Ibne Siraj : The worst impact of terrorism in the socio-economic life stands out as the most sordid experience for anyone who has seen it or who has become a direct victim to such incident once or more. Over the decades, terrorism, political or religious, has changed the socio-economic fabrics of South Asia, killing hundreds, injuring many more and throwing thousands out of home leaving behind a clear uncertainty for their decedents. In other parts of the world, terrorism has long been leaving the same impact but no apparent solution as to how the people affected by such beastly wraths would survive. It is easy to assume in the post-9/11 world that the psychological impact of the continued threat of terrorism would be considerable. Across the globe, terrorist attacks kill and maim thousands each year and cause massive economic damage. Images of the aftermath of bombings and other atrocities in different countries of the world are rarely absent from the media. In such a context it would be natural to expect that the fear and threat of terrorism would have a crippling psychological effect on society. Yet is this the case? Terrorism is the systematic use of violence as a means of coercion for political, religious and ethnical purposes. Common definitions of terrorism refer only to those violent acts, which are intended to create fear (terror); are perpetrated for a religious, political, or ideological goal; and deliberately target or disregard the safety of the non-combatant civilians. Some definitions now include acts of unlawful violence and war. The use of similar tactics by criminal organizations for projection rackets or to enforce a code of silence is usually not labeled terrorism, though these same actions may be labeled terrorism when done by a politically motivated group. Usage of the term has also been criticized for its frequent undue equating with religion. Terrorism has been practiced by a broad array of political organizations to further their objectives. It has been practiced by both right-wing and left-wing political parties, nationalist forces, religious groups, revolutionaries and ruling governments. An abiding characteristic is the indiscriminate use of violence against non-combatants for the purpose of gaining publicity for a group, cause, or individual. The heinous terrorist attacks in Volgograd in recent days are merely the latest chapter in a terrorist war aimed at destabilizing Russia politically and economically, while tearing at the very fabric of Russian society. As the families of the more than 30 dead mourn their loved ones, details of the incidents are beginning to paint an all-too familiar picture for anyone who has followed the development of jihadi groups in the Russian Caucasus. A suicide bomber detonates explosives inside a crowded railway station, killing at least 17 and wounding many more. Another bomber strikes an electric trolleybus, killing 14 and critically wounding many more, including several small children. Such scenes of carnage are nothing new to the Russian people, who have endured nearly two decades of terrorism and paid a heavy price in lives and resources. While it is always important to take time to remember the innocent lives lost, it is equally critical to examine these incidents in the broadest political and geopolitical context in order to understand how and why these tragedies occurred. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, the Russian people have been repeatedly victimized by acts of terrorism emanating from the Caucasus region. Beginning in 1999, with the infamous apartment bombings that killed more than 300 innocent people in several cities including Moscow. There were a number of high-profile attacks all across the country, including the bombing of airports, marketplaces, trains and bus stops, targeted assassinations of community and religious leaders, as well as the infamous Moscow theatre hostage crisis of 2002. These incidents are far more than mere national tragedies to be understood in isolation from one another. Rather, they represent a continuing campaign of terror by internationally connected jihadi organizations, based in the Russian Caucasus, who are intent on waging war against the Russian people and the Russian state. While the facts surrounding the most recent bombings are still being gathered, investigators have noted that the tactics – a suicide bomber in a crowded public space – are characteristic of the terror organisations of the Caucasus. In fact, it seems that this recent attack simply replicates the tactics of a similar attack, which killed a prominent Muslim cleric in the Russian republic of Dagestan in 2012. Such incidents have become all too common in the troubled region as there is a long track record of organizing terrorist operations in Russia, including kidnappings, bombings and assassinations. A particular propaganda outfit has an extensive history of supporting and legitimizing terrorist actions throughout the region, rationalizing atrocities committed in the name of “resistance.” This type of Goebbels-esque propaganda is the hallmark of western imperialist projects; most recently in the conflict in Syria in which the western corporate media and the like refer to terrorism and subversion as “rebellion and freedom-fighting.” One cannot simply focus on any individual or a terrorist group, for that would be not seeing the forest for the trees, missing entirely the larger context within which such acts of terror occur. As a world power, Russia finds itself at the forefront of some of the key geopolitical conflicts in the world today. Whether playing the role of peacemaker in Syria, oil superpower, or weapons/defense manufacturer, Russia is perpetually in conflict with Western powers who seek to further expand their hegemony throughout Eurasia even if takes form of a ‘missile shield.” In examining possible connections between the recent terror attacks and world events, the continuing conflict in Syria immediately comes to the fore. Not only has the war in Syria dragged Russia, along with other world powers, into a political conflict, it has also energized the terror networks of the Russian Caucasus. As the Huffington Post, along with a number of other mainstream media sources, has documented, Chechen and other Caucasian fighters constitute a sizeable contingent among the elements waging war on Assad and the Syrian people. Although terrorists from the Caucasus are having a major impact on the ground in Syria, perhaps the greater threat is their ability to freely travel back to their places of origin. Keeping in mind that Syria is only about 800 miles from the Russian Caucasus, the danger is self-evident: battle-hardened fighters returning from the war in Syria bring with them their newly acquired expertise as killers, only to turn their attention back to their perceived great enemy: Russia. Of course, the question of proximity to Syria is important for another, perhaps more frightening reason – the closest major Russian city is Sochi, site of the Olympics next month. Naturally, many have speculated that the Olympics were a motivating factor for carrying out the attacks in Volgograd, that they were intended to send a message to both Moscow and the world on the eve of the games. While the extent to which Sochi was a motivating factor is up for debate, what is undeniable is that Russia occupies a precarious space in global politics, one that often leads to conflicts, both overt and covert, with other nations and global powers. Countries such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Israel, all part of the greater US-NATO sphere of influence, have a vested interest in ensuring that Russia does not cement its dominance of energy supplies to Europe in the coming decades. Any conflict between Russia and these countries, as we see currently playing out in Syria, should be understood as merely one aspect of a larger geopolitical and strategic conflict between Russia and the West (US-NATO-GCC-Israel primarily). As the Russian Caucasus has become a critical part of Russian energy delivery infrastructure, it has taken on an added importance. The South Stream Pipeline, along with a number of other projects, has positioned Russia as a principal energy source for Europe, thereby weakening the position of Western energy interests who would love to monopolize the flow of oil to Europe. As long as Saudi Arabia and other US clients continue to be a primary source of energy, their interest will always be the destabilisation of Russia.