BOSSO AND DIFFA, NIGER – If you launch a terrorist attack you had better make sure you have the forces to withstand retaliation.
Everyone loves an underdog.
There are so many stories throughout history and in modern culture that inspire us. Rocky Balboa, the plucky Philadelphia boxer who lasts 12 rounds with a superior opponent. The unnamed man who stood in front of Chinese tanks at Tiananmen Square in 1989. Heck, even last year’s Montreal Canadiens who shocked the hockey world to get to the Stanley Cup finals (NB NOT this year’s Habs, mired in last place – boo, hoo says I as a fan of the team).
Why do we love underdogs? It is not complicated. They go into situations where they are heavily disadvantaged and even if they do not come up on top we admire their efforts.
One bunch which is usually seen as underdog in nature but which we rarely if ever root for are terrorists. With few exceptions, like Islamic State (ISIS) in 2014-2019 in Syria and Iraq, terrorist groups are usually quite small and are up against vastly larger enemies (military, security intelligence, etc.). And while they do succeed – far too frequently for the liking of many of us – they nevertheless get smacked down – far too infrequently for our liking. When it does happen I cannot help but smile.
On this day in 2015
The Al Qaeda (AQ)/ISIS-linked Nigerian terrorist group Boko Haram (BH) attacked two border towns inside the neighbouring country of Niger, killing at least one civilian. BH and its allies (including ISIS’ West African Province – ISWAP) in recent years have been expanding their remit across nations surrounding Nigeria.
Except on this occasion the Nigerien military struck back, killing 109 BH extremists: four soldiers were also killed in the battle. While no terrorism is good, an act that resulted in the deaths of more than 100 of your cadre is not a good ending. Here’s hoping for more like this!
Read More Today in Terrorism
On May 31, 1906 a Spanish anarchist threw a bomb hoping to hit King Alfonso XIII, killing 24 and wounding more than 100.
On May 30, 2009 two pamphlet-bombs exploded outside an Ecuadorian TV station and ministry: no victims or significant damage ensued.
On May 29, 2016 35 civilians were wounded in an ISIS attack using rockets containing chlorine gas in Iraq’s Nineveh Province.