Thursday, May 25, 2017

ISIS is redoubling its efforts - Maj. Gen. (ret.) Yaakov Amidror

by Maj. Gen. (ret.) Yaakov Amidror

There is no way to completely eradicate Islamic State's brand of terrorism, but Israel's preventative model has much to teach the world.

The atrocious terrorist attack in Manchester on Tuesday was not an isolated incident, and one can hedge that other attacks may take place all over the world. It is highly likely that as the holy month of Ramadan begins on Friday night, Islamic terrorist organizations will redouble their efforts to that effect. Ramadan aside, terrorist attacks will remain the principle effort of the Islamic State for the foreseeable future.

There is no way to completely eradicate this sort of terrorism. The cultural change U.S. President Donald Trump called for in Saudi Arabia, which includes denouncing Islamic extremism and launching an all out war against terrorism, is an issue for generations. It is not at all certain if the leaders of these countries, which gathered in Riyadh to hear Trump, can make the change needed. Some of them notably drew Islamist elements close and have been encouraging them for decades. It will be difficult to end these relationships on such short notice, if at all.

The task of readying countries under the threat of terrorism is not simple, either. Even Israel, which is many times more prepared than most countries to deal with terrorists, is unable to neutralize every terrorist attack as it is in the making.

Israel's advantage can be seen on three fronts: First of all, it has a legal system that enables it to deal with terrorists decisively, and not as just as another criminal act. The main difference compared with other countries is that Israel terrorist prevention organizations, such as the Shin Bet security agency and the police, have the ability to arrest every terror suspect before he has the chance to carry out his nefarious plans. If the arrest in question is based on sensitive intelligence, Israel has the option of employing administrative detention -- approved by the courts, of course, to protect it. 

Moreover, to prevent terrorist attacks in Israel, intelligence gathering may include more invasive measures than those used in most other Western countries and generally speaking, the protocols on the use such intelligence are less restricting. This is the price the Israeli public pays to successfully fight terrorism. There is no such thing as a free lunch -- not here.

Finally, combating terrorism requires cooperation between organizations inside the country, along with a no less tight cooperation with other countries from which terrorists come. Many countries have much to improve on these issues. Israeli experience shows that even though maximum efforts do not promise zero terrorist incidences, they can be reduced drastically.

Maj. Gen. (ret.) Yaakov Amidror


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