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Saturday, 3 December 2016

NATO, EU worried over changing IS tactics, recalcitrant Iran

From Océane Guillaume and Cédric Romain, in Maastricht

783 words

Southern News & Feature Service

Brussels, December 4: [SNFS]: Situations in the Middle-East conflict theatre are worsening. Change of tactics by terrorist body Islamic State (IS) complicated by Tehran’s belligerent stance against NATO is cause for worry the world over, experts said here Sunday.

The worries were accentuated due to a reported US decision to extend the Iran Sanctions Act [ISA] on the issue of nuclear threats and fresher, more sinister modus operandi planned by IS, reports revealed.

Europol's European Counter Terrorism Centre (ECTC) warned against guerrilla tactics by surreptitiously returning foreign mercenaries from Syria. Defence experts cited Iranian parliamentarians’ strident opposition to the West in the wake of rumours that US President Barak Obama may accord a nod to a decade long extension of the ISA after its smooth passage through the House of Representatives.

Based on its assessments, the ECTC report cited by European Union’s police [Europol] whose operations are similar to Interpol indicates that EU member states could face a neo range of terrorist threats and attacks from networked groups to lone actors. Such assaults would emanate directly from IS and/or its inspired adherents, the report avers.

The dangers predicted in the circulated warning comprise simultaneous use of explosives, automatic rifles, bladed weapons, booby-trapped vehicles and carefully planned and executed orchestrated multiple attacks.

Iran has slammed the proposed move to extend the ISA time limit by a decade. 

“As repeatedly stated by high-ranking Iranian officials, the recent bill passed by the House of Representatives and the Senate to renew sanctions against Iran is against the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action [JCPOA] and US obligations under international law not to interfere in domestic and international affairs of other countries,” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi was quoted as saying in a wire-services reports from Tehran.

Shi’a Islamist group Hezbollah that operates from Lebanon has a working relationship with other Jihadist gangs in the area that swear to hit Israel and all those nations that are friendly to Tel Aviv,” an expert wishing anonymity said in Brussels.

Conceived by Muslim clerics and funded by Iran to harass the Israeli occupation of Palestine, Hezbollah’s paramilitary wing, the Jihad Council and its political wing Loyalty to the Resistance Bloc party have caused worries in Western capitals. Since 1992, the group has been headed by Hassan Nasrallah, its Secretary-General. The growth of Hezbollah and its having surpassed the muscle of the official Lebanese Army have given the heebie-jeebies to the West. Hate outputs from the group’s mass media outlets have succeeded in spreading disinformation and disaffection in Islamic enclaves within major cities located in EU member states.

Islamic State’s asset Khalid Ibn al-Walid Brigade formed from the merger of two Salafist organizations operating in southern Syria – the Shuhada al-Yarmuk group and the Muthanna organization are some of the world’s most powerful non-state military organisations deployed close to Israel’s border with Syria. Their internecine fratricidal wars could end and a newer group could be cobbled to go to war against the Jewish state initially and later turn their guns on the West, EU and US of A, a report in Jerusalem Post said Saturday.

“The last two years have seen a number of jihadist attacks, several of which have caused mass casualties. The threat is still high and includes diverse components which can be only tackled by even better collaboration,” said Europol Director Rob Wainwright

“The threat posed by returning ‘foreign fighters’ of Islamic State (IS) is more dangerous as the jihadists are trained to use explosives and firearms like a regular army. While primary responsibility of combating terrorism within sovereign states is the discretion of individual EU member states, coordinated action by Europol could reduce threat risks,” opined Gilles de Kerchove, EU Counter-terrorism Coordinator.

Besides France and Belgium which have already suffered at the hands of IS, other EU states that are part of the US-led coalition Islamic terrorism could be targeted, the statement pointed out.

In case IS forces are defeated and/or considerably weakened in Syria, Iraq and other Middle East states, foreign mercenaries could return home to families in EU and US quietly to spread mayhem through guerrilla attacks coordinated from parts of Libya, the circular has warned.

Soft targets to be kidnapped, held for ransom and used to spread fear in Western nations could be one of the means to keep police forces of EU nations occupied. The diversion may render attacks on critical infrastructure facilities such as power grids and nuclear energy plants devastatingly effective,” opines the report.

Polarised EU states polarised on the basis of religious denominators could provide fertile ground to spread disaffection and radicalised mindsets among the Syrian refugee Diaspora. In turn, inflamed passions could provide grist to terrorist mills. The situation may worsen due to entry of hardened opportunist criminals trained by organisations like Al Qaeda and Al Nusra, the report observed.

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