It has been said that you can either learn from history or be condemned to repeat it.
On the eve of the Sochi 2014 Olympics in Russia the talk and buzz does not surround the athletes. It is centered on terrorism and terrorists and the “games” they will likely engage in with deadly results.
There are some very eerie similarities to Sochi 2014 and Munich 1972.
At the 1972 Munich Germany Olympics, there was much concern since this was the first Olympics since the defeat of Nazi Germany. The State of Israel was very concerned with the safety of their athletes. They were also concerned about the possible violence that may be targeted against them by anti-Israel terrorists.
As it turned out, their fears were real. Eight Palestinian terrorists killed two members of the Israeli Olympic Team and took nine others hostage. The attack was right out of a Hollywood movie as a huge standoff and then gunfight ensued between the terrorists and the authorities that resulted in all nine hostages being killed as well as five of the eight terrorists. A German policeman was also killed.
The Palestinians used the Olympics to seek attention and revenge and were willing to sacrifice themselves for a cause.
The attacks in 1972 forever changed the memory of that Olympics and security protocols for all future Olympics.
In Sochi the terrorists are likely to be from a militant Islamist group based in North Caucasus, Russia. Unlike Munich where the terrorists came from beyond their borders in Sochi, the terrorists' threats and actions to date have come from Russians.
Russia’s most wanted terrorist is a Chechen rebel leader, Doku Umanov. He ordered his followers to sabotage the Sochi Olympics. The goal of this group is twofold: 1. They seek revenge and payback for allege Russian abuses and deaths in the North Caucasus Region before, during, and after the Chechen War in 1994. 2. They seek to establish an Independent Islamic state in the Caucasus Region.
Like the Palestinian terrorists of 1972, the Sochi terrorists’ grievances are state directed and they were and are willing to sacrifice themselves to accomplish their attacks.
Like the Palestinian terrorists the Sochi group has a long history of successful and deadly attacks.
There is no doubt that the Sochi Islamic group has the personnel and the resources to carry out their threats and their “credibility” is on the line to be successful.
In 1972 the Palestinians targeted their enemy. In 2014 the Chechen Islamists have targeted their Russian enemies leading up to the games and their threats to disrupt the games is more likely targeted against Russians than others. Having said that, there is no doubt collateral damage is expected and acceptable to them.
Last December twin terror attacks rocked the city of Volograd, Russia, one targeting a trolley wherein a suicide bomber killed 15 and injured dozens more and the other where a bomb exploded on a crowded street corner killing 17.
Terrorism experts believe that the bombings leading up to the Sochi Olympics are just their first shots. They fully expect terror attacks to occur during the Olympics. The only question is where will they be and to what extent.
It seems more likely than not that like the Palestinian’s targeting Israelis the Chechen terrorists are likely to target Russians. If the Chechen’s were able to kill Russian Athletes within Putin’s “Ring of Steel” security perimeter, it would be seen as a blow to Putin and a victory for the terrorists in their mind. The fact that the Palestinians were able to take out their defined enemy despite all the security at the time was the chilling news of that time and the memory forever.
While Russians may be the preferred target there is no doubt that American athletes and those associated with or attending the Sochi Olympics are rich targets as well.
Modern-day Olympiads are no longer a respite from the trials and tribulations of world problems and challenges.
Today Olympiads are a tool and target of politicians and terrorists.
Russia needs all the help it can get from within and beyond its borders to ensure all is being done to prevent terrorist attacks before, during, and after the Olympics.
My hope is that those in positions of authority learn from history so in this case it is not repeated.
Bradley A. Blakeman served as deputy assistant to President George W. Bush from 2001-04. He is currently a professor of politics and public policy at Georgetown University and a frequent contributor to Fox News Opinion. Read more reports from Bradley Blakeman — Click Here Now.
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