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Significant Terrorism Events in the News: Aug. 22 - Sept. 26, 2012

Significant Terrorism Events in the News: Aug. 22 - Sept. 26, 2012

September 28, 2012Jaime Shoemaker

START's Significant Terrorism Events in the News is designed to give a brief overview of the past month's most significant developments in terms of terrorism and counterterrorism. The cases were selected based on visibility in the news and regional diversity. The articles selected are intended to be a sample of current events regarding terrorism around the world and not a definitive list.

Canada: Return of Parti Québécois to power marred by a possible assassination attempt Wearing a bath robe and a balaclava, Richard Henry Bain entered an election victory celebration for the Parti Québécois Sept. 4. After entering through the back door, he opened fire near Quebec's new premier-designate, Pauline Marois. While the premier was unharmed in the attack, one man (Denis Blanchette) was killed and another was wounded. Upon his arrest, Bain said a phrase in French that can be translated as either "The English are rising up" or "The English are awakening."

Bain believed that, had the Liberal party won, he would have been able to obtain a permit allowing him to turn his fishing camp into a lodge. It is suspected that the loss of the Liberal party was part of his motivation to carry out the attack. The New York Times reports that Bain also expressed his opposition to the law in Quebec requiring the use of French, something that the Parti Québécois strongly supports. Bain currently faces 16 criminal charges.

International: Brother of Zawahiri proposes peace plan The brother of al-Qaida leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, offered to mediate a peace deal between al-Qa`ida and the Western world in an interview with CNN that aired on Sept. 11. Mohamed al-Zawahiri said that he believes that he is well-positioned to be an intermediary because he understands his brother's point of view and has access to him. In his interview with the news network, Mohamed al-Zawahiri laid out a 10-year truce that includes the following terms:

  1. The West must:
    • Stop intervening in Muslim lands
    • Stop interfering in Muslim education
    • End the war on Islam
    • Release all Islamist prisoners
  1. Islamists must:
    • Stop attacks on Western and U.S. interests
    • Protect legitimate Western and U.S. interests in Muslim lands
    • Stop provoking the United States and the West

Since the interview, the recent protests over an anti-Islamic film produced in the United States have made Mohamed al-Zawahiri more prominent. He said he believes that the West must sit down and reconsider its current presence in the Middle East in order to avoid another 9/11.

France: French newspaper publishes cartoon mocking the prophet Muhammad Just days after the Muslim world erupted in anger over the posting of an American made anti-Islamic video on YouTube, a French paper, Charlie Hebdo, published a cartoon depicting the prophet Muhammad without clothing. The cartoon has sparked controversy both in France itself and in the larger Muslim world. For fear of violence similar to the anti-American violence already occurring, the French government closed embassies, consulates, cultural centers and international schools in countries with large Muslim populations. The weekly satirical newspaper has defended the decision to publish the cartoon, claiming the right of free speech.

While it does not appear that the cartoon has sparked new riots, there is evidence that it has further fueled the protests already occurring. In 2005, a Dutch newspaper was targeted after printing a cartoon of the prophet Muhammad. That cartoon became the motivation for numerous attacks on both the newspaper that published it and the artist himself.

Nigeria: 48 injured in suicide bomb attack on Catholic Church in Nigeria Recent reports out of Nigeria claim that 48 people were injured and five were killed on Sept. 23 in the city of Bauchi when a suicide bomber detonated explosives packed inside his car, which was located outside of St. John's Catholic Cathedral Church. The attacker had tried to gain entry into the Sunday service but was turned away. The assailant then waited until people were leaving the Sunday service, and others were arriving for a later service, to detonate the explosives. It is believed that Boko Haram may be responsible for this attack, as it is consistent with numerous other bombings claimed by the group in recent months in the area.

Boko Haram seeks to impose sharia law throughout Nigeria, and it has carried out a campaign of Sunday church bombings. The city of Bauchi has seen a rash of violence in recent weeks, including the shooting of a former Controller-General of Prisons.

United States: Terrorist plot discovered in murder investigation Through the course of an investigation into the murder of a former soldier and his girlfriend, authorities in Georgia uncovered numerous plots to carry out acts of terrorism in the United States by an underground militia. The anarchist militia group, known as FEAR (Forever Enduring, Always Ready), is reported to have stockpiled roughly $80,000 of weapons, ammunition and explosive material.

According to reports from CNN and the Associated Press, the group was plotting a range of attacks, including the bombing of a dam in the state of Washington and poisoning of the apple crop (a vital part of Washington's economy). Authorities also uncovered a plot by the group to assassinate "the president," although President Obama was not mentioned by name. As of Sept. 11, nine people have been arrested for either their participation in the murders near Fort Stewart, Ga., or their connection to FEAR.