Is the incident a product of Islamic terrorism or an act by "third forces"?
The terrorist act in Vienna, my second favorite city in Europe after Prague, made me wake up in the middle of the night. I still haven't had a minute of sleep, studying in detail the events as they unfolded, by minute. And what I saw made me wonder whether this is an illusion of a tired mind, or whether things are really that obvious...
It appears that the act of terror in Vienna echoes the narrative about an expanding Islamic threat. The attack came almost in unison with the violent incidents in France and the mounting wave of Russian propaganda reports claiming a threat to Armenian Christianity in Nagorno-Karabakh spread from Muslim Azerbaijanis and to Khabarovsk protesters – from Turkish terrorists. But it must take a deeper look to see who is actually posing a "radical Islamic" threat?
The Vienna terrorist – which is surprising to me – didn't act by a guidebook of militants who have undergone the relevant field training and neither did he sport camo gear remain stealthy. Instead, he wore a white tracksuit and shot from his hip, not aiming properly from the shoulder. This testifies that the Austrian killer was no professionally trained fighter, but a rookie subjected to psychological manipulation to commit the violent crime.
Earlier I wrote that the Paris murderer also wasn’t some terrorist specifically trained for the mission – he was simply a former Russia native of the Chechen origin. I'm talking about the beheading of a history and geography teacher at a Paris college, who showed cartoons of Prophet Muhammad from Charlie Hebdo magazine in a class on freedom of speech.
Besides, it's worth recalling that just recently, the French police detained a man for an attempt on a Greek priest outside a Lyon church. The suspect is Jean-Michel Dhimoïla, who turned out to be connected with Russia through sympathizing with this country's far-right groups.
So, while there is a huge amount of open-source information on how Russia has been exploiting ultra-right nationalist and radical groups around the world to undermine particular countries, a terrorist act is committed in France by an adept of one of these neo-Nazi cults…
By the way, this terrorist had a blog on the website of Russia's propaganda media platform Russia Today (Sputnik France) and is known to be a member of the far-right Debout la France party.
So, we have a former Russia native, who was one way or another in the field of his diaspora influence, as well as a priest with some unambiguous ties with Russia… And then came a terrorist attack in the Austrian capital and the arrests that followed. You won't believe this but Austrian law enforcers started arresting … nationals of Balkan states!
Moreover, the Russian Ambassador to Austria Dmitry Lyubinsky himself said that citizens representatives of some Balkan and North Caucasus states had been detained in the Vienna attack case.
Meanwhile, let me remind you that in the terrorist attack in Paris in 2015, the so-called ISIS used weapons supplied from the Balkans, namely from Serbia. On March 24, 2016, when police arrested one of the suspects in the Paris attacks case, they found a major arsenal at his premises. Among the weapons were explosives, Kalashnikovs, and pistols made in Croatia.
Also, the terrorists who staged the attacks in the French capital also used AK-47s that came off the assembly line at the Zastava plant in Serbia. The Kouachi brothers, who attacked the Charlie Hebdo office, also wielded weapons produced in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Here, another very important point should be clarified – the Balkans is the region that has traditionally been the main base of the GRU's intelligence network.
The Vienna incident is in its essence what Russian military intelligence almost always applies when it needs certain trump cards on the geopolitical foothold – the chaos factor.
In the current conditions of the Karabakh conflict, where Russian propagandists are sowing a narrative about a certain threat of the Islamic world, it is very important for Moscow to turn the European community first against Turkey and then against the entire international community professing Islam.
And it's for these purposes that Russia has wakened across Europe a number of sleeper cells of potential terrorists, of which many have been aware for years but the European community has been stubbornly turning a blind eye to them, while teaching others how to deal with the Russian threat. I just want to ask our European partners: "Really?"