. The recent suicide bombing near the Russian Embassy in Kabul is yet another reminder that the terrorist threat is still here. Why, then, is the goal to wipe out terrorism—now dating two decades—not achieved so far?

In the first place, the international community has failed to agree on a common definition of terrorism’s origins, driving forces and character. What some actors explicitly dub as “terrorist” may look like a national liberation struggle for others. Bring up the issue of terrorism in Kashmir in a conversation with Indians and Pakistani, only to see there can hardly be a common denominator in this matter.

Second, any success in the fight against terrorism entails a high level of trust between the interacting parties—simply because they would have to exchange sensitive and confidential information. In today’s world, trust is thin on the ground. An apparent and mounting deficit of this resource is not only present in the relations between Moscow and Washington; it also takes its toll on the relations between Beijing and Brussels, between Riyadh and Teheran, between Cairo and Addis Ababa, between Bogota and Caracas, and the list goes on.

Third, international terrorism is far from an issue that is set in stone. It is gradually changing and evolving to become more resilient, sophisticated, and cunning. Similar to a dangerous virus, the terrorist threat is mutating, generating ever new strains. Ironically, what is especially dangerous today is the kind of terrorism bred by anonymous mavericks and amateurs rather than the sort represented by well-known transnational extremist movements—individualists are the hardest to track and neutralize, while plans of amateurs are harder to reveal.

The current progress in military technology, coupled with other trends in the contemporary international arena, portend a new spike in terrorist activities in the coming years. Modern and increasingly complex social and economic infrastructure, especially in large metropolitan areas, is an enabling environment for hard-hitting terrorist attacks. Besides, international and civil conflicts—like the one raging in Ukraine—drastically heighten the accessibility of modern arms for would-be terrorists.

Add to this a comprehensive setback in the resilience of global economy, which may be fraught with more social tensions and an inevitable rise of pollical radicalism and extremism in a broad range of countries. An obvious foretelling: In this “nutrient broth”, the virus of terrorism, which has not been wholly eradicated, stands all the chances for an “explosive” growth.

It may well be possible that all of us will in the years ahead be lucky enough to avoid a second edition of the events that shattered the world on September 11, 2001. Still, taking terrorism off the agenda is only possible if humanity effects a transition to a new level of global governance. It is either that the leading powers are wise and energetic enough for this, or the tax that international terrorism imposes on our common civilization will be progressively higher.

From our partner RIAC

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Terrorism

ISIS Rises from the Dust in the Syrian Desert

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Over the last few months Syria’s northeast has been spiraling downwards to chaos amid the surge of violence and terror attributed to Islamic State (IS). After almost five years of dormant existence the terror group is once again making its way to prominence in Syria. With the so-called territorial califate no longer viable, the IS members have switched to hit-and-run attacks on remote outposts and prolific use of improvised explosive devices (IED) against vehicles. These attacks target both US-supported Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and the Syrian army units operating in the northeastern provinces of Raqqa and Deir Ezzor. At the same time the terrorists managed to restore afinancial safety net by extorting money from local professionals, including small business owners, doctors and teachers. Those who refuse to pay are subjected to threats and torture. The resulting insecurity enables the terror group to widen the scope of its activities even further.

The deterioration of the security situation in Syria went almost unnoticed by the international community distracted by the Ukrainian conflict. Under these circumstances the U.S. has a window of opportunity to curb the Russian influence in Syria and undermine theimage of power projected by Moscow in the Middle East.

Indeed, the areas held by the Russians and the Syrian army in Deir Ezzor and Homs have witnessed an increase in bloody attacks, supposedly carried out by IS fighters. The terrorists were able to avoid retaliation by retreating to no man’s land in the areas abutting the U.S. bases, namely Al-Shadadi, the Green Zone near Abu-Kemal border crossing and Al-Tanf base. Moreover, previously each IS attack in US-controlled areas had been followed by joint raids of SDF and the US special forces. It is no longer so. Considerable resources that might otherwise have been used for counterinsurgency operations are allocated to maintaining security in Al-Hol camp, where some 12,000 IS fighters and their family members are held. Add to that the imminent threat of Turkish invasion from the north. The SDF was led into a deadlock and is loosing the grip on the region. Meanwhile IS sleeper cells exploit the situation to their advantage and infiltrate territories controlled by the Syrian army.

These suspicions are confirmed by a high-ranking source in the Syrian intelligence. Speaking on the condition of anonymity, the source claimed that the U.S. helicopters transported 200 former IS fighters from prisons in Haseke to the 55-km security zone around Al-Tanf. The terrorists will be split up into groups of 10 – 15 people. These groups will be then sent to provinces with Russian presence including Homs, Latakia, Tartus and Damascus with the task of conducting terror attacks with IEDs at the Russian military sites. Most of the selected militants originate from Northern Caucasia or Central Asia and therefore are fluent in Russian.

