UNITED NATIONS: A new U.N. report to the Security Council shows that ISIL/Da’esh is still a global threat, despite the decline in the number of attacks worldwide during 2018.
Noting the recent successes against the ISIL/Da’esh and its affiliates, Vladimir Voronkov, who heads UN’s Counter-Terrorism Office, said the threat posed by returning and relocating fighters, as well as from individuals inspired by them, remains high and has a global reach.
“I would therefore emphasize (that) the recent ISIL losses should not lead to complacency at any level,” he told the 15-member Council.
“Despite the more concealed or locally embedded activities of ISIL/Da’esh cells, its central leadership retains an influence and maintains an intent to generate internationally-directed attacks and thereby still plays an important role in advancing the group’s objectives,” Under-Secretary-General Voronkov said.
“This is exacerbated by the challenge of foreign terrorist fighters who either are leaving conflict zones, or those who are returning or who are about to be released from prison. In this context, radicalization in prison settings, is seen as a particular challenge in Europe and Iraq.”
He said that so-called “frustrated travelers” were adding to the complexity of the threat, namely fighters who’d failed to reach main battlegrounds, but been diverted instead elsewhere, either by ISIL commanders or of their own volition.
The report notes that the “centre of gravity” of the organization, known in the Arab world as Da’esh, remains in Iraq and Syria, with up to 18,000 remaining in the ranks, including some 3,000 foreign fighters.
“In terms of ISIL’s financial strength, the report notes that despite some loss of revenue due to territorial setbacks, ISIL could sustain its operations through accessible reserves, in cash or investment in businesses, ranging between $50 and $300 million. ISIL cells are also reported to generate revenue through criminal activities”, explained Mr. Voronkov.
The document, the eighth report on ISIL/Da’esh – which proclaimed its so-called caliphate across northern Syria and Iraq in 2014 – was prepared on behalf of the UN Secretary-General by the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED).
After being driven from its city strongholds of Mosul and Raqqa, intense fighting in recent months has left Da’esh defending a small enclave against US-backed fighters in eastern Syria, close to the Iraqi border.
According to news reports, around 600 terrorist fighters continue to battle with coalition forces, which have labelled this the “final battle” to crush ISIL.
US elections: No proof of Russian meddling
MOSCOW: Russia on Friday once more dismissed the Mueller report, saying that it failed to present evidence of any meddling by Moscow in the 2016 US election.
“As a whole, the report as before does not present any reasonable proof at all that Russia allegedly meddled in the electoral process in the US,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists, saying it contained “no new information”.
Works of 100 writers to be published in the year 2114
SEOUL: International award-winning South Korean author Han Kang has been named the fifth author in a Norwegian government-sponsored project to collect the works of 100 renowned writers, one author a year, and publish them in 2114.
Han, a 2016 Man Booker International Prize winner for her novel The Vegetarian, is also the first Asian writer to be selected as a contributor to the Future Library project, which aims to connect current and future generations through writing.
The project was launched in 2014 by a Scottish artist with the concept of conveying the meaning of hope and trust by connecting time and life. The previously selected writers are Margaret Atwood of Canada, David Mitchell of Britain, Sjon of Iceland and Elif Shafak of Turkey.
A thousand trees have been planted in a forest near Oslo to supply paper for the special anthology of books, which will be printed in a century’s time, according to the Future Library. Han will donate her unpublished text in a handover ceremony due to be held in Oslo on May 25. Her manuscript will be disclosed in 2114.
Countering Indian hybrid warfare techniques
KARACHI: Security analysts Friday warned people to be wary of the content on social media, as the Indian hybrid war against Pakistan was trying to cause discontent and confusion among the masses.
Addressing a seminar “Post Pulwama-Threat of Hybrid Warfare and What Next,” organized by Karachi Council on Foreign Relations (KCFR) speakers including former Ambassador Najmuddin A. Shaikh, former Foreign Secretary, Dr. Asif Mahmood, Dr. Huma Baqai, Associate Dean at IBA and senior defence analyst Ikram Sehgal were unanimous in their opinion that India has been seen piling up and imposing instruments of hybrid warfare on Pakistan. The situation demanded that the nation must be cautious in expressing their views on social media that may not only counter the national cause but also lead to manipulation of a national perspective.
Mentioning that hybrid warfare is a blend of conventional and irregular warfighting techniques that may also employ other non-kinetic means to undermine an enemy’s strength, speakers said Pulwama incident was a manifestation of their very technique. Modi Government was said to have taken advantage of it by blaming Pakistan for the terrorist act hence not only attempting to gain world sympathy but also affecting issues involving the two neighbors and taking up the issue at international level.
Hybrid Warfare, the elaborated was more catastrophic in essence as it pervades into multifaceted frontiers of the enemy’s territory; psychologically undermining its decision-making capabilities. I also have ability to systematically crippling its financial and information networks using cyber technology, economic strangulation via coercive economic diplomacy and leveraging its influence over international actors and institutions meanwhile, developing and maintaining a robust defense posture.
It was emphasized that Pakistan needed to get around the world and show the Indian intelligence agency’s vile face and its role in getting innocent human beings, getting killed in and outside India. Mumbai carnage, attack on Indian Parliament, attack on Pathankot Brigade Headquarters were cited to have been already proven as False Flag Operations conducted by RAW and other covert agencies of India to promote and protect their interests.
The speakers were firm in their suggestion that Pakistan must continue its support, morally and politically so that Kashmiris were essentially allowed to exercise their right to a plebiscite as narrated in UNSC Resolutions. On the occasion 12 of the UN Security Council resolutions starting in April 1948 were extensively discussed explaining as how much important it was to get Kashmir issue resolved in a democratic manner through a free and impartial plebiscite.