Russians are bracing for more suicide attacks after last weekend's Moscow metro bombings, which killed 39 commuters. The strikes may have been revenge for the recent killing of the "Russian bin Laden," Islamist warlord Said Buryatsky. Chechen rebel leader Doku Umarov, self-proclaimed emir of the North Caucasus Islamic State, has claimed responsibility for the attacks — authorities believe the two bombers were part of a 30-strong brigade of female Islamist terrorists trained by Buryatsky — and warned of more violence to come. Just how bad is Russia's terrorism problem? (Watch a Fox report about the Russian bombings)
The "black widows" are a formidable threat: "Since the first female suicide bomber blew herself up in 2001," says Nabi Abdullaev in The Moscow Times, "so-called 'black widows' have participated in two-thirds of the nearly 40 rebel attacks that have killed about 900 people in Russia through Monday." And the fear caused by the attacks is magnified by the public's shock that women would be "willing to kill and die for their cause."
"Analysis: Bombings look like the revenge of 'black widows'"
Buryatsky's dead, but still dangerous: There's a reason the Russians aren't expressing "much relief at Buryatsky's death," says Paul Quinn-Judge in Foreign Policy. He's an "online legend," whose letters and video messages are inspiring a new wave of Web-savvy jihadists who dream of forming an Islamist state in the North Caucasus, and who, "like Buryatsky, dream of dying a martyr's death."
"Russia's terror goes viral"
This may have been an isolated incident: It had been six years since the last Moscow subway attack, and "many Russians thought that terrorism had been largely subdued in the country," says Alexei Malashenko in The Moscow Times. It's too early to declare the subway bombings the "opening salvo in a new round of terrorism." This could be an isolated incident — only time will tell whether the terrorists are capable of striking again, and again.
"The terrorism Hydra"
It's already clear that Russia's anti-terrorism strategy isn't working: Russia thought it had contained the threat, says David Satter in National Review, by placing Ramzan Kadyrov, a former rebel, in charge in Chechnya and giving him "carte blanche to rule the country" under a "reign of terror." But all that did was drive new recruits into the Islamists' camp. The "black widow" attacks proved that repression can't contain terrorism.
"The return of Chechen terror to Moscow"