Continued ISIL Support

We should not write off ISIL just because it is now losing the battle for ground in Iraq. Its leadership regime has plenty of other failed states in which to establish a power base should that become necessary. Neither should we assume that the temporary alliances between the forces now pushing back ISIL’s boundaries will bring peace to that troubled region. The relations between the Kurds and the Iraqi army are only good whilst they are advancing. Once their mission is achieved, they will inevitably turn back upon each other in their ongoing fight for control of Northern Iraq.


lone wolf or as part of a group of marauding armed terrorists acting on orders from the parent organisation. They will already have been bloodied in battle and will inevitably have experienced death and destruction on a grand scale, such as in the city of Aleppo. But they will also have developed a degree of leadership, escape and evasion, fire and manoeuvre tactics, concealment and survival skills simply in order to have remained alive in such a hostile environment.

Sleepers Awaiting Orders

According to Spanish intelligence and security sources, they are now ‘sleepers’ awaiting orders, for example from al-Muhajar to conduct a strike against their departure state and they will be provided with the required weapons and logistics by their parent organisation’s support networks.

Security services will already have good intelligence about their activities; however, the ever increasing list of suspects who need to be monitored and watched on a 24-hour-per-day basis will continue to stretch the national HUMINT (HUMan INTelligence) resources available despite the additional funding provided by the government. ELINT (ELectronic INTelligence) must be used sensibly and effectively to fill this gap and it is essential that politicians, of all colours, realise the vital


intelligence information which can be gathered by using electronic metadata and telephone intercepts to add to the rich picture of information essential to curtail and contain the activities of such dangerous and potentially lethal groups.

Learning the Lessons

There are lessons to be learned from recent conflicts overseas where British forces have been committed to battle, in both Iraq and Afghanistan, with their hands tied behind their backs by political constraints on theatre manpower levels, unsuitable equipment and tactics. We must not hinder the mission of the security services in a similar manner. Nor must we allow elongated enquiries, at vast cost to the taxpayer and to service morale, caused by vexatious allegations and ambulance-chasing lawyers, to scar the lives of brave servicemen, police and security service officers.

It must also be recognised that austerity reductions have caused a major drop in the number of officers available to police our streets. Conventional crime, which has been in decline for the past decade, is now starting to rise once more and this must ring alarm bells during a period of such uncertainty caused by Brexit. It is a combat indicator of the wrong kind!

www. c i t y s e cu r i t yma g a z i ne . com

ISIL has supporters in many lands, including Afghanistan and even the Balkans. It has a sophisticated recruitment and public relations operation and makes good use of social media and the dark web to spread its murderous message. Although the number of recruits coming forwarded to join ISIL is now falling as ground is lost, a switch in its centre of gravity to a more benign environment and a more secure home base may see recruit numbers rise once more.

more dangerous opponent?

There is no doubt that once its current battle is lost, it will re-group and re-shape its strategy and its tactics. It will adapt and evolve into a new species which may be even more focussed and aggressive than the last. A more aggressive and extremist White House may encourage more support for a cause which holds the West in contempt and has sworn to destroy democracy.

President Donald Trump’s policies and hardtalk may easily and inadvertently act as a recruiting sergeant for the organisation hell- bent on the destruction of the Great Satan.

Only time will tell, but 2017 and beyond threaten to be dangerous times and there are stormy seas ahead.

Let us not forget that life under ISIS has been particularly barbaric for the people of Mosul since it fell in June 2014. They have lived under constant threat, with no social services, utilities or medical help for over 2 years.

ISIL has taken up to 5,000 Yazidi women as slaves and used rape and violence against them on a merciless scale. ISIL has shown no respect for the accepted conventions of war and its leaders must be brought to justice at some time in the future.

In the meantime, vigilance is essential and cooperation between the public and private sector has never been more needed. The beast will not die easily.

Jeff Little OBE Chief Executive, Security Expert OnLine > 3

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