Islamic State Claims Deadly Assault on Russian Music Venue: 40 Dead

Originally published at:


I… am not sure I expected that?


Me neither. Most unexpected.


Well Putin has been dropping bombs on IS long before Ukraine.

Weird that all odf a sudden IS suddenly has such operational prowess and support. Huh.


True, I guess…

Seth Meyers Yes GIF by Late Night with Seth Meyers


Ukraine wouldn’t use such terrorist methods against civilians and the MO is the same as has been used by IS and similar groups in Russia and elsewhere before. It’s frankly exactly what I expected


Did I say I thought it might have been Ukraine? :thinking: I didn’t realize that “I was surprised by who it was” now means IT WAS UKRAINE ALL ALONG!!!

My guess WOULD have been an internal movement against Putin, but apparently not.


Apparently this had been building since the US withdrew from Afghanistan and Russia invaded Ukraine. Here’s an analysis from last May that lays it out:


According to The New York Times, the U.S. collected intelligence in March that Islamic State-Khorasan, known as ISIS-K, the branch of the group based in Afghanistan, “had been planning an attack on Moscow.” ISIS members have been active in Russia, one U.S. official told the newspaper. “ISIS-K has been fixated on Russia for the past two years” and “accuses the Kremlin of having Muslim blood in its hands, referencing Moscow’s interventions in Afghanistan, Chechnya, and Syria,” counterterrorism analyst Colin P. Clarke told the paper.


It seems unlikely to become public either way; but it wouldn’t be a huge surprise if the bigger difference is distraction and degradation of security forces that are being tapped for manpower and diverted to domestic repression.

A few guys with rifles and enthusiasm for the cause that outweighs their risk sensitivity isn’t a terribly new or demanding capability for IS; going unnoticed while planning and (allegedly) facing a sufficiently slow or ineffective response that they were able to just flee the scene is not as common and likely something that’s easier for the state to inflict on itself than it is for someone else to provide for them.


The irony that Russia was so worried about

and declaring innocent queer groups “terrorists” that they completely ignored

the actual terrorists.

The Russian president called the warnings “outright blackmail” by the West and an attempt to “intimidate and destabilize our society.”


I have the impression that ISIS is kind of a franchise operation, and that it’s actually easier to open an ISIS franchise than a Subway. I’m sure you have to swear fealty to whichever the closest established ISIS group is, but that’s probably about all. So long as you share basically the same aims – which is to say to screw with anyone that doesn’t measure up to ISIS’s rather narrow definition of “good Muslims” – you’re golden. They’re not about to kick you out for failure to pay your membership dues or for being too brutal in your methods.


And repression in occupied Ukraine.

  1. Russia’s security apparatus, focused on bringing carnage to Ukraine, has failed in Moscow. Russia’s leaders, focused on demonizing the US, did not protect Russians. What next? Where to direct the blame?

The Crimean Tatars are Muslim, so jihadists could decide to consider the Russian annexation of Crimea as yet another Russian assault on Muslim lands.


Love You GIF by Sky

That’s absolutely true. They’ve taken on the model used by the American white supremacist movement for years.


It seems as though Russia has been carefully structured to minimize the importance of whether the population views the leadership as credible or not; but, to the degree credibility matters, it has to be a bad look for what American spies are willing to say publicly to be more accurate than the party line.

Especially when it’s about relatively unambiguous matters: for something like ‘how effective have sanctions been?’ macroeconomics is pretty hazy even when people try to do it in good faith, so there’s plenty of room; but “The motherland is safer and stronger than ever except for meddlesome NATO” vs. “Hmm, possible extremist attack, concert venue…” doesn’t admit of the same sort of statistical fudging.


Basically Al Queda was the same way. The best analogy is Sanrio. Anyone who ponies up some money can produce officially licensed Hello Kitty merch. Anyone who has a hankering for jihad can get an endorsement as an official IS branch.


Ah, so this is what the state department was warning Americans in Russia about a few weeks ago. :confused:


And I saw something earlier tonight that Putin was now demanding that the US share all the intel we have on this with them. So…this could get interesting.


At first I was surprised when IS took responsibility, but after reading the backgrounder it doesn’t seem so odd. My eye was caught by a phrase in the official Russian account:

Islamic State fighters attacked a large gathering of Christians

instead of “gathering of people” or “gathering of Russians.” I presume they checked the religious affiliation of each attendee? The description makes it sound like the concert was a religious event, which it was not. Perhaps the government saw another opportunity to amplify Putin’s us-versus-them narrative that Russia is a Christian country beset by the Ungodly.


Putin is fine.