Doku Umarov, “Emir of the Caucasus Emirate,” took responsibility for the attacks. Founded in 2007, the Caucus Emirate is a rebel government in Chechnya. It wages war against Russia to remove it from governing the Caucasus. Doku aims to establish an Islamic Emirate, and this plus his ordering the assassination of a priest in 2009 for insulting Islam causes Stratfor to believe the Caucus Emirate is a jihadist group. Doku announced to Russian citizens after the attack: “I promise you that the war will come to your streets and you will feel it in your lives, feel it on your own skin.” Shamsuddin Botokayov, spokesperson for the group, claims Russia carried out similar operations against civilians in Chechnya, and the Moscow attacks were revenge. He moreover said such attacks would continue and increase in ferocity as long as Russia remained in the region.
There is multiple targeting, TTP, and motivational commonalities amongst the train attacks in Madrid, London, Mumbai and Moscow. First, regarding targeting, in each of these cases, terrorists struck major cities with substantial metro rail networks. These networks were spread out, hard to protect, had lax security and were packed with tens of thousands of people. They were moreover politically, economically and socially significant. In short, they were ideal soft targets where the impact of mass civiliancasualties, shock value and government embarrassment would be high. Accordingly, all U.S. cities that have metro systems should consider the possibility of a terror strike, especially when combined with the fact UBL had strategized attacking urban targets other than New York and Washington, D.C. These aims shatter a myth that some city and transit officials hold – since they are not a high value political or economic target such as New York City or Washington, D.C., they are not on the jihadi target list. They are incorrect.
Second, terrorist TTPs in each case utilized economy of force. The chart below illustrates the point. In terrorist terms, these are (unfortunately) excellent kill and wounding ratios compared to the numbers of IEDs used, operatives deployed and costs of homemade IEDs. In the U.S., like results could certainly be achieved, just as UBL speculated.
Third, terrorist TTPs in all four cases were meticulously designed to result in high casualty counts. The timing of all these attacks happened in morning or afternoon rush hours when people capacity on the trains was highest. And most detonations were synchronized as trains were approaching or stopping at platforms. IED placement was designed to catch as many civilians in blasts as possible. And in all cases, terrorists used explosives with VODs near 20,000 fps, which in technical terms means, “high shattering power.” Explosives with VODs at these rates are designed to “cut” rock and steel with ease. Against humans, they are devastating. Any such attack on America would likely be planned similarly with spectacular casualty counts as the key goal. TATP ingredients are commonly available in America, and considering the mass amounts of undetected, illicit narcotics trafficked into the U.S. on a regular basis, terror groups could likely smuggle in commercial grade explosives if they could not steal them from domestic caches.
Fourth, TTP intelligence and planning was effective and professional. In every case reported except Moscow, the terrorists reconnoitered their targets. Terrorists knew where to get on the trains, and, for the most part, where to detonate for maximum effect. And in Moscow, the detonation under FSB headquarters and the fact that the bombers were escorted by a small squad of operators, indicates preparation and, therefore, reconnaissance.
For more on the conclusion, visit MassTransitmag.com to read the whole story.