Weekly theme – the terrorist acts that weren’t
We live in age of terrorism, or so it seems. The ‘war on terror’ has been going on for decades. Our news feeds bombard us on a daily basis with terrorist incidents. Terrorism seems to be everywhere!
Except it isn’t.
Despite conclusions and ‘analysis’ drawn by ‘experts’, terrorism is actually a rare phenomenon in most of the world. Sure, some places – Somalia, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Iraq, etc. – suffer attacks on an all too regular basis, but the rest of the planet is mercifully free from terrorism on any given day. That is a fact (and one I am trying to document in this weekly series).
Still, many see this as a constant threat…and get it wrong.
The other development of late is to see right-wing extremism (RWE) as the end-all and be-all of the terrorism menace these days. RWE encompasses a dog’s breakfast of causes: anti-immigrant, white supremacist, white nationalist, neo-Nazis, etc. Again, wrong: the vast majority of attacks that do occur anywhere are still perpetrated by Islamist terrorists/jihadis. This too is a fact (and, again, one I am trying to document in this weekly series).
Which brings me to recent events in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
On August 7 authorities in that state said they were investigating the possibility that a serial killer had been hunting Muslim people in Albuquerque after four men of the faith were murdered there in the past year. Others went much further, stating confidently that this was a hate spree clearly caused by Islamophobia, seen by some on the left as the greatest danger we face (NB Islamophobia is real, but its occurrence is vastly overexaggerated).
Two days later police arrested a 51-year-old man from Afghanistan and charged him with the deaths of two of the victims, adding that he was suspected in the slayings of the two others. And here is the kicker: the crimes most likely had nothing to do with Islamophobia, but possibly something to do with intra-Islamic Sunni-Shia relations. According to some reports, the suspect killed the men over an ‘interpersonal conflict‘.
In other words, no hate crime, no white revenge, no anti-immigrant motive, no Islamophobia. Not surprisingly, no one that I have seen has apologised for their comments that this was clearly an anti-Islamic series of killings.
- Wait until there is more, credible information before sharing your ‘expert instant analysis’;
- Don’t comment on things for which you have little experience;
- Stop thinking that every violent incident against ______ (fill in the blank with your group of choice: Muslims, blacks, LGBTQ+, women…) is clearly a targeted act.
Wouldn’t we all be a little better off if we kept our powder dry until more facts came in?
- A top Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP, aka Pakistani Taliban) commander, Omar Khalid Khorasani aka Abdul Wali Mohmand, and three other militants were reportedly killed by a roadside mine in eastern Afghanistan on August 9. No one claimed responsibility although Khorasani had a $3 million bounty on his head.
- Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISK) claimed the killing of a Taliban scholar, Shaikh Rahinmullah Haqqani, in a suicide bombing at a seminary in Kabul on August 11.
- Ten civilians, including four security auxiliaries, were killed by suspected jihadists in northern Burkina Faso on August 8.
- Two explosions killed 15 Burkina Faso troops in the Center-North region on August 9. A vehicle carrying troops hit an explosive device and while troops secured the area and tended to the victims, a second device was remotely detonated, causing many casualties.
- The Burkinabe Army stated on August 12 that will deploy a new strategy to push back jihadist insurgents and recapture lost territory.
- On August 14 two local rights groups accused Burkina Faso soldiers of massacring more than 40 villagers in the course of the war on jihadis in the north.
Democratic Republic of Congo
- On August 10, Allied Democratic Forces, allied with Islamic State’s (ISIS) Central African Province – ISCAP – gunmen sieged a prison in eastern DRC and reportedly freed over 800 detainees.
- The ISIS Sinai affiliate was seen on August 11 to be near vital infrastructure east of the Suez Canal. The terrorists also surrounded the railway area in the city and were stopping the movement of civilians.
- Suspected rebels attacked an army camp in Indian-administered Kashmir on August 11, killing three soldiers before being shot dead themselves.
- An ISIS leader, Abu Salem Al Iraqi, blew himself up in southern Syria after being surrounded by government forces on August 10. Iraqi “triggered his explosive belt after being surrounded and wounded”: he had been the military chief of the extremist group in the country’s south.
- On August 12 Turkish MİT neutralised a Partiya Karkerên Kurdistan PKK (Kurdistan’s Workers Party) local leader in northern Syria, including Yusif Mehmud Rebani, who is code-named Rezan Cavit; in another announcement on August 14 Turkey claimed to have killed another 11 PKK terrorists.
- Two Kenyan officers were injured on August 8 in an attack on a police station in Wajir County by Al Shabaab (AS).
- The Libyan government began a trial on August 9 for dozens accused of membership in ISIS. In 2014 ISIS took advantage of the disorder that followed the killing of Muammar Gaddafi to establish itself in Libya and seized the coastal city of Sirte the following year, losing it in 2016 after heavy fighting between the jihadists and Misrata forces.
