It has been a dramatic 12 hours in Boston. One of the suspects in the Marathon bombing, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, is dead. As we write this, his brother, 19, Dzhokar Tsarnaev, is still at large. The men are believed to be Chechens, from the troubled and violent region of Russia’s North Caucasus, where separatists have fought for an independent Islamic state since 1994.
The Guardian reports that the Tsarnaev family also lived in Dagestan, a province in the region with a large Muslim majority that is also experiencing an insurrection against Russian rule. The revolt in Dagestan has now surpassed the Chechen conflict in severity, according to The Guardian.
We do not know what the brothers thought of Chechnya, Dagestan and the various separatist movements there (some of which, experts say, have links to al-Qaeda), but here is some background reading on the region and the terrorism associated with it.
From the Council on Foreign Relations, a “Backgrounder” on Chechen terrorism.
From the UK’s Royal Institute of International Affairs, a transcript of a seminar entitled “The North Caucasus: Islam, Security and Politics.”