- 07-08-2012, 11:09 #21
On CFR Al-Qaeda's Specter in Syria by Ed HusainThe Syrian rebels would be immeasurably weaker today without al-Qaeda in their ranks. By and large, Free Syrian Army (FSA) battalions are tired, divided, chaotic, and ineffective. Feeling abandoned by the West, rebel forces are increasingly demoralized as they square off with the Assad regime's superior weaponry and professional army. Al-Qaeda fighters, however, may help improve morale. The influx of jihadis brings discipline, religious fervor, battle experience from Iraq, funding from Sunni sympathizers in the Gulf, and most importantly, deadly results. In short, the FSA needs al-Qaeda now.
In Syria, al-Qaeda's foot soldiers call themselves Jabhat al-Nusrah li-Ahli al-Sham (Front for the Protection of the Levantine People). The group's strength and acceptance by the FSA are demonstrated by their increasing activity on the ground (BBC)--from seven attacks in March to sixty-six "operations" in June. In particular, the Jabhat has helped take the fight to Syria's two largest cities: the capital of Damascus, where 54 percent of its activities have been, and Aleppo. Indeed, al-Qaeda could become the most effective fighting force in Syria if defections from the FSA to the Jabhat persist and the ranks of foreign fighters (Guardian) continue to swell.
Al-Qaeda is not sacrificing its "martyrs" in Syria merely to overthrow Assad. Liberation of the Syrian people is a bonus, but the main aim is to create an Islamist state in all or part of the country. Failing that, they hope to at least establish a strategic base for the organization's remnants across the border in Iraq, and create a regional headquarters where mujahideen can enjoy a safe haven. If al-Qaeda continues to play an increasingly important role in the rebellion, then a post-Assad government will be indebted to the tribes and regions allied to the Jabhat. Failing to honor the Jabhat's future requests, assuming Assad falls, could see a continuation of conflict in Syria.
Thus far, Washington seems reluctant to weigh heavily into this issue. In May 2012, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta publicly accepted al-Qaeda's presence in Syria (Guardian). And in July, the State Department's counterterrorism chief, Daniel Benjamin, rather incredulously suggested that the United States will simply ask the FSA to reject al-Qaeda. The unspoken political calculation among policymakers is to get rid of Assad first—weakening Iran's position in the region—and then deal with al-Qaeda later.
But the planning to minimize al-Qaeda's likely hold over Syrian tribes and fighters must begin now as the Obama administration ramps up its support to rebel groups (Reuters). Of course, these preparations should also include efforts to locate and control Assad's chemical weapons. The months ahead will not be easy.
Now you could argue this is just storing up trouble for their return but the Saudis have for decades drained their domestic Takfiri swamp by exporting it to fields of Jihad in Afghanistan, Kashmir, Kosovo, Chechnya and Iraq. Taking a threat to the stete and often covertly using it as a policy instrument. Sending them over there so they are not fighting us here. Of course advocates of the Iraq war argued we were doing the reverse charging about al Anbar in up-armored Humvees being a decoy from the homeland rather than a Takfiri breeding ground.
Whatever you think of that argument, this is certainly a much cheaper sub-trillion dollar version of that strategy. What could be better a long meat grinder war against the brutal 200K strong Baath army? Handily financed mostly by the Saudis. It does have its attractions as short term venting mechanism for Brit Takfiri energy. It keeps idle hands busy and a lot of them will find a path to celestial virgins, inshallah.
Think of it as job creation. Willy Hague could start a Big Society bash the Baath for Allah poster campaign in Job Centers. Bit of a top up on job seekers allowance, free flights, a stylish UK PLC Syrian Jihad 2012 desert camo T-Shirt and a free BAE homicide bomb belt on landing in Jordan might attract the buggers. Frankly it would be a snip for the tax payer.That's the most foul, cruel, and bad-tempered rodent you ever set eyes on!
- 08-08-2012, 00:34 #22
- 08-08-2012, 08:54 #23
I'm sure MI6 will want to have words with him when he gets back!
BBC News - Syrian jihadi captors 'spoke English with Midlands accents'==============================================
'John! How's your arm John?'
'Put down the chicken shit gun Bennett, I've got one arm you can beat me!'
'Come on John, stick your head out! I'll make it quick, right between the eyes!'
- 08-08-2012, 21:34 #24
- 08-08-2012, 22:06 #25
Don't forget that there's a huge (18 million?) Syrian diaspora population, many with a big grudge against the Assads. There's lots of angry young men willing to go back and pay off some old family debts. So-If you go back to get some revenge for grandad, does that make you a radical jihadi, or a freedom loving democrat? Lots of different motivations out there, and we do suffer from simplistic thinking about people called 'Al' with big beards.I am not the official representative of the Digital Outreach Team from the House of Commons; we are politically impractical and cannot comment on government policy or give a political opinion.-'cos they haven't made up their minds yet.
