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The French government have maintained a high security level for some time and given concern regarding some French nationals of Muslim faith travelling to fight or having strong sympathies with Jihadi sentiments especially since the rise of ISIS one must assume that a lot of energy has been directed at monitoring sections of the Muslim community.

An update by French intelligence  authorities advises that France has stopped five terror attacks and brokenup 13 networks linked to extremists in Syria despite this the  number of young people travelling to Syria has increased sharply.

This weekend  we have had to witness at least 13 people being injured, some seriously, after the driver of a car targeted passers-by in various parts of city of Dijon.

According to witnesses he was shouting to the effect that he was acting in support for the “children of Palestine” during his attacks that lasted over 30 min. There has been report of the driver having had mental problems .

The day before another man, stabbed three policemen in town of Joue-les-Tours after shouting Islamic slogans the 20-year-old attacker was shot dead at the scene.

Radical Islamic is thought to be behind the attacks but it seems that there were no clear links between the attackers.There has been other attacks similar to this using vehicles in England, Scotland recently in Israel and now in France.

What makes such acts so difficult to counter is that they are random, acted out by individuals with no direct links to organisations and they have previously not displayed any serious signs of being radicalised.   

The main difficulty for the authorities is a to admit publicly that there are no effective security measures against un associated  random acts of terror, especially if the perpetrators have no direct links with any recognised organisations.

Surveillance and intelligence are the key weapons to counter act any terrorist act but the nature of these acts make an impossible demand of even the most in-depth and intrusive surveillance and intelligence gathering methods.

 

 

 

The murder of Alan Henning

The 47-year-old taxi-driver from Manchester who was taken hostage last December while on a humanitarian aid convoys to Syria has become the latest victim of ISIS.  His tragic and brutal end has been filmed and used as a gruesome piece of PR.

There are a number of reasons why these murders are made so public but firstly  they  points to an organisation with an eye on influencing domestic and foreign policies of its adversaries and its continued attempt to replace  Al Qaeda as the leading jihadi organisation.

His public murder will no doubt intensify the call for more direct action against the group but many heads of states in the western camp have already promised their countries that they will not commit to ground troop deployment.

Airpower is costly and mostly ineffective against irregular armies such as ISIS so ultimately the question of a large well equipped manned intervention has to be addressed.

Ground troop deployment causes a serious challenge for the coalition members some of whom were pressurised by USA e.g Saudi Arabia, UAE etc   to participate with token and as yet unproven involvement with bombing raids.

On the ground the Kurds are bearing the brunt of the fighting and Iranians have been involved secretly for some time with supplies and reorganisations and front line specialised troops. The Iraqis have mustered their forces with support of Shia militias and have presented a stronger front.

ISIS seem to have an active policy to confront the west directly as soon as possible no doubt sensing that various deals being struck behind the scenes might affect their long term strength, for example a possible arrangement with the Syrian regime by the west.

The British prime minster has spoken of generational fight and Americans have spoken of degrading and then destroying the group as a long term strategy but time might not be on the side of the west if as predicted a revenge terrorist attack is carried out by ISIS or their sympathisers  in Europe or USA.

In such a situation the pressure for the west to put ground troops into action may be too much to bear.

 

Anjem Choudary arrests along with number of other people in UK renews the question as to why it has taken so long for one of the most vocal so called hate preachers to be arrested .
Choudary ‘s legal background has allowed him to navigate a fine line .
It seems that his recent outbursts since the public rise of ISIS has finally provided material for the police to press ahead with arrests .

It remains to be seen if he can be prosecuted successfully and if released weather he will thread a more careful lines in his commentaries .

He has been charged with membership of a banned organization the 47 yr old has repeatedly changed the names of his organizations as they have been banned by the Home Office .

Due to the incendiary nature of his comments he has been courted by the media and had found a platform for his comments.

The two people convicted of the murder of Bands man Lee Rigby in south London were  among his followers.

The air campaign is fast expanding beyond Iraq to various targets in Syria .The target list into Syria compromises of a wish list by number of western governments who due to internal security considerations give different priority to different militant groups.

The introduction of yet another militant group e.g the so called Khorasan network in the mix is yet another example of the multiple fragmented groups that operate under various umbrella groups.

The participation of the certain Arab countries in the bombing is a PR exercise to appease the USA & deflect the growing security relationship between America and their main regional rival Iran.

This will however cause internal issues at home for countries such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar who have been given material and moral support to the militant jihadi movements such ISIS.

Turkey has stayed away from the limelight in recent developments as it continues to underscore its policies of stablishing itself as the Sunni Muslim world leader and to deflect the Jihadi attention by supporting their activities in Iraq and Syria.

The question of so called boots on the ground is hotly debated across media outlets on both side of the Atlantic this however is an academic questions as boots have been on the ground for some time in the shape of Special Forces and advisors.

The offshoot of the bombing of the operational capital of ISIS in Syria the City of Raqqa and other militant targets amounts to military assistance to the Syrian regime in its fight in the civil war, though this is not a declared policy it must be part of the calculations within the military HQs responsible for the operation, this may even have been part of the political barraging chips in negotiations with Syria and Iran.

Events will unfold both on our screens and behind closed doors but given the regional complexities all involved will find their security objectives achievable only by reassessing long held strategic alliances.

Ultimately the real judgment as to the success and failure of the campaign against ISIS is whether it will succeed to expand and indeed survive and be prevented in carrying out an attack against the west as it clearly intends to .

 

 

 

 

 

Execution
The recent execution of another innocent man by ISIS is more than just a display of brutality for its own sake and the pronounced demand from USA to cease its air campaign.

This act is as old as the warfare itself it is one of the oldest weapons to use against your enemy its the weapon of fear . Its aim is to underscore its strength with sheer brutality and to ignite within the recipient of the message one of the key emotional triggers that all humans share” Fear”.

Among its audience are all sections of our society our political leaders, our selves and maliciously the very fabric of our multicultural societies in the west.

Its aim is not to deter an attack but the opposite It is designed to enrage and engage us violently.

It at once makes us aware of our differences and makes us frighten of each other.

There are no easy way out of this scenario it demands of USA and its western allies to challenge their long held friendships with Saudi Arabia, Qatar among others. Can the west turn a blind eye as it did during its war with the Taliban and allow its Arab allies to fund and support its enemies on the ground in order to maintain social cohesion in their own country.
The recent meetings with Arab leaders by John Kerry will do very little to inhibit their support in real terms .

The Nato member Turkey is by no means innocent in this matter and its sees its involvement in Syria and Iraq as a part of strategic positioning to become a regional power broker. (it has been a major supporter of militias and armed opposition of all shades in particular the fundamentalist groups )

Iran’s role as regional power and the first to send in supplies and specialist and ground attack air crafts to fight ISIS and collaborate with USA albeit secretly must give a hint as to where future meaningful engagement should lie .

The politicians in the west need to learn to look fear in the face and make difficult decision . That there are no alternatives to boots on the ground and that a revision of its alliances in the region is inevitable as in the case of Assad, if ISIS is to be defeated then Assad needs to be treated as an ally in this campaign for it is in Syria that this war will be lost or won not in Iraq.

Current threat level

The current threat level from international terrorism for the UK is assessed as SEVERE.

Members of the public should always remain alert to the danger of terrorism and report any suspicious activity to the police on 999 or the anti-terrorist hotline: 0800 789 321.

The threat-levels

There are five levels of threat:

  • Critical – an attack is expected imminently.
  • Severe – an attack is highly likely.
  • Substantial – an attack is a strong possibility.
  • Moderate – an attack is possible but not likely.
  • Low – an attack is unlikely.

Source and form of the threat

The threat of international terrorism comes from a diverse range of sources, including Al Qaida and associated networks, and those who share Al Qaida’s ideology but do not have direct contact with them. A threat could manifest itself from a lone individual or group.

sources :MI5 ,Home office.

We are at the beginning a campaign that will pitch the security services against a large citizen minority that sympathise with the Jihadi and militant Islamic movement overseas and who peculiarly are able to enjoy the freedoms offered by their places of birth to assist movements who are at odds with those very freedoms.

There  are many questions raised as to the cause of growing radicalisations. No doubt the over reactions and ill-judged persecution of the Muslim community in reactions to terrorist attack in New York, Spain and London had a part in this matter. One must also factor in the reluctance of the first two waves of immigrants from places such Pakistan to integrate to the main society. The politicisation of Islamic sentiments and nurturing of its radical elements by the very agencies who are now tasked to oppose during the Russian invasion of Afghanistan have added fuel to a volatile geopolitical environment since the Iraqi invasion .

The relaxed and almost naive attitude that allowed certain sects within Islam to come to dominate the tone and delivery of Islamic teaching in mosques across the country must be seen as the main contributor to this issue. These elements benefitted from substantial financial backing and logistical support from countries such as Saudi Arabia and smaller Gulf states.

The Metropolitan Police have asked the public for information to help them identify persons travelling overseas to join organisations such ISIS. During this appeal they have revealed that all security agencies have witnessed the doubling of number of people travelling overseas either to join or take cash to groups such as ISIS and others involved with armed conflicts in middle east .

This public appeal is based on the fact that many people encountered by the security forces have no previous history and therefore are invisible to the systems in place but may be known to private citizens.

It has yet to be seen whether the Islamic community will respond positively to this appeal but one thing is clear the appeal itself underscores a key weakness in the battle against this dire problem that of lack insight, positive interaction with the community and trust.

With upcoming Nato summit in Cardiff Wales on 4th Sep and the stiffening of attitude against ISIS the UK’s international threat level has officially been increased to substantial that indicates a  strong possibility of an attack.

The concerns have been underscored by the recent showing of a Jihadi recruitment video featuring Nasser Muthana, and his younger brother Aseel both from Cardiff. The young brothers travelled secretly to Join ISIS.

In Cardiff what has been referred to as a ring of steel has been set up featuring Hostile Vehicle Mitigation a counter measure against vehicle borne threats , a steel fence measuring 2.5 kilometres surrounding Cardiff Castle which is site of the Nato Summit and a 1000 meter fence around Cardiff bay .

With up to 28 heads of states, foreign ministers and defence chiefs expected it can be seen why the event is a potential target for any group seeking maximum impact from terror operation.

The summit will be the place where recent developments to ISIS is discussed and responses developed this will also be the occasion where USA will directly put pressure on its allies to participate in short and long term strategies against global Jihadi movement led increasingly by ISIS.

 

The unconfirmed reports that ISIS or IS (Islamic state) as they like to be called now days has issued its own passport  begs another question, who in the international community will recognise them and will accept this documents?

The tempo and nature of response to ISIS is rapidly changing, the Americans weary of being the only responders to the crises have successfully urged various security partners to become involved.

First among them has been  the UK who initially responded with caution and even stated their reluctance to commit militarily but have now seen their prime minster making  very strong statements which will be the prelude to combat units being deployed, these initially will be special forces personnel who will be tasked with reconnaissance, intelligence and most immediately with target acquisition for the combat aircrafts, a task made important by the nature of ISIS tactics.

Even though ISIS has captured a large amount of heavy weaponry during its initial advances and has in its ranks trained soldiers and officers from Syrian  and Iraqi armies who can operate the systems it has not put the heavier weaponry into regular use and It remains largely a light mobile force that has exploited the vast undefended spaces it has move into. Sunni Muslim sympathies in the area has also assisted their advances.

More modern weaponry is being delivered to Kurdish fighters who are already beginning to feel the benefit of air support by USA. This has resulted in ISIS issuing direct threats to UK and USA and the UK prime minster advising of new measures against their supporters in UK and beyond.

The newly appointed Iraqi prime minister has been given a breathing space to make amends for the previous administration’s mistakes and a chance to mobilise the army to start making a concentrated effort to capture lost territory.

ISIS has initially benefited from the convictions of its followers and the vigour this generated in combat but is beginning to experience stiffer resistance from the Kurds who are now defending their own territories. The brutality that ISIS has inflicted on other minorities and the members of the majority Shia will undoubtedly stiffen resistance to them in future fights on the ground. There are growing signs of Tribes men turning their guns on the ISIS, their involvement proved critical in fights against Jihadi insurgency in the past.

The Spector of ISIS and the Nusra Front(Al Qaeda proxy in Syria) fighting each other in Syria as they settle the power struggle to lead the global Jihadi movement and secret collaboration between the USA and IRAN certainly makes this an interesting area for security analysts the world over.

It remains to be seen if behind the door pressures applied to the alleged sponsors of the ISIS will bear any effects or will further cool the relationship between the west and the countries accused of funding and nurturing them such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey.

It is certainly a matter of time that a major terror incident with the stamp of approval of ISIS in the west takes place, this will be the response to the west’s military actions against them and the next step in replacing Al Qaeda as standard bearer in Jihadi movement. The beheading of American journalist James Foley today (August 19th 2014) must be seen as a prelude of things to come.

 

 

image of air craft for flight MH17

Photo & videos of MH17 wreckage proves missile attack, claims report

As part of the wreckage is seen at the crash site of the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 it indicates that the  damage to plane consistent with that inflicted by surface-to-air missile: A part of the wreckage is seen at the crash site of MH17.

SA-11 missiles are 70 kilograms of high-powered explosives wrapped in steel bars. They have a proximity fuse in the head, which triggers the weapon to explode close to the aircraft, showering it with hot shrapnel that shreds the vessel.

The resulting small holes across the plane cause the cabin to rapidly depressurise at more than 10,000 metres altitude. This causes a massive blast of escaping pressure that further ruptures the plane’s frame, resulting in a large hole just like the one seen.

“This very much looks like damage from a fragmentation warhead. The fact that it has struck the cockpit rather than an engine also argues for a radar-guided rather than heat-seeking missile,” Dr Fruhling said

“Air-to-air missiles tend to be heat-seekers, that go for the engine and hit the plane directly rather than fragmenting. Those tiny fragmentations looks just like the surface-to-air SA-11 to me,” another expert states

This is a critical point as Russia has suggested that the missile that brought down the plane and its 289 passengers could have been fired by a Ukrainian plane.