Մատչելիության հղումներ

By Harut Sassounian
Publisher, The California Courier

The bizarre circumstances and dubious names in the Boston Marathon bombings have raised many questions that have yet to be answered by government officials and journalists.

The most mysterious character is ‘Misha’ whom Ruslan Tsarni, uncle of the Boston bombers, described as an Armenian convert to Islam who had supposedly brainwashed and radicalized Tamerlan, the elder of the suspected Tsarnaev brothers. Ruslan described ‘Misha’ as a heavy-set bald exorcist with a long reddish beard!

Initially, no one could find ‘Misha.’ While his alleged affiliation with Tamerlan and Armenian origin was prominently and repeatedly mentioned in the media, it took the authorities 10 days to announce that they knew who ‘Misha’ was and that he had no connection to the terrorist acts!

Last Sunday, Christian Caryl of the New York Review of Books, was finally able to locate and interview the elusive ‘Misha’ in his Rhode Island home. Even though Caryl disclosed that ‘Misha,’ a native of Baku, Azerbaijan, is the son of an Armenian father and a Ukrainian mother, and that his last name is Allakhverdov, the media continues to refer to him as an ‘Armenian.’ Notably, neither Caryl nor anyone else mentions the fact that ‘Misha’ or ‘Mikayel’ -- a common Christian name -- cannot be the name of a Muslim! Moreover, after the break up of the Soviet Union, many Muslim Azerbaijanis applied for asylum in Europe and the United States, under the pretext that they were persecuted Christian Armenians! It is odd that ‘Misha,’ supposedly a Christian, would flee from Islamic persecution in Baku, only to convert to Islam in America!

Interestingly, Caryl reports that ‘Misha’ had nothing to do with the Boston bombings, which is exactly what government investigators had earlier announced. Could it be that US officials had put Caryl in contact with ‘Misha’ in order to confirm their declaration of his innocence, leading some analysts to speculate that ‘Misha’ may have been an FBI informant whose cover is now being meticulously protected!

The next suspicious character is Uncle Ruslan who has accused ‘Misha the Armenian’ of having a powerful influence over Tamerlan. Ruslan himself has had a checkered past, having worked for USAID and several Caspian Sea energy companies, while married to Samantha Ankara Fuller, daughter of Graham Fuller, a retired top CIA official. Because of Ruslan’s close relationship to the bombers’ family, his employment with Central Asian oil companies including Halliburton, and marriage to the daughter of a high-ranking CIA official, some analysts have suggested that the enigmatic uncle warrants a closer look.

Last week, prominent Armenian-American attorney Mark Geragos blasted Ruslan Tsarni on CNN, suggesting that "somebody needs to give this uncle a field sobriety test, because I think this guy is under the influence of something." Geragos was furious that Ruslan had linked the Boston bombers to the ‘Armenian Misha,’ while Armenians worldwide were commemorating the 98th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide! Ruslan then tried to reach Geragos by telephone, seeking "to clarify" his earlier statement. Geragos refused to take his call.

Some analysts suggest that Tamerlan may have been recruited by the Russian secret services (FSB) to spy on Chechen extremists during his six-month stay in Chechnya and Dagestan last year. Having informed the FBI and CIA of Tamerlan’s links to radical Islamist groups, and not receiving a satisfactory response from US officials, it could be that the FSB took matters into its own hands and recruited the unemployed and penniless young Chechen during his lengthy stay in Russia.

Other analysts speculate that Tamerlan may have been an informant for the US government. Such a supposition is much more credible than assuming that the FBI and CIA were too incompetent or too busy to conduct a thorough investigation of Tamerlan’s background after the Russian FSB brought his name to their attention. It could be that US authorities knew Tamerlan only too well and may have even encouraged him to travel to Russia as their mole in Jihadist circles.

Finally, there are those who believe that Tamerlan ended up betraying both the Russian and American intelligent services, deciding instead to support radical Islamic groups, "out of anger over US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan," according to his younger brother Dzhokhar’s jailhouse confession.

Of course, these speculations are advanced by various analysts based on preliminary information, pending a thorough Congressional investigation to uncover the true facts. Americans killed and maimed in the Boston bombings deserve an honest answer!
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