An intelligence assessment, the “Internal Homeland Security Threat Assessment for the years 2008-2013, obtained by the Associated Press projected several “dramatic” developments.
Among these projections that Terrorism directed against the US will “continue to be driven by driven by instability in the Middle East and Africa.” The report asserted that WMD attacks “could be carried out against America” but then added that “these threats are also the most unlikely because it is so difficult for al-Qaida and similar groups to acquire the materials needed to carry out such plots.” The report reasserts a number of predictions made before and noted that increasing numbers of individuals will pose as refugees or asylum seekers.
While the report doesn’t add much to previously projected assessments over the past few years it deserves a thorough evaluation by the Counter Terrorism community in general and the experts studying the strategies and tactics of the Jihadists. For as we are moving under a new US Administration, with the expectation that new directions are to be set, a review of the past five to seven years in terms of War on Terror strategies is now a must. In other words the Counter Terrorism community in the public and private sectors needs to draw conclusions as to policies and strategies adopted under the departing Administration. A serious review of US Government reports issued since the beginning of the War on Terror must be undertaken and compared and contrasted with developments in the real world and on the battlefields. For some of the assertions repeated by these reports contradicted each other such as the issue of WMD. For example while many national security reports underlined the “ineluctability” of a non conventional attack, other reports (and sometimes the same assessment) found the Terrorists ability to obtain these weapons as “less likely.” We hope the global review of the War on Terror would be conducted as soon as possible at a national scale, involving the US Congress, former and forthcoming US officials as well as private sector analysts.
Commenting on some aspects of the AP released report, I made several points in an interview to Fox News today.
Addressing the report’s assertion that in the next five years, America will be hit by a bio (or other MD) attack, I advanced another focus to the analysis, that is the intention and the identity of the perpetrators of such attacks. Indeed over the past five years US reports concentrated on the “weapons” not on the “users.” Thus I am arguing that in the next five years we need to focus more on the “users” to project their capacity and their intentions. For example al Qaeda and other Jihadists most likely haven’t yet (to this hour) acquired such capacity inside the US for the simple reason that they would have used them already. While Iran’s regime and Hezbollah have access to WMDs but their decision to use them follows another logic. Thus if we project the use of such weapons over the next five years, the possibility is high.
Al Qaeda and its ilk would be looking to have access to such weapons in Pakistan. However Homegrown Jihadists have access to scientific labs here in the US and in the West.
The report raises the issue of Internet recruiting. I agree with this point but we need to keep in mind that a mass of already radicalized Jihadis have already moved to the US over the past 18 years at least and they in turn are radicalizing others here. Cyber attacks are possible because it is very difficult (not impossible) to regulate the Internet. Some projects available now assert a counter cyber warfare is possible.
Last but not least point made by the report declares the crossing borders crisis as a source for Terrorism in the next five years. Here again I agree and stated to Fox News that if a cell is really determined to cross the Mexican border and insert itself into the US, at this stage it can. But I added that many among those who may engage in actions in the future have already crossed not only through the Mexican but also the Canadian border years ago. In other words, the “pool” is already here.
More discussions of the global assessment will be posted soon.
To watch the short interview go to [ Visit Website ] “Fox News’ Gregg Jarett on threats to US: “Al Qaeda will seek WMD while Iran already has it” - View it and make sure to rate it!
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