The source added that the list of the primary targets of the terrorists includes the phosphate mines in Hneifis guarded by Russian security companies as well as Russian military bases in Lattakia, Tartus, Damascus and Aleppo.

Ultimately, the recruitment of IS members to create disturbance for the Russians would only become a logical development of the proxy policy adopted by the U.S. in Syria. After all, Washington is killing two birds with one stone by destabilizing the area of Russian influence and making use of the IS prisoners. However, there is another conclusion to be made: Washington has failed in its initial mission to defeat IS and is now resorting to the use of terror group splinters in its political power games.

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Terrorism

Pakistan is a victim of terrorism

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Terrorism

A High-Level Ministerial the first Session of the UN Global Congress of Victims of Terrorism was held on 8 September 2022, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari’s remarks:- 

“I am honored to speak today at the first UN Global Congress of Victims of Terrorism. This subject has special resonance for me personally, having lost my illustrious mother, the first woman Prime Minister of Pakistan, in a dastardly act of terrorism.

2.​ The Government and the people of Pakistan pay solemn tribute to all those who have suffered at the hands of terrorists. I express my profound support and solidarity with the victims and families of those who have been affected by this scourge.

3.​ The international community has an abiding responsibility to protect and support victims of terrorism. This has to be the basic tenant of our efforts to promote peace and security in the world.

4.​ While waging kinetic efforts to eradicate terrorist groups is imperative, we cannot fully win the fight against terrorism without preserving the rights of millions of innocent, defenseless, and vulnerable people who have suffered immensely because of terrorism. There should be more focus on retribution and rehabilitation and justice. Equally important is the need to work together to prevent further attacks, hold terrorists to account, and adopt a uniform victim-centric approach while addressing the challenges faced in conflict zones.

5.​ It is also unfortunate that political expediency and real politick have been allowed to dictate international response towards terrorism. Our tolerance for terrorism must not be a function of our foreign and domestic policies. This selective approach toward terrorism is the biggest injustice to the victims of terrorism.

6. ​For the last two decades, Pakistan has been one of the worst victims of terrorism – with over 80,000 causalities and economic losses exceeding $150 billion. We pay tribute to the families of martyrs of our law enforcement agencies and armed forces, who have rendered invaluable sacrifices while defending our motherland.

7.​ If we are to chart a way forward for victims, we must look beyond narrow political interests and geo-political agendas. We must examine why, despite global strategies, the terrorist threats continue to proliferate and give rise to the number of victims.

8.​ To further debate this issue, I would like to make a few points: First, we must address the root causes of terrorism and conditions conducive to terrorism. Second, we must distinguish terrorism from legitimate struggles for self-determination. Third, we must address state-sponsored terrorism, especially in cases of foreign occupation, and reject occupying powers’ propensity to use brute force against occupied people in the name of counter-terrorism operations. Fourth, we must have a consensus definition of terrorism and take into account new and emerging threats. Fifth, we must address challenges emanating from the use of new technologies by terrorists, especially on social media and the dark web. And finally, we must counter disinformation campaigns.

9.​ Pakistan condemns terrorism in all forms and manifestations including right-wing, Islamophobia, racially and ethnically motivated, and state-sponsored terrorism.

10.​ Terrorism can only be completely eradicated by fighting extremism and the mindset that breeds violent extremism. I would like to urge that this global problem requires continuing international cooperation without any prejudices or preconceived notions against any particular religion, race, civilization, or country.

11.​ I would also like to take this opportunity to pay special homage to the oppressed people of Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) and Palestine who deserve our special attention for their continuing suffering as victims of the worst forms of state-terrorism. The international community must hold the perpetrators of such state terrorism, and crimes against humanity, to account.

12. ​Our inability to address these issues will continue to increase victims and add to their suffering. It will also add to the physical and psychological trauma that may outlive many conflicts. The international community owes it to the victims of terrorism to take effective steps to address terrorism, wherever it may be, in whatever form it exists, without political considerations. This is our moral as well as legal obligation.”

Pakistan’s sacrifices in the Afghan war are much more than the collective damages caused to the 46 nations alliance led by the US in Afghanistan. Pakistan suffered the loss of around 80,000 precious human lives and an economic loss of estimated worth US Dollars 250 billion, in addition to the menace of terrorism, drugs, and gun cultures. The international community should acknowledge Pakistan’s sacrifices and compensate.

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