Last week, the Russian city of Volgograd (formerly Stalingrad) experienced two suicide bombings of its public transportation system, killing 32 people. The suspected bomber, Pavel Pechenkin, is reportedly a member of a group of militant Islamic separatists operating out of Dagestan in the Caucasus.
According to Iranian Fars News Agency, an FSB (Russian Intelligence) memo circulating the Kremlin notes that Pechenkin’s interest in militant Islam extends beyond Russia’s borders.
Of particular concern about Pechyonkin for Putin, this memo continues, was this suicide bombers location this past year which the FSB confirms was in radical Wahhabi Salafi and Takfiri-rebel held territories of Syria controlled and funded by Saudi Arabia.
Why is that important? Back in the late summer of 2013, Prince Bandar of Saudi Arabia threatened to unleash Chechen terrorists against Russia during the Olympic games if Putin did not abandon his support for Assad in Syria. The Olympics begin in a matter of weeks in southern Russia, and Volgograd is a main transportation hub for tourists traveling to the games in Sochi.
With 32 killed near the Olympic city just before Russia’s big party begins, Putin is not pleased. According to the FSB memo about the Volgograd bombings,
… the Russian leader has, in effect, vowed to ‘destroy’ Saudi Arabia as he is blaming Riyadh for this horrific crime against humanity, sources revealed on Wednesday.
You may be wondering what Prince Bandar has to say about all of this. You’ll have to wait.
It seems that, for the second time in two years, there are rumors that Prince Bandar bin Sultan may be dead. Sultan Qaboos of Oman has sent a letter of condolence to Saudi King Abdullah on the death of Bandar (h/t CTuttle). So have The Crown Prince and Prime Minister Of Bahrain.
Maybe Bandar is dead. Maybe he is keeping a low profile to avoid blowback from terrorism aimed at Sochi.
Update: Bandar lives. It seems that a prince Bandar *did* die, but it was a different Prince Bandar of Saudi Arabia Again, h/t CTuttle.
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Photo by Volgograd.ru released under a Creative Commons Share Alike license.