A TERRORIST ACT DURING THE SOCHI OLYMPICS IS NEARLY A CERTAINTY
Terrorists threaten the Sochi’2014 Olympics.
The Federal Security Service (FSB) believes that terrorists entertain the plans to circumvent the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi in 2014. Experts call this threat genuine and say that some athletes might refuse to go to Sochi for fear of terrorist acts.
FSB Director Alexander Bortnikov made a statement to this effect a fortnight following appearance of a presidential decree that upped security in Sochi. Specialists commented on his foresight and called the danger real enough.
“Yes, this threat does exist. There are lots of peoples in the Caucasus who bristle at the future Olympics. The Cherkessians for one, because the Olympic Games are going to affect the Krasnaya Polyana, a Cherkessian historical site,” said Heydar Jemal of the Russian Islamic Committee.
Institute of Strategic Evaluations and Analysis President Alexander Konovalov chose to take terrorists’ threats seriously too. “Sochi is quite close to problematic republics of the Caucasus, ones regularly rocked by explosions. Lots of gunmen will want to organize or participate in actions aiming to intimidate,” he said.
“Terrorists might try and infiltrate developing companies that build objects for the Olympic Games. To prepare in advance the sites where they will plant devices later on,” said Sergei Goncharov, President of the Association of Alfa SWAT Team Veterans. “I’m not sure yet how it is possible to screen all construction workers, but something ought to be done.”
Vitaly Shlukov, formerly of the GRU (army intelligence) evaluated probability of terrorist acts during the Sochi Olympics at almost 100%. “They might repeat the Bombay 2008 scenario when seven gunmen landed in the city after dark and when 200 were killed,” he said. “Or else, it might be actions by agents under cover nowadays, by sleepers.”
Experts even assumed that some athletes might refuse to go to Sochi. Said Jemal, “Yes, even if the terrorist plans’ are thwarted, the threat as such of a terrorist act might frighten some athletes and fans.”
Vladimir Loginov, once vice president of the Russian Olympic Committee and Skiing Federation, allowed for this possibility. “Some individual athletes or organizations might decide to promote themselves in this manner.” According to Loginov, athletes never forgot about security. “We discussed the matter in Vancouver not long ago. The impression I got was that neither athletes nor the Olympic community would rise to it.”
Said Ken Keino of the Kenyan Olympic Committee, “I’m convinced that no such threats will stop athletes, their coaches, or even major functionaries. Athletes will fail to turn up in Sochi only if put under serious pressure by their governments.”
Alexander Rahr of the German Council for Foreign Policy dismissed this possibility as unlikely. “I cannot imagine a foreign government refusing to have its national team participating because of the threat of terrorist acts. Besides, it’s not as if the threat were clear and present. These are but statements for the time being. Terrorism is commonplace occurrence nowadays, unfortunately.”
Al-Qaeda’s threats already compelled organizers to cancel Dakar’2008 rally.