- 08-08-2012, 22:14 #26
- Join Date
- Jun 2005
- Staggering about making free with my lewd and lascivious boasts.
- 08-08-2012, 23:10 #27
Currently there are no instruments in international law that prohibit mercenary activity. The UK should provide leadership in addressing this problem by legislating against mercenary activity committed by UK individuals. But they don't.
How the security service deal with them when they return is another matter.
Edit. If the Turks stop being tricky I'll be able to give you a more detailed reply.
Last edited by bigeye; 08-08-2012 at 23:14.Her Majesty's Press Corps.... only the innocent (and members of the House of Lords) have nothing to fear.
- 09-08-2012, 05:19 #28
QUOTE=Sixty;4557835]Out of genuine curiosity, you being more intimate with the law and so forth, is a Syrian / Syrian parented person going abroad to fight in Syria actually illegal?[/QUOTE]
Oh Goodness me, Yes.
Anyone doing so could well find themselves on the wrong end of a charge should the requisite points to prove be made out under the raft of laws we have now.
quick guide? British Definition of terrorism:
(1)In this Act “terrorism” means the use or threat of action where—
(a)the action falls within subsection (2),
(b)the use or threat is designed to influence the government, or an international governmental organisation. or to intimidate the public or a section of the public, and
(c)the use or threat is made for the purpose of advancing a political, religious, racial or ideological cause.
(2)Action falls within this subsection if it—
(a)involves serious violence against a person,
(b)involves serious damage to property,
(c)endangers a person’s life, other than that of the person committing the action,
(d)creates a serious risk to the health or safety of the public or a section of the public, or
(e)is designed seriously to interfere with or seriously to disrupt an electronic system.
(3)The use or threat of action falling within subsection (2) which involves the use of firearms or explosives is terrorism whether or not subsection (1)(b) is satisfied.
(4)In this section—
(a)“action” includes action outside the United Kingdom,
(b)a reference to any person or to property is a reference to any person, or to property, wherever situated,
(c)a reference to the public includes a reference to the public of a country other than the United Kingdom, and
(d)“the government” means the government of the United Kingdom, of a Part of the United Kingdom or of a country other than the United Kingdom.
(5)In this Act a reference to action taken for the purposes of terrorism includes a reference to action taken for the benefit of a proscribed organisation.
Out of the general terrorism definition falls any of the offences; but they must have the above qualification.
You see, critically, the Act does not specify that the government influenced has to be "legitimate" (that would turn any prosecution into a trial about the issue rather than the alleged crime, probably why we don't stick Palestinian demo people on, or the "No War" lot for example).
It's a question that I was wondering about at the time of Libya, prior to us getting involved when I saw a Brummie lad on Al Jaz. Then we decided to pitch up, so that was apparently OK then... (well, for all I know he was killed or arrested anyway).
There are about 44 Proscribed Organisations last time I checked. You can probably guess what they are, there are some wildcard ones (The International Sikh Youth Organisation from memory for some hijacking or something).
Right, terrorism crimes. My goodness, we're passed some laws...Most relevant to your question:
s55 T2000 Weapons Training
It is an offence for a person to provide instruction or training in the making or use of firearms, explosives or chemical or biological weapons. Receiving instruction or training or inviting another to do so are also offences (in the latter case, even if the instruction or training is outside the UK). It is a defence, in relation to instruction or training, to prove that the action or involvement was wholly for a purpose other than assisting, preparing or participating in terrorism. The maximum penalty for these offences is 10 years imprisonment
s15 Fund Raising
s18 Money Laundering
s56 Directing a Terrorist Organisation.
So that's the rear party done too.
Most controversial were the offences brought in under T2006:
A person commits an offence if—
(a)he publishes a statement to which this section applies or causes another to publish such a statement; and
(b)at the time he publishes it or causes it to be published, he—
(i)intends members of the public to be directly or indirectly encouraged or otherwise induced by the statement to commit, prepare or instigate acts of terrorism or Convention offences; or
(ii)is reckless as to whether members of the public will be directly or indirectly encouraged or otherwise induced by the statement to commit, prepare or instigate such acts or offences.
the statements that are likely to be understood by members of the public as indirectly encouraging the commission or preparation of acts of terrorism or Convention offences include every statement which—
(a)glorifies the commission or preparation (whether in the past, in the future or generally) of such acts or offences; and
(b)is a statement from which those members of the public could reasonably be expected to infer that what is being glorified is being glorified as conduct that should be emulated by them in existing circumstances.
Hence "The Broadcaster's Defence" (or indeed, the ARRSE defence).
