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November Today in Terrorism

November 21, 2012: Bombing in Dagestan

On November 21, 2012 an IED killed two policemen and one civilian in the Dagestani city of Shamilkala and wounded five others

SHAMILKALA, DAGESTAN – While terrorism is never acceptable, countries may want to stop invading other nations to deny some the justification.

This should come as a surprise to no one I would imagine, but few peoples like to be invaded and taken over. There is something about independence and creating one’s own notion of nationhood that stands in the way of opening the door with a ‘please come in!’ to another country that has designs on your territory.

This of course has rarely – if ever – stood in the way of decisions to do exactly what some don’t want. In other words, nation A enters nation B with force, slaughters the local population and ushers in a new era of governance for the better (?). All while claiming it had to do what it did to (pick one, or several):

  • stop nation B from doing the same thing;
  • help the locals suffering from their own brutal leaders;
  • gain access to resources or strategic territory (hello Panama in 1903!).

And it never goes badly, for either side – NOT!

Everyone is so happy we did this, especially the Iraqis…I think. (Photo: White House photo by Paul Morse)

As a case in point consider Russia’s relations with its neighbours in the Caucasus. Going back to Tsarist days, successive regimes have sought to take over various parts of the mountainous area, seldom with great results. As late as 2008 it engaged in a five-day war with Georgia.

And this continued interference in the affairs of the region leads at times to terrorism.

On this day in 2012

An improvised bomb (IED) killed two policemen and one civilian in the Dagestani city of Shamilkala and wounded five others. The explosion took place when police entered an empty former bank building to inspect an area near the site of an earlier bomb blast that had caused no casualties. It did raise concerns over the Olympic games in 2014 in Sochi, located not that far away.

We have a perfect understanding of the scope of the threat and how to deal with it and how to prevent it. I hope that our law enforcement agencies will deal with it with honor and dignity, the way it was during other major sports and political events.

President Putin on lead-up to 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics

Note that I am not justifying terrorism on account of cross-border incursions. It’s just that sometimes you can see where these actions lead.

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By Phil Gurski

Phil Gurski is the President and CEO of Borealis Threat and Risk Consulting Ltd. and Director of the National Security programme at the University of Ottawa’s Professional Development Institute (PDI). Phil is a 32-year veteran of CSE and CSIS and the author of six books on terrorism.

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