North Korea Prepares for a Missile Launch, China and India Escalate their Feud, Iran and Pakistan Ge
North Korea Prepares for a Missile Launch, China and India Escalate their Feud, Iran and Pakistan Get Honorable Mention for Supporting Islamic Terror
The US State Department annual Country Reports on Terrorism released Wednesday branded ISIS as the “the most capable terrorist organization globally in 2016,” driving more than a 20-percent increase in attacks in Iraq compared to 2015. The document released yesterday warned that while ISIS was rapidly losing ground in Iraq and Syria, but its foreign fighters were returning home could pose risks for countries in Central Asia and the Balkans. The State Department also warned ISIS continues to use its own operatives while exploiting ungoverned spaces in Libya, Somalia, Yemen, northeastern Nigeria, parts of Egypt's Sinai Peninsula and the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region. US Officials warned the al-Qaeda and its regional affiliates also took advantage of ineffective governments across Africa and the Middle East “to remain a significant worldwide threat.”
The report went on to detail Iran's continued support for Shia terror groups in Iraq as well as Lebanon-based Hezbollah, that was described as an “extremely sophisticated” terror group with a global network. The US again accused Pakistan of providing ‘haven’ to terrorists, warning that Pakistan has not taken any substantial action against the Haqqani Network of Afghan Taliban. US officials went on to charge that terror groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) continued to operate, train, organize and fundraise inside the country.
According to the State Department, 2016 was the second year in a row where attacks and deaths due to terrorism declined. Worldwide terror attacks fell by nine percent from 2015 to 2016, while the number of deaths dropped 13 percent. Data from the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism at the University of Maryland, said there were more than 11,000 terror attacks last year resulting in more than 25,600 deaths. Lastly, some 100 countries were victims of terror attacks, but the majority took place in just five, including Iraq, Afghanistan, India, Pakistan and the Philippines.
Meanwhile on the terror front, Global Affairs Canada is still not confirming or denying that two Canadian women were captured with 20 other ISIS women believed to be preparing for suicide attacks in Mosul. The women when found, were armed and had explosive devices believed to be suicide belts. It is believed that 15-20 Canadian women have left the country to fight with ISIS in Syria and Iraq and have had children with members of the terror group. It is important to note that the Canadian Forces are part of the US-led coalition battling ISIS in Iraq and providing training assistance to Iraqi forces.
Al Qaeda has condemned Israel’s closure and security procedures at the Temple Mount and called for revenge. Hamas has called for mass protests on Friday against metal detectors placed at the Temple Mount in Old City of Jerusalem. The PLO Fatah faction called for a national day of rage.
The Syrian Army, Hezbollah and other militia forces are said to be crushing the Islamic State (ISIS) forces surrounded in Raqqa.
The Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Paul Selva has told the Armed Services Committee that the US should consider restarting a formal military operation to combat the rise and influence of the ISIS in the Philippines.
On the International security front, French General Francois Lecointre, a career military officer, has reportedly been nominated France’s new military Chief of Staff, after his predecessor General Pierre de Villiers quit Wednesday in a dispute with President Emmanuel Macron over budget cuts. Locointre served in Sarajevo during the Yugoslavia Wars in the 1990s, and recently led the EU military training mission in Mali.
Kuwait has announced a downgrading of diplomatic relations with Iran.
The dispute between India and China continues to escalate in the same fashion as their 1962 Sino-Indian War and their close call in 1986-87. The latest conflict erupted in mid-June when India opposed China's attempt to extend a border road through a strategic plateau known as Doklam in India. The Doklam plateau, which lies at a junction between China, the north-eastern Indian state of Sikkim and the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan, is currently disputed between Beijing and Bhutan. India supports Bhutan's claim over China because if Beijing is successful it brings the People’s liberation Army to within striking distance of India's strategically vulnerable "chicken's neck", a 20-kilometer-wide corridor that links the seven north-eastern states to the Indian mainland. Both sides have reinforced their positions and asked the other to back away. There is some belief that China is manufacturing the crisis to punish India for its closeness to the West, the US and Japan.
China is reportedly monitoring the situation in the Taiwan Strait after reports said a US Navy destroyer entered the Taiwan Strait as it was tracking and monitoring Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning en route to Qingdao port from Hong Kong.
North Korea is reported to be preparing for another test launch of either an Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) or an Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile (IRBM) in the next two weeks. It quoted two US administration officials as saying that the indications appear in the latest intelligence. US satellites have reportedly detected new imagery and satellite-based radar emissions indicating the testing of components and missile control facilities for new launch. There is some thought that the US and its regional allies are bracing themselves for North Korea lashing out on or about July 27th, their so-called Victory Day marking the end of the Korean War (1950-53), with further ballistic missile launches and a potential nuclear test. There are reports that North Korea’s Romeo class conventionally powered patrol submarine (SSK) is operating in waters 100 kilometers from the coast in what is being described as “unusual activity.”