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Recommended Reading

Top Billing! HNN Dr.Tim FurnishThe 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 BostonAbout the Central Asian Link to those Boston BombersFreedom 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?

That’s it!

3 Responses to “Recommended Reading”

  1. Mr. X Says:

    Of course the Jamestown Foundation insists Chechnya never had anything to do with AQ, despite Umarov’s public pledge of allegiance to Bin Laden and two of the 9/11 hijackers having planned to fight in Chechnya. I love their backflips and histrionics, once cornered, that the real patron of Caucasian jihadism is Putin. Oh sure, they prefer to use sock puppets like J.R. ‘al-KGB aeda’ Nyquist or other fringe figures to insist that most of the Chechen terrorism is ‘false flag’ (and ignore the distinct possibility that Ryzan in 1999 was an <i>attemped false flag</i> by those corrupt elements of the security services bought off by Berezovsky), but now and then you get it straight from the Demintern horse’s mouth, ala these tweets from Thor Halvorssen, a Venezuelan-Norwegian activist who has apparently decided Russia’s previous support for the Chavistas who shot at his mother justifies warmly embracing a terrorist like Ahmed Zakayev:


    And of course, we’re also told since Michelle Obama visited this Saudi student in the hospital after the Boston bombings Saudis — or any other foreign group or power — must’ve had nothing to do with this. These lads apparently did it all by their lonesomes with some black powder they bought in New Hampshire. 

  2. Mr. X Says:

    I should have added above the Chavistas shot at Halvorssen’s mum while she was banging pots and pans with other activists many years before Chavez started ordering arms and oil field services from the Russians…there is no real connection between the two events save in Halvorssen’s mind.

    The Jamestown Foundation has a very disturbing history, to say the least. And Z. Bzrezinski went on record after 9/11 saying what was a few jihadists running amuck compared to the end of the Evil Empire? 


    Their secretive methods and tendency to hire ex-spooks richly earns them the label ‘Demintern’ after the Comintern of old. 

  3. Mr. X Says:

    Sorry didn’t realize it was a ‘rotating’ blog roll, and Infowars was not ‘permanent’ but a kind of ‘pop up’ blog roll listing.

    These D.C. guys really, really, really hate them some non-interventionists, no?



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