Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Sunday, July 22nd, 2018

The Threat of Terrorism in the United Kingdom

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The Threat of Terrorism  in the United Kingdom

The recent terror incidents in the United Kingdom, specifically in Northern Ireland, indicate that terrorist and extremist groups have adopted new strategies targeting the national critical infrastructure of the country. As I have already warned in my detailed published report on future terrorism and violence in the UK, Northern Ireland will experience more incidents of Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) and, from food poisoning to attacks on police personnel's, extremists want to do everything they can.

The cheap and easily available weapon to terror groups is IED, they can prepare in their houses and offices. On Saturday June 04, 2011, Press TV reported the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) examining a bomb blast in Londonderry which damaged several buildings in Brandywell but caused no injuries. This is not the first incident in the province, every week and every month, terrorist groups target either police, security personnel or government and public properties.

"These explosive devices, no matter how small they are, can maim and kill." Chief Inspector Jon Burrows said.
However, a local newspaper reported on Saturday that the government anti-radicalization measures pushed extremists underground.
In my recent book (The UK Jihadi Network), all details of these kind of threat and the possibility of future terror attacks in the United Kingdom has been discussed in two separate chapters. In my opinion, the government is focusing ninety percent attention on international terrorism while no priority is given to home-grown extremism and the day to day developing international terror networks. Last Thursday, Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police (CMP), Sir Paul Stephenson had warned that terror attacks in the country remained severe and could take place any time. Yes CMP is right, the problem is still there. Citizens of the UK face continuing threat from the networks of extremists who have thousands of supporters across the country. To combat these terror threats, the government and its counter terrorism strategies have so far not succeeded in undermining the secret networks of home-grown extremist groups.

People in Northern Ireland complain that the counter terrorism strategy of the security agencies has failed in tackling the IRA terror networks. The recent arrest of Irish terrorist, Michael Campbell has set off alarm bell. Recent news reports indicate that deadly terrorism again became main headlines in print and electronic media in the UK. The deaths of a young police officer in a bomb blast in Highfield Close in the Co Tyrone town on April 2, 2011, give us a threatening message that international terror networks resurfaced. This was a new kind of sectarian attack in the province. Sectarian violence in Northern Ireland and Scotland has created many law and order problems. Recent violent attacks on various communities and their expulsion from their houses indicate that the wave of violence still exist in the country. The deteriorating security situation in Northern Ireland has become a big challenge for both the government and security agencies. If we look at the complaints registered with different councils by the residents, we can realize the sensitivity of the law and order situation across the Northern Ireland.

Police and security agencies are introducing different counter terrorism strategies time and again, but never focused on the basic roots of the issue. In July 2010, the coalition government with a view to rolling back some of the stringent anti-terrorist laws introduced a long-awaited 'Review of Counter-Terrorism and Security Powers' and published immediately. The government and its strategies cannot prevent violent extremism and radicalization by detaining extremist elements and putting them behind bars. Racism, discrimination, sectarianism, extremism and takfiri jihadism are issues, which can create a bigger national security threat in near future. In future, such attacks may well be delivered through modern weapons, IEDs and roadside bombs.

There are many networks in the UK, but emerge time to time. The Israeli fake passport story and the story of underground espionage, all are interlinked. Extremists are getting strong and black market networks are flourished. Chief Constable of Northern Ireland once demanded more than £200m extra money for fighting against the dissident republican terror groups. He told members of the policing board that defeating IRA needed more funds. On February 18, 2011, Daily Telegraph reported Northern Ireland's chief constable saying, "Almost a quarter of a billion pounds of extra security funding will give momentum in the battle against terrorism. In his New Year message, Prime Minister David Cameron warned that security services were facing daily struggle to stop plots that would do terrible harm to the citizens and economy."

The recent warning from the security agencies to the manufacturers and retailers indicate that terror groups have intensified their war against the state. The warning came from the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI), which works in partnership with MI5. In the past, terror groups attempted contaminating of food in the UK many times, but intelligence reports say there is an emerging threat from extremist groups in the country. The issue of the future threat of terrorism in the country is much complicated while the way extremism and home-grown militancy is tackled is no more effective. There is mistrust between the police, security agencies and judiciary. Misunderstandings between the Home Office and Courts benefit terror suspects. Police and security agencies arrest terrorists and want to deport them, but judiciary doesn't give any importance to their statements. This is, therefore, the lake of coordination and concordance among various institutions that allow terrorist to remain in the country and continue their dirty campaign.

Recently, a group of British citizens in their complaint letter to Prime Minister David Cameron that the "war on drugs has failed" and demanded for a review of current laws. As per my last year research paper, there are 300 individuals who import opium into the UK and sale in the hands of 8000 whole sellers. Moreover, in the streets and towns across the country, some 80,000 young people are involved in hashish and opium smuggling. The recent unemployment wave further promoted this profitable business. In summation, the citizens of the United Kingdom will face more terror incidents, more attacks on police and security agencies, as UK has entered a full scale war in the Middle East and Afghanistan.

The writer is the executive editor of the Daily Outlook Afghanistan and the author of Britain’s National Security Challenges and Punjabi Taliban. He can be reached at zai.musakhan222@gmail.com

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