A dead terrorist is a good terrorist, especially when another terrorist kills him

When terrorists kill terrorists it is a good day (provided that innocent civilians do not also die in the process). One less terrorist to worry about is a good thing.

Terrorists are all about killing: sometimes they kill each other.

There is an old saying: there is no honour among thieves. In essence, this phrase means you cannot trust a thief with anything. The decorum of ‘normal’ society is not something they believe in.

I would add that the same goes for terrorists. They generally have one goal in mind: to kill and maim as many people as they can in the course of their attacks. They do not abide by the rules we have all (tacitly) agreed on in order to allow our nations and communities to function.

Ergo we should not trust terrorist groups. Are you listening US President Trump who seems to think that negotiating ‘peace‘ with the Taliban terrorists in Afghanistan is a good move? What are the chances they will keep any ‘promises’ they make? I’d say…hmm…about zero!

Then we have some terrorist groups which stoop to even lower lows.

Take Islamic State (ISIS or IS). These brutes do not just kill people: they behead them, drown them in cages, burn them alive and throw them from buildings. Among terrorist groups these guys really are the absolute bottom.

Now, we normally see terrorist groups operating in certain theatres. They tend to have their own ‘territories’ insofar as they dominate a given area and are responsible for the vast majority of attacks, if not an actual monopoly on them.

Of course things are more complicated than that. In some places there are terrorist groups that compete with each other, for territory, for influence, for blood. On many occasions it seems they don’t really seem to care what the other is doing: if you think about it, Islamist terrorist group A is probably ok with Islamist terrorist group B killing the kuffar (i.e. infidels). To their way of thinking a dead kaffir is a good kaffir.

Sometimes, though, the rivalry turns violent.

In late December 2020 the Al Qaeda (AQ)-linked Al Shabaab in Somalia declared ‘war’ on the ISIS affiliate in the eastern part of the country. The terrorist group’s media arm Radio Andalus (a reference to the Muslim control of southern Spain beginning in the early 8th century CE) announced an offensive called ‘Operation Eradication’ aimed at destroying ISIS.

A so-called Islamic State has emerged in our land and stated to attempt to divide our Mujahidin, weaken our strength and carry out assassinations against our own. We have been ignoring their wicked behaviors for some time to give them a chance to change, but they have continued their wrongheadedness.

Al Shabaab spokeperson

The conflict between the two rival terrorist groups has been simmering since the emergence of the ISIS-affiliated group in Somalia in October 2015 in the northeastern Puntland state. This group reported its first offensive on Al Shabaab in Somalia five days before Al Shabaab declared war on them.

In all honesty, the fight is not an even one. The IS-affiliated group is estimated to have about 200 active members and is far smaller than Al Shabaab, which has thousands of fighters in largely rural areas in Somalia. It is thus likely that the latter will defeat the latter, although whether it can ‘eradicate’ them, as the spokesperson boasted, is a whole other matter.

AQ 1 IS 0

Somalia is not the only case of Islamist terrorist in-fighting. In May of 2020 IS in the Greater Sahara (ISGS) claimed it had engaged in clashes with AQ-linked JNIM (Jamaat Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimin), although ISGS said JNIM started the fighting.

Similarly in Yemen AQ-linked groups are waging a deadly contest for territory, recruits and influence that is dividing tribes and deepening instability. As if Yemen did not have enough problems!

So what is the bottom line here?

It is rather simple: when terrorists kill terrorists it is a good day (provided that innocent civilians do not also die in the process). One less terrorist to worry about is a good thing. If terrorists keep killing each other they are not killing us. Score! Maybe we should encourage more terrorist ‘civil wars’.

Some take offence when I say this but I will repeat it – again! A dead terrorist is a good terrorist!


By Phil Gurski

Phil Gurski is the President and CEO of Borealis Threat and Risk Consulting Ltd. Phil is a 32-year veteran of CSE and CSIS and the author of six books on terrorism.

2 replies on “A dead terrorist is a good terrorist, especially when another terrorist kills him”

Phil I agree with your analysis 100%! If these misguided, radical and violent individuals want to kill and maim each other, I say let them have at it, as long as civilians and innocent bystanders are not getting hurt.

Like many people, I really don’t mind if these violent thugs chase each other into the “great hereafter.”

As the old saying goes, “you live by the sword, you die by the sword.”

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