Global Terrorism This Week (GTTW) – August 22-28, 2022

The Global Terrorism This Week (GTTW): August 22-28, 2022. Another week dominated by Islamist terrorism – so what else is new?

Weekly thought – All’s fair in love and war…including terrorism?

As I write these lines we have passed the six-month mark of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. This naked act of military aggression, for that is exactly what it is, has killed thousands and wrecked many parts of Ukraine to the tune of billions of dollars. And it shows no signs of ebbing.

I cannot pretend to be neutral in this regard. Not only was the Russian decision to attack Ukraine unjustified – Ukraine posed no threat to Russia, was not itself planning to invade its neighbour, and had done nothing in recent years to warrant these Russian actions – but I am half Ukrainian (on my mother’s side) so I am not going to make any pretense of ‘seeing both sides’.

Ukrainian forces, supported to an admirable extent by Western nations, have performed remarkably against a much larger foe. They have stopped the advances of Russian troops which believed taking Ukraine in toto was just a matter of days. Yet, despite plucky Ukrainian bravey, the war shows no signs of ending any time soon and we will have to wait and see what ensues.

Ukraine has played the international card well, has impressed many on a military scale and is now taking the offensive into Russia (and Russian-held areas of Ukraine) now. It may, and I stress may, also have had a role in the killing of Daria Dugina, the daughter of far-right ideologue Alexander Dugin, or at least that is what Russia’s FSB security services are claiming. They say Natalya Vovk, a 43-year-old Ukrainian, was responsible for the killing then supposedly fled to Estonia.

As is usual in these instances, the truth is hard to make out. Russian government and media sources are not known to be accurate or honest on many occasions, both in Russia and around the world (we all have read about the so-called troll farms). Figuring out who killed Dugina and why will take time and we may never really know whodunit. A variety of Russian media outlets have floated the conspiracy theory that the Russian secret police staged the murder in order to mobilize the Russian population in support of the war.

If it were a Ukrainian assassin, does that make it an act of terrorism? I am unfamiliar with either Russian or Ukrainian law when it comes to terrorism but this was certainly a serious act of violence and it sure looks political in nature (even if Dugina’s father was the real target). That would make it terrorism, at least in Canada.

Or is anything acceptable in war? We do have international conventions on what is and what is not ok in warfare (don’t target civilians, don’t use chemical and biological weapons, don’t use people as ‘human shields’, etc.) and some would argue the assassination of Ms. Dugina in Moscow falls into some category of prohibited.

I am now beyond my specialisation as I am anything but a military or legal analyst. What is done is done and we will, alas, most likely see similar acts as long as this Russian-led invasion continues. We will also see the ‘t’ word (‘terrorism’) used by both sides: wait for more accusations of terrorism to come.

This week by the numbers

  • Countries which experienced actual attacks: 6 (Afghanistan, Iraq, Nigeria, Palestine/Israel and Somalia)
  • Victims (dead/wounded): 16 dead 18 wounded (including terrorists)
  • Ideology of terrorists: majority Islamist extremist (jihadis)
  • Single greatest attack: Somalia’s Al Shabaab (AS) killed six people it accused of spying for the US and UK governments on August 22.





  • The Egyptian army claimed on August 23 that it was making substantial progress against the local ISIS affiliate, ISIS Wilayat Sinai, together with the assistance of local tribal fighters. Egypt announced that it had reduced Wilayat Sinai capabilities to a minimum in over the past two years.


  • Three suspected Islamist terrorists were killed in disputed Kashmir on August 25 near the unofficial border between India and Pakistan, Indian police said, in the fourth such incident along the frontier in five days. The incident took place near an army post after crossing the highly militarised Line of Control (LoC) in northern Uri sector



  • A new offensive by Mozambique’s Islamist extremist rebels in the embattled northern province of Cabo Delgado has increased the number of displaced by 80,000 and undermines the government’s claims of containing the insurgency. The rebels have expanded their area in a campaign that has lasted for more than two months. This action, which started in June, follows a period of relative calm when the commander-general of Mozambique’s national police had declared that “the war against terrorism is almost at an end.” That claim proved to be hollow as the fighters have struck further south than ever before, burning villages and beheading civilians in the Ancuabe, Chiure and Mecufi districts which had previously been untouched by the conflict since it began in October 2017.








United Kingdom

United States

  • A New Mexico man was arrested on August 26 and charged with trying to provide material support to ISIS. Federal prosecutors believe Herman Leyvoune Wilson, 45, of Albuquerque, was trying to establish an “Islamic State Center” in New Mexico that would teach ISIS ideology, provide martial arts training and serve as a haven for people preparing to fight for the group in the US and abroad. Two men arrested in September 2020 for providing material support to ISIS testified that Wilson had radicalised them to the group’s ideology.: Kristopher Matthews and Jaylin Molina were arrested for providing material support to ISIS and later pleaded guilty, sentenced to 20 years and 18 years in prison respectively.

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.

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