Thursday, April 1, 2010

Black widows

Here's an update on the female suicide bombers who exploded themselves in two Moscow subway stations. Although the head of the Kremlin Security Council accused the Georgian government of instigating the attacks, it's unlikely many people believe that tale. More likely are the following nuggets:

-- one woman may have been mentally retarded - and, indeed, it wouldn't be the first time that such a person was exploited this way.

-- the women are most likely from Chechnya, although that has not yet been confirmed.

-- they may have belonged to a group of some 30 women aged 18-25 who were trained at a terrorist school in Turkey. Nine were previously accounted for, which by my count leaves 19 still at large.

-- the intelligence folks knew an attack was coming, because they were checking women entering the metro. Unfortunately, they didn't find the bombers.

Female suicide bombers are statistically more successful than males (eg, they kill more people), because they arouse fewer suspicions. In Iraq, where they've also been used, it's pretty clear that many are coerced. While many Chechen women may have abundant grounds for seeking revenge, I remain skeptical that they really want to get it this way.

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