Friday, 25 April 2014

British Jihadi Islamists and the Syrian Conflict.

'Counter-terrorism officers, fearful that some of those fighting in Syria will return to Britain radicalised with the ability to carry out violent acts on British soil, hope that female family members will curb the numbers of people intent on taking up arms against the Assad regime'.( Syria crisis: stop your sons joining war, urges Met police, Guardian 24 April 2014 )
Much about the Syria-related terror threat does not add up. The Metropolitan Police may have though 'counter terrorism' depends on educational campaigns and social work 'in the community' to prevent Muslims going to Syria. Yet this depends on the bizarre notion they have not been radicalised already.

By definition, British Muslims who went to fight in Syria or are intending to join the struggle, are radicalised. In the Age of the Internet, British Muslims have access to information and have been able to cross the border from neighbouring Turkey with ease.

The Metropolitan Police are wasting their time. If British Muslims have decided to go and fight along with jihadists, then it is supposed to be the task of MI5 and MI6 to monitor those involved in terror plots before they go, meaning they could be stopped on the border, or to keep tabs on them if they return.

Should British citizens get killed in Syria fighting against Assad, it is the responsibility of those who decided to go. If they join Al Nusra or other groups of fanatics, the chances are they will get killed (in which case they pose no danger to Britain ) or they can be monitored on their return.

The probability is that the British secret services are playing the usual power game in using British born jihadists as 'assets' in order to gain more intelligence or, in fact, to use them as proxies in the struggle to remove Assad. This has been the pattern since the Bosnian War in the 1990s.

This extremely dangerous game, where known Al Qaida affiliated operatives have been allowed to pass across the borders and not arrested, was once part of the Covenant of Security, the policy of permitting exiles and jihadists to settle in Britain so they would not attack it but could be used by MI6.

Since the 'war on terror' got going after 2001, that policy was formally dropped. Even so, the shadowy power game has continued. The security services most likely want British born jihadists in Syria so they can gain intelligence and have agents within groups espousing violent Islamist ideology.

Some radical groups patronised by the British establishment as part of a 'counter-extremist' strategy have, according to historian Mark Almond, have acted as a conduit for Islamists to go and fight in Syria and that the strategy of collusion could lead to blowback.

Since the threat of Al Nusra has grown disproportionately, the British government by late 2013 seemed to have grasped the fact that their strategy for Syria was counter productive and could risk bringing terrorism back directly into the cities and towns of Britain and other backers of the Syrian insurgents.

The threat of terror is, however, always of utility to British governments that have wanted to harness jihadists to destroy states controlled by those hostile to Britain's geopolitical interests and over pipeline routes ( e.g Syria ) and regions with copious oil and gas.

British citizens are going to have to get used to the fact that Britain's high octane consumer society depends on these hazardous strategies for control over pipeline routes from Eurasia and the violent consequences of being locked into a struggle for mastery over diminishing natural resources across the globe.

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