Wednesday, February 5, 2014

How Likely is a Sochi Terrorist Attack?

Hands have been wringing for months regarding security at the upcoming Sochi Olympics. As the opening ceremony grows nearer and nearer, a new CNN poll reflects those fears: 57% of those surveyed believe and attack is very likely. Is it, or will Russian security hold up?
Security forces in Sochi, January 2014
Alongside the poll are several analyses from terrorism experts, warning that an attack is a when, not if scenario. The concern is certainly legitimate: Bombings from Chechen separatists months before the games within 400 miles of Sochi, directions from separatist leaders to disrupt the games, and warnings of "black widow" suicide bombers planning attacks, or more sinister, one who has allegedly breached security and is laying in wait somewhere in Sochi.
A positive by-product of these concerns is a greater awareness of the dangers surrounding the games.
Russian forces, recognizing the threat, killed Chechen Emirate leader Dokka Umarov, who encouraged attacks on the games last summer. While attacks by his followers are certainly still possible, attack plans could be thrown into disarray without
a leader.
 With the eyes of the world upon Russia, security services should be on their game, and nations sending athletes should be briefing their delegations on proper security and escape procedures if an attack should occur. One of the best ways to prevent an attack is awareness and a questioning attitude from those in the vicinity. While increased media attention on the security situation may have inflated the threat somewhat, it also made all parties involved very aware of the threats and their consequences. The opening ceremony is tomorrow; hopefully Russia has prepared well.

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