It is always dangerous to prognosticate on terrorism. You run the risk of looking like a dimwit no matter what your prediction is on any prospective attack. It’s almost digital, zeros and ones: you’re right or you’re wrong.
I’m old enough to remember the Munich Olympics and the horrendous attack on the Israeli team by Palestinian terrorists. I’m old enough to remember a lot of terrorist attacks: some I participated in after the fact. As an intelligence collector/analyst you had a responsibility to guide your commanding officer’s actions by providing timely, accurate, and factual arguments for your thesis. Sometimes you’re right on the money, sometimes you miss it so widely that you want to crawl under a rock. No matter how it turns out, if you’ve done your homework and keep current on the flow of intelligence you can hold your head up at the conclusion.
That doubt exists because you have to be right every time to be credible, the terrorists only have to be lucky/smart/blessed/shrewd once in a row to be victorious. Truly, and history bears this out, they only have to present a threat that is so dangerous that the defender spends an inordinate amount of treasure and prestige trying to prevent the act that it destroys their economy, the individual event, or the morale of the nation. By simply coordinating the planting of communications intelligence they can fake out the defenders and misdirect the forces standing in readiness. They can also drive away the crowds (and their money) with sufficiently gruesome nightmares planted in the minds of the guests.
That’s exactly what the Islamic (yes, the Islamic, not Lutheran, Norwegian, Brazilian, Navajo, or Australian) terrorists in Russia and the surrounding states have done. There has been an orchestrated series of attacks, and threats of attack, in recent days that have put the world on edge. Not just a little: a lot.
Here is my prediction: whether or not there are terrorist attacks against Russia directly during the Olympics in 11 days, there will be an enormous cost to the IOC (International Olympic Committee) and the Russians trying to prevent attacks and preserve the fluidity of the games. Nobody wants to attend an event where you’re strip-searched at every venue. Nor do they want to find a bomb under their seat. The trick is finding the middle ground. I don’t think that’s going to be very easy for the Russians to do this time.
History has shown the Russian response to terrorism to be very heavy-handed. The apparent view of the Russian security organs (the successors to the KGB) is that you’ve won if you kill all the terrorists, no matter the cost in other lives. Russian security forces have killed more civilians than terrorists in the past few decades with no apologies that I can remember. Winning is the goal. Their definition is very different than that of the United States. We should probably take a lesson from them in being more firm, but they take it to an extreme.
The terrorists are a bloody-minded group that also has little concern for innocents. Innocents don’t exist in a state of Jihad. If you are attending the Olympics in Sochi (as an athlete or a guest) you are contributing funds to the oppressive regime that is Russia. Jihad allows you to use any force needed to glorify Islam and defeat the infidels.
You now have two vicious animals in a small cage. The terrorists can strike any time and any where they want to disrupt the Olympics. The Russians need to crush any attack or face an emboldened enemy. It’s a lot easier for the terrorists to win this one. All they have to do is head fake the Russians into something brutal and it’s “game on” for the ensuing blood shedding.
I’ve wondered what additional United States military units being moved to the area are supposed to accomplish? I really can’t envision the Russians letting our armed forces rescue people on their soil. Nor should we participate in any attacks of retribution. I think it’s a mistake to put more forces in the region: let the Russians do their thing. Stay clear of the blast when it goes off. We’re setting ourselves up for a big fail if this goes wrong.
I also see the potential for this to be a trigger event for other terrorists in the region (and around the world) in the wake of an attack in Sochi. Standing up our forces around the world would be a good idea – just not with the intention of being involved in Russia. Let’s just get everybody focused on the ball before it goes into play. Or, perhaps in this case, the puck before it’s dropped.
Will there be a terrorist attack in Sochi? I don’t know. I’m sure God does, but He’s not letting me in on the plan. What I’m saying is that if there is it will be horrendous for all involved. And if the Russians stay true to their past behavior the aftermath will be even worse for the innocents.
Let’s all pray that it goes off smoothly and the only blood shed in Sochi is from a rowdy hockey game, or an inept athlete who makes a comedy reel of Olympic bloopers with nothing worse than a broken nose. Let’s not kill each other -at least this time around.