Sunday, 21 April 2013

Boston terrorist Dzhokhar just a regular guy

Boston terrorist Dzhokhar just a regular guy, Completing his citizenship ceremony Sept. 11, 2012, 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarmaev, started his American odyssey when his family sent him the U.S. in 2002 to avoid the bloody civil war waged between Russia and its former Soviet North Caucasus states that became hotbeds of Islamic terrorism.

None was more violent than in Chechnya, where his father, Anzor Tsaraev, fled to more Muslim-friendly Dagestan. By all accounts, Dzhokhar, the younger brother of the Boston Marathon terrorists that killed three and injured more that 170, was a well-adjusted young man, making good enough grades and participating on the wrestling team at Cambridge Rindge & Latin School to gain acceptance at University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth.

While U-Mass Dartmouth refused to release any details, there was no clue to anyone he planned with his 26-year-old brother Tamerlan a terrorist attack.

While Dzhokhar clings to life at Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, his brother died of cardiac arrest from gunshot wounds in a shootout with the Boston Police, state and federal agents, Thursday night. After going on a criminal rampage the night before killing 26-year-old MIT cop Sean Collier, hijacking cars and robbing a convenience store, Boston police tracked the Tsarmaev brothers to Watertown, a suburb about five miles northwest of downtown.

Boston police didn’t mess around returning fire with the duo, eventually killing Tamerlan. Why the authorities didn’t smoke out the two suspects is anyone’s guess. With Dzhokhar captured in “serious” condition, U.S. officials—including President Barack Obama—hope to learn more about the Chechen terror cell that eluded all law enforcement and intelligent officials, becoming the first terrorist attack on the U.S. homeland since Sept. 11.

Prosecuting Dzhokhar is only one part of why U.S. officials want him to fully recover from injuries fleeing from justice after detonating April 15 two deadly pressure cooker bombs near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Pictured nonchalantly sauntering away from the smoke and carnage, Dzhokhar looked surprisingly calm in video and cell phone photos taking at the crime scene just before the blast occurred at 2: 50 p.m., four hours into the marathon.

“He was a tough, solid kid, just quiet,” said Tim Kelleher, a wrestling coach at a Boston school that competed with Cambridge Rindge & Latin School. “He was just a quiet kid,” said 20-year old Middle School buddy Deana Beaulieu, now a student at Bunker Hill Community College. “I thought he was going to branch off to college, and now this is what he’s done . . . I don’t understand what the hell happened, what set him off like this.”

If Dzhokhar is lucky enough to recover from his injuries, the FBI will put the teenager under a microscope to figure out the many unanswered questions of how ordinary young man was recruited and converted into an Islamic suicide bomber. When swearing their lives the Islamic cause—including perhaps al-Qaeda’s No. 1 Ayman al Zawahri—young recruits are told they’ve joined the holy war against the U.S., the enemy of Islam.

While it’s not known whether either Tsarmaev boys worshipped at a local mosque, his deceased older brother had already gone through his religious conversion. Tamerlan told the Boston University magazine in 2010, “God said no alcohol.” When, where and how Dzhokhar converted to Islam or swore his life to jihad is anyone’s guess. Federal official know that if it happened to the Tsarmaev brothers, it’s also happened to others around the United States.

Georgetown national security professor Christopher Swift said the Chechen war—like the holy war Osama bin Laden waged with CIA help against the Soviets in Afghanistan [1979-1989]—radicalized various mercenaries into a holy war against the West. “The movement that’s emerged from the 15 years of war is very radical, it’s very virulent, it’s very nasty, but up until now, it’s also been very local.

Their ideology and rhetoric talks about fight against the West, but their operations have always been in Russia itself and predominantly with the republics of Chechnya, Dagestan and Ingushetia,” said Swift. Whether the Tsarmaev boys were self-radicalized or part of a larger plan isn’t yet known. What’s known is that both took part in the most deadly terrorist attack on U.S. soil since Sept. 11. U.S. officials want to know if they were part of a larger plot with co-conspirators.

Transforming disenfranchised youth into suicide bombers is the stock-and-trade of radical Islamic groups. Whether Chechen or the more ubiquitous Saudi-based Wahhabi groups like al-Qaeda, Muslim Brotherhood or Hamas, they all brainwash vulnerable youth into committing suicide for the cause.

“He was regular, he was calm,” said Harry Danso, one on Dzhokhar’s dorm mates on the third floor of Pine Dale Dorm, walking the floor sometime after April 15 Boston Marathon twin-blasts. No matter how well-adjusted or “regular,” Islamic cults, like al-Qaeda, give recruits the identity, purpose and grandiosity of participating in a life-or-death struggle.

Swearing allegiance to the U.S. Constitution pales in comparison to the blind loyalty demanded by Islamic radical groups. Once brainwashed, Dzhokhar didn’t have a prayer as a foot-solider in the Prophet Mohammed’s holy war.

About the Author

John M. Curtis writes politically neutral commentary analyzing spin in national and global news. He’s editor of and author of Dodging The Bullet and Operation Charisma.

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