Start of Ramadan Amid A Series of Terror and International Security Challenges

Start of Ramadan Amid A Series of Terror and International Security Challenges

With Ramadan upon us, Islam-inspired terror is not the only security threat facing Canada, the US, and NATO.

The United Kingdom has reduced its threat level from critical back to severe. While British security services believe an attack is in the future they do not believe it is imminent. The British government has announced that Operation Temperer involving 1000 British soldiers supporting police will be scaled back after the May 29th holiday. Two further arrests were made this morning and both men are of Libyan descent. The scaling back of the alert status suggests that the British have broken the Libyan (Islamic State in the Levant) ISIS attack cell operating in Manchester, that they have the bomb-factory and that the bomb-maker is either under arrest, dead in the case of suicide bomber, Salman Abedi, or has fled the United Kingdom. It was reported that Abedi used his student loan to help pay for his terrorist activities. It is worth noting, that ISIS may start calling in threats to force the evacuation of public venues, then use suicide bombers to target escaping civilians and security forces alike, to negate physical security measures and police presence. Given a recent report that there are as many as 23,000 potential jihadis under suspicion this is going to be an on-going challenge.

ISIS has claimed responsibility for the killing of 68 Coptic Christians including women and children south of Alexandria, Egypt, yesterday on the eve of Ramadan. In the Philippines, the government is considering martial law for the entire country to root out ISIS.

In Afghanistan, the Taliban struck a military base in Kandahar province yesterday killing 15 soldiers and carried out a suicide car bombing in Khost today killing 13 people. The Taliban are engaged in their spring offensive that began last month as they struggle for ‘market share’ against ISIS in Afghanistan.

On the international security front, there have been a series of events of note including the fact that the United States has deployed a third carrier Strike group around the USS Nimitz to the Sea of Japan to join the USS Carl Vinson and Ronald Reagan groups. This comes after two successful missile tests in the last few weeks including Pukguksong-2 Medium Range Ballistic Missile (MRBM) and Hwasong-12 Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile (IRBM). North Korea announced that it would start mass production of the Pukguksong-2 MRBM, but officials and observes have cast doubt on its readiness for mass production now. This week the US government intelligence community warned that it was inevitable that North Korea would deploy an Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) that could strike the US. Further to this, the US announced that it will conduct a missile defense test next week to shoot down an ICBM.

In the South China Sea, the US sailed a destroyer, the USS Dewey, within six miles of one of China’s militarized, man-made islands, Mischief Reef, in the Spratly Islands, in what was a clear signal to China that their territorial ambitions would not go unchecked. As well, it was a likely further push for China to do more to restrain North Korea. In response, the same day, on Wednesday, two Chinese J-10 fighters intercepted a US P-3 Orion surveillance plane in international airspace and came with 100 meters of the US aircraft in the second rough interception of a US aircraft in the last week.

In Europe, Russia flew strategic cruise missile carrying bombers over the Barents Sea near Norway, and carried out naval live fire drills at sea. Russia signaled its increased interest in the Arctic by announcing plans for a new arctic research facility.

In the Middle East, Iran announced that it would continue is strategic missile programs regardless of sanctions and international pressure and that it had completed its third underground missile factory to avoid possible air strikes.

Lastly, a parting point about Canada-US relations. It was reported that Canada had a ‘quick pull aside’ discussion today between President Trump and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. A bi-lateral pull aside on the margins of a meeting like a G-7 summit means that you don’t rate a 20 minute ‘bi-lat’ in a conference room. Canadians can judge, but in my experience it is not a reassuring sign of strong relations ahead of North American Free Trade negotiations, and a recently passed a major terror attack in Manchester, NATO Summit, Intelligence crisis, and North Korea.

#CopticChristian #UnitedKingdom #Jihad #SouthChinaSea #USSDewey #IRBM #MiddleEast #Iran #Canada #UnitedStates #ICBM #China #Russia #Taliban #Afghanistan #Islam #British #Manchester

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