“We don’t know where he is. Obviously, if we knew where he was, we would be able to look at all sorts of options but we don’t know where he is.”
This unusually candid statement by British Foreign Secretary, Philip Hammond, brought into sharp relief the relative impotence of the West in dealing with Islamic State militants who are holding a number of hostages.
Videos showing the murder of three men, two Americans and one British, have recently been released by the group. A fourth, Alan Henning, a British national, faces the same fate.
Hammond noted that “we are doing everything that we can to protect him”. But without reliable intelligence his options are limited. British and US special forces are highly capable, but their operations must be targeted with precision.
September 12, 2014
In Ukraine, the cease-fire is on the ropes with daily reports of artillery-fire and shootings. It is established that the Russian Armed Forces is one of the warring factions. A couple of weeks ago, the Swedish foreign minister, Carl Bildt, acknowledged on television that Sweden had verified, supposedly by its own intelligence services, that Russian artillery was firing into Ukraine.
There are other proofs as well. In a long blogpost at Bellingcat a few days ago, journalist Iggy Ostanin showed convincingly that the individual Buk SAM-system that shot down MH17 in July has returned to Russia and resumed its place in the 53th Brigade of the Russian PVO (Air Defense Forces). Continue reading
Greece’s National Intelligence Service said Tuesday that it was at “a heightened state of vigilance” for suspected militants, keeping close tabs on radical Muslims, and had detected at least six foreign fighters with the terrorist group Islamic State transiting through the country in recent months.
The surveillance operation comes amid concern that the militant group, formerly known as Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, will retaliate for increased U.S airstrikes in Iraq and possible strikes in Syria.
Ibrahim Hamed, the former head of Hamas’s military wing in the West Bank, the man responsible for the murders of dozens of Israelis, was thought of as a “ghost” for many years. Almost a legend. The Shin Bet and the Israel Defense Forces were not able to catch up to him, as he slipped through their grasp time and again. Only after eight years of pursuit was he captured in 2006 in a safe house in Ramallah’s al-Balou neighborhood.
People involved in the search for “The Sheikh” — who is today 49 and serving 54 life sentences — say one of the basic things that allowed him to evade capture for so long was his refusal to use a mobile phone. Israel’s security establishment managed to track his calls only twice over all those years, and even those instances were calls made from public phones.
May. 11, 2014 – 02:32PM | By BARBARA OPALL-ROME
The Ofek 10 satellite was launched on April 9 and carriers a synthetic aperture radar. (Israel Aerospace Industries)
YEHUD, ISRAEL — A month after launching Israel’s newest spy satellite into space, Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), producer of the Ofek 10 and its advanced radar-imaging payload, is poised to transfer the strategic intelligence system to military hands.
IAI Chief Executive Yossi Weiss said Ofek 10 should be delivered to operational users “within weeks,” following extensive in-orbit testing by specialists with the company’s MBT Space Division here and Defense Ministry research and development authorities.
“So far, along all parameters, we’re quite satisfied,” Weiss said of the synthetic aperture radar (SAR) satellite launched April 9 by an IAI-produced Shavit rocket.
“We’re taking our time to work through a very methodical and thorough testing program,” he said. “There will be no cutting corners. … And when it’s ready — within weeks — we will hand it over to the government of Israel to operate as an additional strategic asset for its use.” Continue reading
Lukas Schoenenberger, Andrea Schenker-Wicki, Mathias Beck
Given the complexity of terrorism, solutions based on single factors are destined to fail. Systems thinking offers various tools for helping researchers and policy makers comprehend terrorism in its entirety. We have developed a semi-quantitative systems thinking approach for characterising relationships between variables critical to terrorism and their impact on the system as a whole. For a better understanding of the mechanisms underlying terrorism, we present a 16-variable model characterising the critical components of terrorism and perform a series of highly focused analyses. We show how to determine which variables are best suited for government intervention, describing in detail their effects on the key variable—the political influence of a terrorist network. We also offer insights into how to elicit variables that destabilise and ultimately break down these networks. Because we clarify our novel approach with fictional data, the primary importance of this paper lies in the new framework for reasoning that it provides.
The active sum (AS in the last column on the right), is the sum of all of the direct influences (outgoing flows) that can be attributed to a certain variable, i.e., the sum of the values in the row of a single variable. The active sum thus indicates how strongly this variable affects or dominates the system, with a high active sum indicating great influence. The passive sum (PS second to last column) is the sum of all of the incoming flows and indicates how strongly the system affects or dominates a variable. To calculate the incoming and outgoing flows, one can take only the absolute values into account.