News / Europe

Experts Say Security Threats in Sochi May Already Be Inside

Experts Say Security Threats in Sochi May Already Be Insidei
X
February 03, 2014 9:29 PM
It’s now less than one week until the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. And while Russia tightens security, many experts agree that it could be too little, too late, saying that many threats are homegrown. VOA's Arash Arabasadi reports.
Arash Arabasadi
It’s now less than one week until the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi.  And while Russia tightens security, many experts agree that it could be too little, too late, saying that many threats are homegrown. No amount of security can keep out what experts say may already be inside. 

Many recall, the bomb blast that rocked the stadium in Chechnya's captial city. It was May 2004, a parade on the 59th anniversary celebration commemorating the defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II.  The bomb killed more than a dozen people, including the newly-elected Chechen president and other government officials.  Dozens more suffer injuries from the explosion - the bomb was built into a concrete pillar.  

This is why some experts fear that despite Russian President Vladimir Putin’s so-called “ring of steel” security in Sochi, it may already be too late.

“Assuming that it’s 100 percent effective, although nothing ever is, he set it up long after the Sochi Games were announced and construction started.  That means that cells had the opportunity to move into place long before that construction,” explained Ian von Gordon, director of Operations at the Diplomatic Protection Training Institute in Youngstown, Ohio, which provides security to civilians in high threat environments. He's an expert on terror groups in the North Caucasus.

“There’s probably people who applied to work for either contractors, construction companies, or the Olympics itself, and then they were brought in by those companies as contractors or employees,” he said.

An estimated 100,000 contractors have been working in and around Sochi building venues for these Olympic Games.  They expand sewers.  They drive buses.  And it is nearly impossible to vet all of them, said Glen Howard, president of the Jamestown Foundation, a research institute in Washington D.C.

“This is a big problem just by itself in the people that have already come to Sochi to work.  They could have planted a bomb,” he said.

Like the parade in 2004.  Experts said Chechen separatists may have planted those explosives in the stadium’s structure as many as three months earlier.

“I think I would be very surprised if there was not a bombing or something happened between now and the actual Olympics and when it starts on February 6,” Howard stated.

Sochi is just west of a neighboring Caucasus region where separatists have vowed to fight Russians to the death. 

Andrew Kuchins, director of the Russia and Eurasia program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, said the Games may be too good an opportunity for extremists to pass.

“Sochi is the Holy Grail, I would think, for a terrorist - Islamic jihadist - individual or group to go after.  So, in a way, we have kind of the ultimate showdown,” he said.
 
“You have an unusual, unprecedented situation where you have people from all over the world - civilians - participating in a highly-publicized event,” said von Gordon.

While Russia continues its efforts to keep terrorism out of Sochi, the biggest threat to securing the Olympic Games may already be inside.

You May Like

IS Militants Release 49 Turkish Hostages

Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency reports that no ransom was paid and no conditions accepted for the hostages' release; few details of the release are known More

Photogallery IS Attacks Send Thousands of Syrian Kurds Fleeing to Turkey

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says more than 300 Kurdish fighters crossed into Syria from Turkey to defend a Kurdish area from attack by the Islamic militants More

Video Sierra Leone's Ebola Lockdown Continues

Thousands of health workers are going door to door in the West African country of 6 million, informing people of how to avoid Ebola, handing out soap More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Frank from: Boat
February 05, 2014 6:05 PM
What disaster? It's just threats.


by: Barbara from: UK
February 04, 2014 12:03 AM
why would anyone wish to go and see this disaster unfolding is incomprehensible to me... no, thank you...!!!

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’i
X
Jeff Seldin
September 20, 2014 10:28 PM
Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid