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Terrorism

The issue of jihadist terrorism in Great Britain

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[yt_dropcap type=”square” font=”” size=”14″ color=”#000″ background=”#fff” ] A [/yt_dropcap]fter the London attack of March 22 last, Great Britain is still the target of the “sword jihad”. The “dirty” bomb made by Salman Ramadan Abedi, a 22-year-old British citizen of Libyan origin and son of an opponent of Gaddafi’s regime, is such as to lead us to think of a rather complex network supporting and covering up Abedi and his family members.

A bomb packed with bolts and screws, designed to hurt and kill as many people as possible.

In fact, on the days immediately after the bomb attack in Manchester, the UK police arrested eight people, including two Abedi’s family members (his father and his younger brother), who were pulled over in Tripoli by RADA, the police of Fajez al-Sarraj’s Government of National Accord (GNA).

Five “operatives” of Abedi’s network, including his elderly brother, were arrested in Great Britain, in the now Islamized suburbs of Manchester such as Whalley Range, Chorlton and Fallowfield.

If the critical mass of Islam in a Western country is not controlled, there is no way to block the creation of a significant and dangerous amount of jihadists.

The suicide terrorist’s father, however, is a member of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), an organization linked to Al Qaeda.

The Libyan Islamic Fighting Group network was created in the early 1990s by Libyan jihad volunteers in Afghanistan, when they came back home, and has always had the primary goal of toppling Muammar Gaddafi’s regime.

Currently, after the crazy and ill-advised Western action against the Colonel, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group is part of the Libya Shield Force (LSF) and the old National Transitional Council.

Westerners wanted to free the people from the Maghreb and Middle East “tyrants” and the jihadists wanted the same.

It is like the pledge which is said to have been given by Francis I to the Emperor Charles V: “What my brother wants (the Duchy of Milan), that I want too”.

Nor it is a mere coincidence the leak which, on May 24 last, led the New York Times to publish the photos of the explosive device used in the Manchester Arena attack – a leak that can only have been originated from the US intelligence services, which had received the documentation in double quick time from their British counterparts.

In all likelihood, the North American intelligence services still want to protect some obscure links with the Libyan insurgency and they now aim at achieving only a medium-term goal, namely the defamation of President Trump and his overthrowing.

Intelligence services that – starting from the US scarce knowledge of the non-Anglo-Saxon world – are only operating to destabilize their country and bring back to power the “deep state” of its establishment, the “Party of the Nation” formed by Republicans such as the Bush family and Democrats such as the Clintons and the Obamas.

We can also assume that the North American agencies are continuing – on their own and without any contact with the US Presidency – their old project of destabilizing the Maghreb region and the Arab Islamic world, which began with the “Arab Springs” and was to end with the disruption of Assad’ Syria – a move that the Russian Federation has firmly blocked.

It is by no mere coincidence that the FBI and the other US intelligence organizations are tracing improbable “contacts” between the Trump Presidency and the Russian Federation.

The future war against Russia, which some North American senior officers have already explicitly theorized, is the center of gravity for the present and future action of the U.S. political and military establishment.

And, according to US strategists, the Russian presence in the Mediterranean and the Middle East can be countered by continuing the “Arab Spring” actions, also at the cost of creating golden opportunities for jihadist groups.

In February 1996 the British intelligence services funded the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group with 160,000 US dollars to kill Gaddafi, but the attack to this end failed.

Today, as at that time, Great Britain and, in some respects, the United States want to settle the Libyan issue once and for all by taking its oil back and exclude Italy at first, and later France, from the Libyan extraction industry.

However, let us revert to the bomb attack perpetrated in Manchester. The explosive used is supposed to be acetone peroxide (TATP), the same substance used by Daesh-Isis in Paris in November 2015 and in Brussels in March 2016.

Hence we can easily understand Prime Minister May’s harsh reaction in relation to the fully voluntary perviousness and porosity of the US intelligence services.

Indeed, these services are in really lamentable conditions.

Too many destabilization operations, starting with the activities in Serbia during the Second Balkan War; too expensive and ineffective “Arab Springs”, which were designed to make Al Qaeda be destroyed by the democratic Arab masses, and finally too much simplistic political and social engineering.

An intelligence voodoo, which has so far led to opposite results compared to those pursued.

There is no need of insisting on the embarrassment caused by US intelligence services which, in the attempt of doing harm to President Trump, favour the jihadists and undermine the relationship with the British intelligence services.

Furthermore, in Great Britain there are at least 43 cities where the police arrested several jihadists between 1998 and 2015.

A mass of Islamic terrorists who, in the future, could become so large as to be uncontrollable.

It is worth noting that, over the last five years, the management of the Islamic intelligence networks by the British Services has allowed to discover and prevent twelve attacks, especially in London, Cardiff, Southampton and Brighton.

The mindset of the Anglo-Saxon intelligence services is certainly the same as the one – dangerous for any kind of intelligence – of the enforcement agencies, which take action only when there is a clear infringement of laws.

However, while preparing and organizing an attack, terrorists always go underground and cannot even afford to get a parking ticket.

Conversely, the Italian intelligence and police forces have great knowledge of the territory they control carefully as early as the time of Left and Right terrorism and Southern crime organizations, regardless of the perpetrations of offences.

Moreover, currently in Great Britain there are at least 1,500 foreign fighters, who have come back from the “sword jihad” regions, with a cover up network that, on the best possible assumption, includes at least additional 5,000 people.

Today, throughout England, the Islamic faithful are more than Anglicans, – over a million Quran believers as against approximately 930,000 Anglican followers.

Certainly, after Brexit, there is the real danger that Great Britain can no longer do without the financial support of the Sunni petromonarchies – the same ones which fund the 2,100 Islamic centres, madrasah schools and mosques which are being built everywhere on the British territorv.

After the Manchester attack, Prime Minister May had also designed the “Temperer operation”.

A scenario similar to what France has experienced during the recent presidential elections, with the probable future jihad pressure on the electoral campaign and the new version – on the English scene – of the Spanish jihadist attack in the Atocha station in 2004, which significantly changed the outcome of general elections, leading to the unexpected victory of Zapatero instead of the favourite candidate Aznar.

In fact, the “Temperer operation” envisages a vast deployment of Armed Forces in sensitive areas, such as obviously the Prime Minister’s residence at 10 Downing Street, Westminster Palace, Buckingham Palace, the venues of mass sport and cultural-musical events, as well as the areas where most Londoners and commuters transit every day.

Jihadists, however, are not fools and if they plan to attack again, for their own reasons, they will do so in unpredictable areas and sites.

Moreover, it is surprising how the level of protection – in the Manchester attack, as in the case of other recent or less recent jihadist actions in Great Britain – is still so flawed, inadequate or even non-existent.

Not even the recent London attack of March 22 last on Westminster Bridge made the police authorities think there could be another attack at a later stage – as it happened in Manchester.

Operation Temperer is supposed to involve approximately 5,000 units of Her Majesty’s Armed Forces, deployed in the most sensitive areas and sites of the English urban areas. Once again, however, it is worth noting that nothing prevents the local jihad from choosing less relevant targets.

On the other hand, the impact of a terrorist attack is not based so much on the location, but rather on the number of victims, that is directly proportional to the political relevance of the jihadist action, as well as the effect of estrangement and block of reactions by the police forces and the intelligence services.

There is no need to attack Westminster or St. Paul’s Cathedral, just a pop concert is enough – as happened in Manchester – or a kosher supermarket, as was the case in Paris.

If there is a logical and cultural link, it is the well-known Islamist and Salafi rejection of music – viewed as a sign and work of the Evil and, obviously, the hatred for shops, organizations or people linked to the Jewish world.

Furthermore, as far as we know, the British intelligence services have already thwarted another attack in the London outskirts and they are already operating to check the links between the UK foreign fighters living in England and their contacts abroad.

Hence, in the future, there may be major attacks immediately before elections in Italy, Germany and possibly again in Great Britain, with a view to influencing their outcome, frightening citizens and destabilizing the European security and intelligence institutions and agencies.

A solution could be to clarify – once and for all – the jihad issue with the Sunni States funding and training the various Islamist groups. I do not think, however, that the European politicians – probably with the only exception of Theresa May – will have the courage, the clarity of mind and the farsightedness to raise this problem and solve it directly with the Sunni world.

Advisory Board Co-chair Honoris Causa Professor Giancarlo Elia Valori is an eminent Italian economist and businessman. He holds prestigious academic distinctions and national orders. Mr. Valori has lectured on international affairs and economics at the world’s leading universities such as Peking University, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Yeshiva University in New York. He currently chairs “International World Group”, he is also the honorary president of Huawei Italy, economic adviser to the Chinese giant HNA Group. In 1992 he was appointed Officier de la Légion d’Honneur de la République Francaise, with this motivation: “A man who can see across borders to understand the world” and in 2002 he received the title “Honorable” of the Académie des Sciences de l’Institut de France. “

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Terrorism

New wave of terrorism a big challenge for institutions

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After a period of silence in Balochistan, terrorists have resurfaced and for the past two months, terrorist groups have stepped up their attacks. In recent days, terrorists in Mach have brutally slaughtered 11 miners of the Hazara Shia community by tying their hands and feet at gunpoint. ISIS has claimed responsibility for the incident. Separatist organizations and sectarian groups on the territory of Balochistan have been active in spreading unrest and are being backed by India. India is also sending ISIS terrorists to Balochistan. ISIS is spreading fear among the local population. “Apart from attacking economic interests and creating the impression of the local administration’s failure, it is also trying to create the feeling that security agencies are failing to protect citizens from terrorist elements.” ISIL’sacceptance of responsibility for the latest incident is a matter of great concern, as the group has wreaked havoc in Arab countries, and its presence in Pakistan is a major threat to the country’s stability.

 There is no doubt that the peace of Balochistan has been threatened by the forces that want to destabilize Pakistan. India has long been using separatist organizations and sectarian groups to spread unrest on the territory of Balochistan. Pakistan has evidence of the arrival of ISIS terrorists from India, Indian terrorists have been trying to create chaos in Balochistan by targeting the Hazara community in the past, and the recent terrorist incident is also theirs. There were dozens of terrorist attacks against the Hazara community in the first decade of the 21st century, after which many of its families fled the province, but many people are still here, some of them mining in the coal mines discovered during the British rule in the Mach mountain range. In Quetta, their population is limited to Murreeabad and Hazara Town. The richest of them are traders; the Hazara community has a distinct identity due to its distinctive form and language and is an easy target for extremists because of its creed. They were largely protected from militant activity due to security measures taken by law enforcement agencies, but as a result of India’s aggression, a new wave of terrorism is once again rising in Balochistan, and the Hazara tribes have once again become insecure.

It is unfortunate that on the one hand, the Hazara community is suffering from insecurity and on the other hand, the killing of Hazara people has been ignored by the political parties. The political parties of Balochistan which are connected with the mainstream have not shown active strategy. Political parties and civil society have only expressed sympathy verbally, they have done nothing in practice, but most people seem to be complaining that the Hazara protests have destroyed the traffic system. The disengagement of the federal parties to the problems ofthe people of Balochistanhas only added to the difficulties of the government. The federal government has also repeatedly failed to honor the promises made by the Hazara community during the protests and sit-ins. Regrettably, for those who were killed in this terrorist incident, instead of improving security measures for the future, the identity of this community and sect is being highlighted, from these angles, the analysis of such incidents presents a confusing situation. Due to this situation, the Hazara community is once again protesting and appealing for help from the military instead of political parties, the government and local influential circles.

While it is true that the government and the military must ensure the safety of the people, it is also true that there is room for improvement in our intelligence system, the counter-terrorism system and the level of trust relations with the local population. The security agencies should take steps to protect national interests other than the CPEC. The misleading and riotous ideologies that enemy elements have started spreading are the cause of local support for terrorists. Balochistan is gaining international attention as a developing region. In these circumstances, the free movement of terrorists is a matter of concern, while the security agencies were well aware that India was openly threatening to carry out terrorism in Balochistan, the security agencies need to rethink their strategies. At the same time, it is important that the government and security agencies not only consider it enough to show sympathy for the families of the mine-workers, but also to prevent such incidents in the future, the government must also take concrete steps to ensure the safety of the Hazara community, especially those involved in industries such as mining, which are a major source of income for Balochistan. The mountains of Mach in Balochistan are rich in coal, and the existence of a subversive group here is a major challenge for law enforcement agencies.

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Terrorism

Pakistan Shows Improvement On GTI

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Pakistan is continuing its successful journey towards safer place in the world. As per 2020 Global Terrorism Index (GTI) latest report, Pakistan has improved its ranking more then before and stands at number 7th from 5th in the list.

According to GTI report, during the year 2019 Pakistan has recorded its lowest number of terror-related deaths since 2006.

The reduced terrorism trend in Pakistan was attributed by the counter terrorism operations undertaken by the Pakistan Army and LEAs against the terrorist groups.

On 16th of December 2014, after the army public school attack, a national consensus was evolved to come down hard on the terrorists through a concerted national effort. Whereas the National Internal Security Policy 2014 pointed out the broad policy guidelines and the long-drawn reforms in various state institutions.

A need was felt at that time to chalk out an Action Plan with specific, mostly quantifiable and ultimately and time-bound agenda to curb the scourge of terrorism.

A 20 Points National Action Plan (NAP) for countering  terrorism and extremism was chalked out by NACTA/ Ministry of Interior in consultation with the other stakeholders.

The (NAP) spelled out the specifics for the counter-terrorism drive in the country with 20 points mainly.

The 20 points agenda included implementation of death sentence of those convicted in cases of terrorism.

It was decided at that time to form special trial courts under the supervision of Army.

Similiarly it was also decided to not operate militant outfits and armed gangs in the country.

Furthermore, ban was imposed on glorification of terrorists and terrorist organizations through print and electronic media. 

The administrative and development reforms in area of FATA was planned.

 The policy of zero tolerance for militancy especially in Punjab  was formulated.

The report further reveals that out of total 37 active terrorist groups in 2015 only 10 (partial) active terror groups were left in the year 2019.

GTI report also pointed out that due to terror attacks, the economic impact in Pakistan was declined to 95% in 2014.

GTI report analyzes the impact of terrorism for 163 countries in the world.

The report also covers information on differing socio-economic conditions that drive terrorism, changes in terrorism over time, the political and ideological aims of terrorist groups, and the methods used to conduct terror attacks.

The 2020 GTI report has found that deaths from terrorism fell for the fifth consecutive year since peaking in 2014.

The GTI uses a number of factors to calculate its score, including the number of incidences, fatalities, injuries and property damage.

GTI report by the Institute for Economics & Peace provides a comprehensive summary of the key global trends and patterns in terrorism over the last 18 years.

In a row, for the second year, South Asia was the most impacted region by terrorism in year 2019, recorded more deaths than any other region, despite of the improvements in Afghanistan and Pakistan, said GTI 2020 report.

While terrorist attacks can occur anywhere in the world, these ten countries suffer the most due to their proximity to ongoing conflicts.

The GTI report pointed out the ten countries in its list that were most affected. Five of the ten countries are classified as being in a state of war like Afghanistan, Nigeria, Syria, Somalia and Yemen.

The rest five of tens countries are classified as involve in minor incidents are Pakistan Philippines, Democratic Republic of Congo, India and Yemen.

Despite of the fact that India hide its facts about terrorism, it stands in list of top ten countries by the report of GTI.

The data for the GTI report was also gathered from India’s print and electronic media.

On the other hand Pakistan’s efforts against terrorism are not limited to its own land only but with equal in strength and parallel efforts are also being made to bring peace in the world and especially for Afghanistan, the country which is most affected and stands at number one in the line and list of GTI report.

Pakistan being neighbouring country to Afghanistan has played a behind-the-scenes but crucial role first in US-Taliban deal and then in courting the Afghan Taliban for long-awaited intra-Afghan peace talks, aiming at political reconciliation and an end to decades of violence in the war-stricken country.

In December 2018, Pakistan had also arranged rare direct talks between Washington and the Taliban, paving the way for the Doha peace deal between the two sides.

Pakistan also facilitated the landmark first round of direct talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban in Islamabad in July 2015.

The Washington’s peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad with its delegation praised Pakistan’s role in Afghan Peace Process. He stated while in meeting with the Pakistani Army Chief General Qsmar Javeed Bajwa that “it could not have succeeded without Pakistan’s sincere and unconditional support.”

What Pakistan seeks from its involvement in negotiations is stability across the border in Afghanistan.

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Pakistan’s standing in Global Terrorism Index (2020)

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The Global Terrorism Index (GTI) has been analyzing terrorism-affiliated trends and patterns, all across the globe from over last five decades. Since 1970 until 2019, it has recorded and studied 17000 terrorist incidents so far. In its most recent and 8th report, compiled and released in 2020, GTI has revealed an improved ranking of Pakistan, as compared to its previous years. From being at 5th position in 2019 to have ascended to 7th position in 2020, Pakistan has significantly curbed the menace of terrorism at home – Due to the effective counter terrorism operations undertaken by Pakistan military and Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs), under the aegis of 2015’s National Action Plan. For, ever since the initial terrorist attacks, beginning in 2006; last year Pakistan has recorded the least number of terrorist incidents for the first time. In fact, most of the deaths have been attributed to small-scale attacks that were not even viewed as major terrorist incidents. This sweeping 90% decrease in terrorist attacks in Pakistan, since 2007 is also such a quantum leap, because  Pakistan shares its longest border with a state like Afghanistan, where from 2014 onwards, the Khorasan chapter of Islamic State (ISIS) has only become more active and assertive. Meanwhile, Pakistan on the other hand has defied massive odds and enhanced its security apparatus. 

After the initiation of Operation enduring freedom in Afghanistan, Pakistan served as a non-NATO, front line ally of Washington in its War on Terror. Despite being aware of the spillover effect that may lead to the flow of fleeing terrorists from their strongholds in Afghanistan to Pakistan; Pakistan decided to side with American forces nonetheless. As repeatedly confirmed by international observers, after 20 years and 60,000 deaths on books, Pakistan has successfully controlled the security situation and eradicated many terror cells across the country. The counter terrorism operations spearheaded by Pakistan’s military forces not only deracinated the terrorist networks from previously ungoverned tribal areas but have also disrupted their monopolies efficiently. In addition to that, a fenced borderline between both counteries is rather proving itself utilitarian in Pakistan’s fight against terrorism.

The GTI report further claimed that just like other Asian countries, Pakistan has also been a victim of religious fundamentalism, which has bled innocent lives for unnecessary endeavors undertaken by few extremist zealots, from inside and outside the border. However, the efforts conjured by the National Action Plan, which was put forward in 2015, by the government of Pakistan helped in containing religious extremism, radical fundamentalism and terrorism stimulated by religious manipulation, to a considerable length. For instance, as accentuated in the report, in 2015 around 37 terrorist networks were operating in Pakistan, whereas by the end of 2019, only ten out of them were present. The government initiated, counter terrorism operations, targeting remote and secluded areas of Waziristan and FATA have been recognized and appreciated in the report, as the paramount reason behind such a substantial decrease in terrorist activities across the country. It is also important to mention that the current government of Pakistan has also taken a constructive step in the right direction by endorsing a ‘commission for implementation of national narrative and development of structures against violent extremism and radicalization’. The commission will be instrumental in providing a comprehensive, legal infrastructure for countering violent extremism and terrorism inside Pakistan.

The Index report additionally concluded that the two provinces of Pakistan – Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) have suffered the maximum impact of terrorism. They have both endured 77% of the total attacks and around 85% of casualty rate was from these provinces, in 2019. The nature of attacks in these two provinces was rather peculiar, for it was not the usual terrorist bombings rather they included target killings of civilian population or armed assaults against police, military and security personnel. Such incidents, specifically in Balochistan have been unveiled by Pakistan’s intelligence agency as a part of Indian proxies inside the province. The eastern neighbor of Pakistan; India, has been involved in funding, assisting and training the Baloch separatist groups or organizations in Pakistan and abroad. Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (I.S.I) earlier excavated a network of Indian operatives inside Balochistan back in 2016. Which to this day casts a looming shadow upon terrorist activities occurring in Balochistan and provides ample reason to understand Islamabad’s suspicions against Indian intentions.

The Global Terrorism Index ranked Islamabad at 7th position, based on 297 terrorist incidents that have jolted Pakistan in 2020. Meanwhile, it has placed New Delhi at 8th position, in spite of 558 terrorist incidents that have taken place in India. The international community, although being double from those of Pakistan, did not only dangerously ignore Indian statistics, but they also managed to slightly maintain India’s ranking stable. These concerns of authenticity of incidents recorded in Balochistan and evaluation of India’s ranking in Global Terrorism Index, even after such a staggering difference in numbers of terrorism incidents between both countries; raises crucial investigative questions that should be answered for better assessment of national and international actions of both the states.

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