In proceedings for an offence under this section against a person in whose case it is not proved that he intended the statement directly or indirectly to encourage or otherwise induce the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism or Convention offences, it is a defence for him to show—
(a)that the statement neither expressed his views nor had his endorsement (whether by virtue of section 3 or otherwise); and
(b)that it was clear, in all the circumstances of the statement's publication, that it did not express his views and (apart from the possibility of his having been given and failed to comply with a notice under subsection (3) of that section) did not have his endorsement.
Preparation of terrorist acts
(1)A person commits an offence if, with the intention of—
(a)committing acts of terrorism, or
(b)assisting another to commit such acts,
he engages in any conduct in preparation for giving effect to his intention.
(2)It is irrelevant for the purposes of subsection (1) whether the intention and preparations relate to one or more particular acts of terrorism, acts of terrorism of a particular description or acts of terrorism generally.
(3)A person guilty of an offence under this section shall be liable, on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for life.
I don't know why, but the weapons training offence is pretty much duplicated at s6 TACT 2006
s6 Training for Terrorism. (it just seems wider than weapons training, requiring training in "terrorism skills").
Being a mere plod and not anything interesting, I would also point out Conspiracy or Solicitation or Murder (Offences Against the Person Act 1861)
whosoever shall solicit, encourage, persuade, or endeavour to persuade, or shall propose to any person, to murder any other person, whether he be a subject of Her Majesty or not, and whether he be within the Queen’s dominions or not, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and being convicted thereof shall be liable.
Sorry it's a bit windy, Sixty.
PS - My favourite bit of barmy law I found was the Eccesiastical Courts Jurisdiction Act which contained an offence of "vexing a minister during divine service", it's still on the books as far as I can see. Don't annoy the Padre. Sadly the 1954 Fraudulent Mediums Act has been repealed, I always wanted to charge someone under that. This bloke would have been a runner
BBC News - Psychic guilty: Karl Lang 'preyed' on sex victims
Anyway, back to terrorists.
The Green Paper states that "Although successive governments have deplored the activities of mercenaries, no effective legislation exists to prevent either their recruitment or their participation in conflict." The 1870 Foreign Enlistment Act, which makes it an offence for a British subject to enlist in the forces of a foreign power or to recruit for such forces, has been almost impossible to enforce. The Diplock Report of 1976 proposed that it be repealed or replaced, but no action was taken. It was this weakness of legislation that led our predecessor Committee to recommend a review of options for new legislation for private military companies. Its ineffectiveness has been well illustrated more recently by revelations about the recruitment in the United Kingdom of men to train and in some cases serve with Taliban forces in Afghanistan. It has been reported that at least 3,000 British-based Islamic extremists have been trained in al-Qaeda and Taliban terrorist camps in Afghanistan
I would respectfully suggest that the view of HMG may be that PMC's are less likely to come back and do a no-warning mass casualty attack, so I would disagree with your assertion "There is little difference between a load of Brummies pooping off with borrowed AKs and the more structured activities of the PMC brigade" as to the ends, if not the means (if you see what I mean).
Our Brummie friends may well find themselves a little inconvenienced should they return to Albion's fair shores.
- 09-08-2012, 07:10 #29
Our Brummie friends may well find themselves a little inconvenienced should they return to Albion's fair shores.[/QUOTE]
Very interesting Boumer.
I suppose the question is - do these British combatants fall under the Act? Are they not simply fighting in a foreign civil war
as many of Brits did in Spain and more recently the Balkans?
I would again suggest that the Ladies and Gentlemen at Box (and for that matter the other lot over the water) will be keeping a close eye on them.
Sorry for short reply - I'm out the door....
Last edited by bigeye; 09-08-2012 at 07:12. Reason: length of postHer Majesty's Press Corps.... only the innocent (and members of the House of Lords) have nothing to fear.
- 09-08-2012, 16:23 #30
However, if they are resident in the UK and the act which is the subject of the charge is done or has relevance to the UK then they would face consequences on return to the UK.
Those better versed in immigration law would be able to advise, but if foreign nationals here in the UK with less than permanent leave to remain-they'd probably suddenly find their presence is not conducive to the public good (or whatever the power of the Home Secretary to exclude people).
The comparison with the Balklans is insightful, as it was that which arguably radicalised a generation before AQ was a twinkle in your average Brummie jihadi's eye. We largely left it along apparently during the whole "Londonistan" era.
Bit of a hostile account to British Security policy and radical Islam, but based on good historical research:
Secret Affairs: Britain's Collusion with Radical Islam: Amazon.co.uk: Mark Curtis: Books
Worth a read. The author's other book is "Web of Deceit", on grubby foreign policy.
Maybe right, maybe not. I don't know.