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Terror Unleashed: the coming terrorism

Noticias, Irma Argüello, August 17, 2017.

Military defeat of ISIS in Middle East was something like “Kick the anthill” generating a Diaspora of terrorists around the world.

World is moved by a new terrorist attack, this time in Barcelona. This adds up to the continuity of acts that begun in January 2015 in Paris with the assault of Charlie Hebdo and continued in various European cities.  All those acts left a balance of more than 480 dead and 1100 injured since 2015 to now.

 Prognoses indicate that Islamic terrorism will be intensified with the free movement of Jihadists in the return to their origin countries.  The rudimentary format of all these low cost attacks is easily reproducible in different places as it requires nothing more than vehicles or, at most, conventional explosives. 

The future risk may increase if these media develop into more sophisticated modalities such as a “dirty bomb”, that is the dispersion of radioactive material, or what it’s more seriously, the explosion of an improvised nuclear bomb.  In such upward spiral the “dirty bomb” would be the most likely scenario. Such attack would result in a limited number of victims and the radioactive contamination of an area, but in a disproportionate global psychosis.

Such evolution to happen depends essentially on three factors: The change in mentality of terrorists, the obtaining of an adequate funding and the barriers that individually or mutually countries can rise against these malicious acts.  

In regard to the terrorists’ mentality, despite some think the contrary, it is clear that these actors have a clear rationality and a firm purpose: The breaking of the current order and the establishment of a new world order. However, up to now its conservatism has worked as a limitation of the use of resources more sophisticated.  This does not mean that such situation will perpetuate over time and that new reconverted group or others that exceed this barrier do not begin to operate. The world has to be prepared for such a change of mentality.

In terms of financing, nowadays exist active international instruments that allow the restriction of the funds derived to terrorism and the repression of the individuals, organizations and countries that support to these organizations, whence it is essential that states fulfill with their role as soon as in the application of the standards set in said instruments.

In the sense of the action of countries to prevent and counteract these acts, it is essential international coordination in terms of intelligence and the implementation of adequate national legal frameworks.

Countries must have additional legislation that allows preventing, detecting, investigating and punishing these acts in an efficient and agile mode.  This aspect, although is little known, is not discretionary, but is related to the binding commitments of the states that derive of UN Security Council resolutions and other international instruments. However, there is no point in adhering to such instruments if the national implementation is deficient.

In terms of intelligence, the exchanges of information and joint actions to detect potential perpetrators have to be extremely fluid, which sometimes does not occur. Is sufficient to mention as inadmissible the disruptions and mutual accusations between the CIA and the British Intelligence in the occasion of the Manchester attack last may.

There are also examples where intelligence services handle key information to stop terrorist acts and organized crime and the decision making was dilated, allowing these acts to happen. An illustrative case, which is not exceptional, was the illicit-network leaded by the Pakistani, A Q Khan, monitored for years by western intelligence services, which was a key factor in the proliferation of nuclear weapons in Pakistan, North Korea, and nearly on Iran, among other illicit.

This leads us to reflect that state bureaucracy, the struggle for power spaces, and the resentment between countries are the worst enemies of the national and international coordinated action required to control and suppress the action of the transnational terrorism.

As Argentineans, victims of large-scale attacks, we have experienced in our own flesh the absence of adequate national mechanisms that would have allowed the early clarification and punishment of the attacks in our territory.