AP says: "Militants from Chechnya and other restive provinces in Russia's volatile North Caucasus have targeted Moscow and other areas with bombings and hostage-takings, but if it turns out that the suspects in the Boston bombings are linked to those insurgencies it would mark the first time the Russian conflict had spawned a major terror attack in the United States." But characteristically for the mainstream media, they're missing the point (probably willfully): the Boston Marathon jihad bombings were not a strike of the "Chechen insurgency," which has never hit America before, but of the global Islamic jihad, which has struck in America before.
"Russia's Caucasus: breeding ground for terror," by Arsen Mollayev and Vladimir Isachenkov for the Associated Press, April 19:
MAKHACHKALA, Russia (AP) — Militants from Chechnya and other restive provinces in Russia's volatile North Caucasus have targeted Moscow and other areas with bombings and hostage-takings, but if it turns out that the suspects in the Boston bombings are linked to those insurgencies it would mark the first time the Russian conflict had spawned a major terror attack in the United States.
The suspects were identified by law enforcement officials and family members as Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, ethnic Chechens with ties to the Russian region. There was no immediate information of their links, if any, to any insurgent group.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, was killed in a gun battle with police in Massachusetts overnight, officials said. His 19-year-old brother escaped.
Before moving to the United States, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev lived briefly in Makhachkala, the capital of Dagestan, a predominantly Muslim republic that has become the epicenter of the Islamic insurgency that spilled over from Chechnya. On his page on the social networking site VKontakte, Tsarnaev said he attended School No. 1 from 1999 until 2001.
The principal of School No. 1 in Makhachkala, Irina Bandurina, told the AP that Tsarnaev left for the U.S. in March 2002.
The suspects' father, who lives in Makhachkala, told the AP his younger son was a second-year medical student and "a true angel."
The conflict in Chechnya began in 1994 as a separatist war, but quickly morphed into an Islamic insurgency dedicated to carving out an independent Islamic state in the Caucasus.
Russian troops withdrew from Chechnya in 1996 after the first Chechen war, leaving it de-facto independent and largely lawless, but then rolled back three years later following apartment building explosions in Moscow and other cities blamed on the rebels.
Chechnya has stabilized under the steely grip of Kremlin-backed local strongman Ramzan Kadyrov, a former rebel whose forces have been accused of massive rights abuses. But the Islamic insurgency has spread to neighboring provinces, with Dagestan, sandwiched between Chechnya and the Caspian Sea, becoming the epicenter of violence with militants launching daily attacks against police and other authorities.
Militants from Chechnya and neighboring provinces have carried out a long series of terror attacks in Russia, including a 2002 hostage-taking raid in a Moscow theater, in which 129 hostages died, a 2004 hostage-taking in a school in the southern city of Beslan that killed more than 330 people, and numerous bombings in Moscow and other cities.
The Obama administration placed Chechen warlord Doku Umarov on a list of terrorist leaders after he claimed responsibility for March 2010 double suicide bombings on Moscow's subway that killed 40 and a November 2009 train bombing that claimed 26 lives.
In recent years, however, militants in Chechnya, Dagestan and other neighboring provinces have largely refrained from attacks outside the Caucasus.
Russian officials and experts have claimed that rebels in Chechnya had close links with al-Qaida. They said that dozens of fighters from Arab countries trickled into Chechnya during the fighting there, while some Chechen militants have gone to fight in Afghanistan....