Chechens: Legendary tough guys
At this point we still don't know how much time Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the two brothers suspected of committing the Boston Marathon bombing, spent in Chechnya. Dzhokhar, who emigrated with his family to the U.S. in 2002, when he was 9 years old, may have no memory of the place. But we do know that both brothers identified as Chechens: Tamerlan told a photographer his family had been driven from their homeland by "war" and that he wanted to wrestle for the Chechen Olympics team if the country ever won its independence from Russia. He put a Chechen dictionary and works of Chechen history on his Amazon wish list. Both brothers also described themselves as Muslims, and since the Chechen insurgency is overwhelmingly Islamist, it's very possible they viewed the bombing as a blow struck on behalf of a Chechen jihad.
But is it? To find out more about the history of Chechnya and how its troubles may or may not have migrated to our shores, I spoke with Robert W. Schaefer, a U.S. Army Special Forces Green Beret with many years experience planning and executing counterinsurgency and counterterrorism operations in the Caucasus region. He is the author of the highly-regarded 2011 book "The Insurgency in Chechnya and the North Caucasus: From Gazavat to Jihad."