CHARLOTTE, January 20, 2014 – When the Sochi Olympics convene in Russia in the next few weeks, the most dominant event will likely be security.
Already the worldwide terror community has put the world on high alert with attacks in Russia in early January just to make sure we know they are there. It was a message not unlike a baseball pitcher throwing high and inside to a hitter, only with considerably greater implications.
Over the weekend another deadly homicide attack occurred in Afghanistan, which had the double purpose of death and destruction while reminding the world that there is plenty to fear when the Olympics get underway.
The Russian games are important for President Vladimir Putin as a showcase for his country. Image is everything. Already the terrorists have achieved an element of disruption that will continue throughout the run of the winter games.
Speculation among many media sources is to keep an eye on softer targets outside the perimeter of the games in the belief that those areas are more vulnerable than the Olympic venues themselves.
Of course, there is already precedent for Olympic terrorism dating to 1972 when the summer games in Munich were disrupted with the murder of 11 members of the Israelis team by a Palestinian group known as Black September. The difference between the events that occurred more than 40 years ago however, was the element of surprise in 1972.
Which means that the possibility does exist that terrorism become a factor away from the games themselves and even those other so-called soft targets inside Russia. Do not be shocked if attacks take place in other locations around the world where Islamic jihad can make a statement away from the scrutiny of Sochi and other parts of Russia.
Terrorists prefer to maximize their impact. It would be ideal for them to cause chaos while the cameras of the world are focused on international athletic competitions, but they are smart enough to recognize the difficulties of “success.” The same is true regarding less secure sites throughout Russia.
But while death and destruction are primary goals for terrorism, so, too, is media impact and economic turmoil. If they are able to divert attention from the celebration of international sport away from the games, then that is almost as good as wreaking havoc on the actual events in Sochi. The killing and devastation still result and, best of all, the world press will be talking about terrorism rather than sport.
Cockroaches do not enjoy a spotlight. They prefer to work from the shadows. Terrorists want to be heard. Making a spectacular statement is a primary goal. Maximum impact results when the world is looking the other way.
Disrupting Vladimir Putin’s moment in the sun would be a powerful message to the world. Taking the focus away from Russia and the emphasis of the news might also be a priority. “Fun” and “joy” do not exist in the world of Islamic jihad. Three is only the three Ds; death, devastation and destruction.
While the world is focusing on an international “Sochi security check” do not be surprised if terrorists make a statement of their own elsewhere. If al-Qaeda is dead, then al-Qaeda zombies remain active in greater numbers than ever before.
Bob Taylor has been traveling the world for more than 30 years as a writer and award winning television producer focusing on international events, people and cultures around the globe. Taylor is founder of The Magellan Travel Club (www.MagellanTravelClub.com).
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