- Germany announced on August 11 that its anti-terrorist role in the UN’s CT MINUSMA military mission in Mali would be halted until further notice: note that France is withdrawing a larger force from Mali, as the junta hired Russian mercenaries.
- On August 11 Moroccan authorities announced the arrest of an ISIS jihadist who was planning to carry out terrorist attacks. The jihadi was very active on social media networks, promoting extremist ideology and encouraging criminal acts against some personalities, public infrastructures and private sites.
- Mozambique’s Defence Minister stated on August 9 that the situation in the northern province of Cabo Delgado is stable, but sporadic terrorist attacks are still likely to occur. He added that the jihadists were changing their tactics after losing their main fixed bases to offensives by the Mozambican Defence and Security forces and their SADC and Rwandan allies.
- On August 12 a senior official in Cabo Delgado announced that 110 industrial units closed as a result of the terrorist attacks had reopened thanks to the “relative tranquility” imposed there recently by the Defence and Security Forces (FDS) and the Joint Force. Factories, mills, bakeries and sawmills have resumed operation – a “true sign of the restoration of the industrial network”.
- Nigeria announced that it had arrested several men suspected of a deadly church in southwestern Ondo State attack last June – officials say the killings had an ISWAP ‘imprint’.
- On August 5 a group of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) terrorists from the organisation’s Eastern Security Network (ESA) attacked a police division in Agwa, Imo State and killed four policemen on duty.
- On August 9 Nigerian troops arrested seven Boko Haram (BH) logistics suppliers and kidnappers on the outskirts of Maidugiri, the Borno State capital
- 4 Pakistani soldiers were killed in a suicide attack in North Waziristan on August 8. The bomber rammed a three-wheeler into the convoy late in the evening in the remote district, which has seen a rise in militant violence in recent weeks. The attack took place within hours of the death of a top Pakistani Taliban commander in a bombing in Afghanistan (see above)
- One person was killed and five injured in grenade attack in Balochistan on 10.
- On August 13 and 14 one Pakistani soldier was killed while three Islamist terrorists were killed and one injured as they tried to deploy an IED in North Waziristan.
- On August 13 two Pakistani soldiers were killed in Balochistan during a gun battle with terrorists.
- Israeli forces killed al-Aqsa Brigades commander Ibrahim al-Nabulsi in a Nablus raid on August 9. Two other Palestinians were killed and more than 40 wounded in the attack.
- At least eight people were injured in a shooting at the Western Wall in Jerusalem on August 14: the gunman was said to be a Palestinian resident of East Jerusalem. The attack comes a week after 47 people were killed in the Gaza Strip over three days as Israeli forces targeted leaders of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) and militants fired more than 1,000 rockets into Israel.
- The FBI shot dead an armed man after he tried to ‘breach’ the Bureau’s FBI office in Cincinnati on August 11. While no motive was immediately determined yet the suspect had tweeted that the 2020 US Presidential election had been ‘stolen’ from Donald Trump and also posted calls for violence against Democrats, the FBI and the Supreme Court. Possible ties to the FBI raid on Trump’s Florida mansion?
- A Saudi man wanted in connection with a deadly 2015 bombing in the kingdom detonated an explosive device in Jeddah on Aug 10 as security forces attempted to arrest him, killing himself and injuring four others.
- Somali government forces claimed to have captured several small villages held by Al Shabaab (AS) in the Hiiraan region on August 9.
- The US military carried out an air strike against AS in the central Hiran region on August 10: it claimed to have killed four AS terrorists.
- Four people were killed and 11 others wounded in nine AS bomb attacks in Kismayo district on August 9.
- A suicide bomber detonated himself at a city hotel gate in the town of Jowhar in southern Somalia on August 10.
- On August 14 a court in Somalia’s Puntland area confirmed the death sentence for four ISIS terrorists who had planned explosions and murder.
- One person died in a remote-controlled landmine blast in Somalia’s Lower Shabelle region on August 14.
- Al-Shabaab terrorists clashed with local militia in central Somalia on August 14.
- The US carried out an airstrike in the Hiraan region of Somalia on August 14, killing 13 AS terrorists.
- Two Tunisian soldiers were wounded on August 12 in an exchange of fire with suspected Islamist extremists during a military operation in a mountainous region of the south.
- The Turkish military claimed on August 9 to have ‘neutralised’ 19 PKK terrorists in three operations over three days in northern Iraq.
- On August 11 Turkey claimed to have detained two PKK terrorists who were preparing to carry out attacks in Istanbul and northern Syria.
- On August 10 an Uzbek man who plotted to bankroll ISIS wannabes hoping to fight in Syria was sentenced in a Brooklyn federal court to 11 years behind bars.