He has been a proven goalscorer in Germany for a long long time and I expect him to have a massive impact in the Premier League as well. In light of the above history, it is not surprising that the Islamic State and other global jihadi groups have seen the World Cup as an opportunity to make threats against Russia, galvanize would-be supporters to carry them out, dispatch cells, and spread fear. The Islamic State also may have the capacity to dispatch trained operatives to carry out attacks. On the eve of the FIFA World Cup, to be held in various cities across the western provinces of European Russia, the Russian Federation faces threats from homegrown terrorists from the Caucasus acting in the name of the Islamic State; Russian or CIS nationals who have trained and fought in Syria; terror cells inspired by the Islamic State; and lone wolves who may have been mobilized by online propaganda.42 It is clear, based on recent history, that there is both a strong motive for the Islamic State and other jihadi groups to attack Russia, and a pattern of attacks in the last three years that shows they have the capacity to inspire further attacks.

The northern Caucasus has been a hotbed of jihadi violence ever since Ibn Khattab’s small group of Arab mujahideen joined the outgunned Chechen boyeviki (fighters) during the first Russo-Chechen War of 1994-96 and grafted the notion of jihad onto what was essentially a war for Baltic-style national independence.48 When the Russians and their local Chechen proxies-led by the Kadyrov family-brutally suppressed the increasingly ‘jihadified’ Chechen independence movement in the second Russo-Chechen War of 1999-2007, the epicenter of violence in the region shifted eastward to the neighboring multi-ethnic republic of Dagestan. This group assumed the mantle of the jihad from the Chechens and launched a deadly and still ongoing insurgent terror campaign targeting Russian forces. As the World Cup approaches, pro-Islamic State media platforms have launched an unprecedented media campaign designed to galvanize “lone wolves” or “wolf pack” cells to carry out the sort of self-starter, do-it-yourself attacks that have increasingly become the group’s trademark. Stringent security measures have also been put in place to protect the World Cup, but it will be difficult to maintain security of the sort achieved during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi as the matches will be held across Russia in 11 cities that are connected by vulnerable travel networks.

On November 14, 2016, Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) foiled a terror plot to carry out a Paris-style mass casualty attack in malls in Moscow and St. Petersburg, just before it could be put into operation. Putin’s Levantine venture-informally dubbed by Russian media as Operation Vozmezdie (Retribution)-has subsequently been portrayed domestically as an unmitigated success in combating the Islamic State and even protecting the Russian Rodina (Homeland) from terrorism. The authoritarian Russian leader feared that his Middle Eastern ally, Syrian Baathist president Bashar al-Assad, would share the same fate and that his fall would bring Islamists and jihadis even closer to Russia’s borders. When the Arab Spring demonstrations shook the region in 2011, the Russian leader watched as strongmen like Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in Tunisia, 먹튀폴리스 먹튀검증 Hosni Mubarak in Egypt, and Muammar Qaddafi in Libya were overthrown and Islamists and jihadis gained power, just as they had in post-Saddam Hussein Iraq.

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In February 2016, for example, they arrested a terror cell made up of “Russian and Central Asian citizens, led by an Islamic State fighter from Turkey” that was allegedly planning “high profile” attacks in St. Petersburg, Moscow, and Sverdlovsk region.60 There have been other incidents involving what Russian authorities call Islamic State cells, including one in which security forces “eliminated” an Islamic State terrorist cell in a highway shootout in the southern town of Saratov on March 12, 2018. And as recently as April 17, 2018, Russian security forces broke up what they claimed to be an Islamic State terrorist cell in Rostov. On August 14, 2017, a group of three Central Asian Tajiks and one Russian were arrested as they plotted to carry out suicide bombing attacks on markets and crowded places. Russian authorities subsequently accused Abror Azimov, another Kyrgyzstan-born Russian citizen, of training Djalilov.31 Three weeks after the attack, a mysterious group claiming affiliation with al-Qa`ida, Katibat Imam Shamil (Imam Shamil Battalion) claimed responsibility, describing Djalilov as a “knight of Islam” who was dispatched under the directive of al-Qa`ida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri.