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targeting isis

Cruise missiles and jets on bombing raid are again a familiar sight over Iraq and now Syria.

President Obama is enjoying support at home and overseas over his decision to expand the intensity and the lists of targets as part of the campaign against ISIS.

With UK citizens being executed on the internet the British Prime minster Camron has been forced to recall parliament to seek approval for UK military participation in the crises.

This will lead to increase the risk of retaliatory attacks on British home land.

( for further reading go to or blog)

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.

ISIS flag

  David Haines  the British aid worker has become the latest person to be executed by ISIS. This  has been promised to be followed by the execution of another hostage who has been named as Mr Henning.

Hains had served in the Royal Air Force for 12 years and leaves two children behind. He had worked as a Aid worker in some of most troubled areas in the world including Libya,Sudan.

The proclaimed aim of this act is to stop USA bombing of ISIS positions which have slowed the groups advance in Iraq.

ISIS regularly treats it brutality as a PR opportunity in it campaign of terror .

 

Libya’s new strong man
General Khalifa Haftar will become a familiar name in the headlines regarding Libya.
His colourfully history as coup maker and one time military chief with Gaddafi who he later helped depose and his increasingly forceful involvements with Libyan politics since then defines him as a maverick who knows how to survive.
There are some facets of the general that will guarantee him support from some corners and fanatical opposition from others. He belong to the dwindling rank of Arab secularist with a track record of opposing militant religious groups. Paradoxically he is Arab nationalist who was released as a prisoner of war from Chad due to a CIA inspired agreement he subsequently moved to America and became a citizen. They are allegation of being trained by the CIA and being close associate of that organisation.
It is understood that many officer and men from the old Libyan forces disillusioned with the rise of Islamic militancy and Jihadi control of many militia have joined the General’s rank of supporters. American response to the murder of their ambassador John Christopher Stevens in 2012 in the hand of Islamic militia in Bengasi after an attack on their consulate has taken many forms including support for General Khalifa Haftar and enlisting the help of their regional ally Egypt .The recent attack on the airport in the Libyan capital by unknown military aircrafts is laid at his door and his friends in Egyptian military .
Though Sudan is also a suspect due to its support of some of the militant Islamic militia.
There are brewing issues between western allies with Europeans favouring working with the recognised central government though it is a government largely in name only and the Americans who would favour an Egyptian style solution even though some critical factors are missing for that to take shape.
The inescapable fact is that Libya is a dysfunctional state not far from Europe. It has become a hot bed of militant Jihad with vast stores of modern arms and natural resources that will further fuel militants activity within the region and further a field. Libya is by far the greatest security threat to Europe in the African region .

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.

 

BBC Reports

Emergency powers to ensure police and security services can continue to access phone and internet records are being rushed through Parliament.

Prime Minister David Cameron has secured the backing of all three main parties for the highly unusual move.

He said urgent action was needed to protect the public from “criminals and terrorists” after the European Court of Justice struck down existing powers.

But civil liberties campaigners have warned it will invade people’s privacy.

Mr Cameron defended the move in a joint news conference with Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, saying it was about maintaining existing capabilities – not introducing new snooping laws.

‘Vital measures’

“We face real and credible threats to our security from serious and organised crime, from the activity of paedophiles, from the collapse of Syria, the growth of Isis in Iraq and al Shabab in East Africa.

“I am simply not prepared to be a prime minister who has to address the people after a terrorist incident and explain that I could have done more to prevent it.”

He added: “I want to be very clear that we are not introducing new powers or capabilities – that is not for this Parliament.

“This is about restoring two vital measures ensuring that our law enforcement and intelligence agencies maintain the right tools to keep us all safe.”

Mr Cameron there would also be new moves to “increase transparency and oversight”, including:

  • The creation of a new Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board to scrutinise the impact of the law on privacy and civil liberties
  • Annual government transparency reports on how these powers are used
  • The appointment of a senior former diplomat to lead discussions with the US government and internet firms to establish a new international agreement for sharing data between legal jurisdictions
  • A restriction on the number of public bodies, including Royal Mail, able to ask for communications data under the controversial Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA)
  • Termination clause ensuring these powers expire at the end of 2016
  • A wider review of the powers needed by government during the next parliament

Mr Cameron stressed that the data being retained does not include the content of messages and phone calls – just when and who the companies’ customers called, texted and emailed.

But the emergency Data Retention and Investigation Powers Bill would also “clarify” the law on bugging of suspects’ phones by the police and security services, when the home secretary issues a warrant, after concerns service providers were turning down requests.

“Some companies are already saying they can no longer work with us unless UK law is clarified immediately,” said Mr Cameron.

“Sometimes in the dangerous world in which we live we need our security services to listen to someone’s phone and read their emails to identify and disrupt a terrorist plot.”

International terrorism remains a serious and on going threat. The UK Threat Level for international terrorism is currently at SUBSTANTIAL, meaning an attack is a strong possibility. (See more information about the UK Threat Level system).

Islamist extremists continue to pose a significant terrorist threat to the UK and to UK interests and nationals abroad. Al Qaida in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) of Pakistan, led by Ayman al­-Zawahiri, provides the ideological lead for the global Islamist extremist movement. A number of significant terrorist attack plots against the UK originated from Al Qaida in the FATA and they continue to provide training and motivation for extremists to carry out terrorist attacks in the UK.

The emergence of affiliate groups that pledge allegiance to the Al Qaida senior leadership in the FATA, has led to the diversification and growth of the threat from Islamist extremist terrorists around the world. The ‘Arab spring’ has been a key catalyst in increasing the number of Islamist extremist terror groups, some of which have shown the aspiration to attack the UK or UK interests and nationals abroad. The most significant groups are;

•Yemen: Al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)

•Syria: Al Nusrah Front (ANF)

•North Africa (Sahel): Al Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM)

•West Africa: Boko Haram and Ansaru

•East Africa (Somalia): Al Shabaab

•Iraq: Islamic state of Iraq and the Levant or Al Qaida in Iraq (AQI)

All of these groups seek to kidnap Western nationals to obtain funding through the payment of ransoms to support their terrorist campaigns.

The majority of terrorist attack plots in the UK have been planned by UK residents. A recent example of a plot to cause mass-casualties with multiple improvised explosive devices was disrupted under Operation EXAMINE, which was planned by Birmingham based extremists. Eleven of these individuals were convicted in March 2013 for a variety of terrorist offences. There are several thousand individuals in the UK who support violent extremism or are engaged in Islamist extremist activity.

UK based Islamist extremists have supported terrorism by:

•Radicalising individuals to believe in the legitimacy of joining a terrorist network or carrying out a terrorist attack;

•Fundraising for terrorist networks often through criminal activity such as diverting money donated to legitimate charities;

•Acquiring false documents for use by terrorists;

•Attending outward bound training in the UK as preparation for travelling overseas to join terrorist groups; and

•Facilitating the travel of radicalised British individuals overseas so that they can join a terrorist group and potentially receive training and direction to plan an attack back in the UK.

Many UK residents have sought to travel to places such as Syria to take part in insurgencies. The majority of such individuals do not pose a threat when they return to the UK. However there is always a risk that such individuals may have become radicalised by extremists or even directly tasked by a terrorist group to carry out an attack in the UK.