Despite falling attacks, ISIL terrorists remain ‘global threat’: UN report

UNICEF/Sparks Destruction in the Iraqi war-battered city of Mosul, evident after the city was liberated from ISIL forces in 2017.

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.


Though attacks were down last year, a new United Nations report to the Security Council on Monday shows that ISIL is still a global threat, despite evolving into a “covert” terrorism network, with countries continuing to face challenges from the growing scourge of violent extremism.

“Despite the more concealed or locally embedded activities of ISIL 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,” explained Vladimir Voronkov, who heads the UN Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT).

“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,” Under-Secretary-General Voronkov added.

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 – 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) and the Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team of the 1267/1989/2253 ISIL (Da’esh) and Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee, in close collaboration with the UNOCT and other UN entities and international organisations.

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.

Challenges faced by Member States

The UN analysis shows that Member States continue to face tremendous challenges across the world in tackling the threats posed by ISIL, with the threat level continuing to expand. This is especially true in North, West and East Africa as well as in Central Asia. Training camps have been identified in Afghanistan, and in South-East Asia, where women and youth are increasingly mobilized for terrorist operations across the region.

The head of CTED, Michele Coninsx, highlighted three of those major challenges faced by Member States:

  • The “destructive legacy” left in Syria and Iraq, most noticeable in the high number of families who remain internally-displaced due to the destruction of homes and infrastructure overall: She noted that “reconstruction will take many years and will require significant resources, as will restoring and reconciling communities after so many years of conflict.”
  • The growth in the number of terrorist suspects and offenders in custody: The risk posed by such prisoners is difficult to assess and manage.
  • ISIL’s ability to exploit new technologies and find innovative ways to finance itself and find new recruits: Ms. Coninsx noted for example the risks linked to anonymous technologies like blockchain and cryptocurrencies, and other internet-based ways of avoiding detection.

The UN’s support to Member States

For several years, various parts of the UN have supported Member States in the fields of prosecution, rehabilitation and reintegration (PRR) of former fighters; international judicial cooperation; countering terrorist financing; border management and law enforcement; countering terrorist narratives and engaging communities to prevent violent extremism.

Specifically, explained CTED’s Executive Director Coninsx, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and UNOCT are leading a joint project to provide tailored capacity-building assistance to prison staff.

In the Lake Chad Basin, she said CTED and UNODC are working to provide Member States with technical expertise to develop comprehensive strategies to prosecute, rehabilitate and reintegrate persons associated with the Boko Haram extremist group.

Other initiatives include the development of a practical guide for requesting electronic evidence across borders, and the deployment of a specialized consultant to support Iraq in its efforts to develop a holistic and comprehensive counter-terrorism strategy.

“The Secretary-General has stressed that despite recent successes against ISIL / Da’esh and its affiliates, the threat posed by returning and relocating fighters, as well as from individuals inspired by them, remains high and has a global reach,” stressed Mr. Voronkov. “I would therefore emphasize, the recent ISIL losses should not lead to complacency at any level,” he concluded.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the European Sting Milestones

Featured Stings

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Two women threaten to tear the world apart

The implications of Brexit on European business, youth entrepreneurship and junior enterprises.

Treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons marks first anniversary, but still lacks sufficient numbers to become law

Rising landmine blast toll in Afghanistan highlights long-term care needs of survivors

Giving humanitarian help to migrants should not be a crime, say MEPs

Jo Cox’s murderer believed the ‘leave’ campaign leaders that the ‘remain’ vote is treason

Brexit kick-off: a historic day for the EU anticlockwise

Will Merkel ever steer the EU migration Titanic and restore her power in Germany?

Why is the EU launching a doomed policy in stopping immigrant waves? What are the real targets?

Another 170 migrants disappear in shipwrecks, UN agency reiterates call for an end to Mediterranean tragedy

Satellites and data are going to help us phase out fossil fuels. Here’s how

How much is nature worth? $125 trillion, according to this report

Preparing medical students for new challenges in medical ethics

The EU Commission predicts a decimated growth in the next years

UN calls for funds to ease ‘deteriorating’ humanitarian situation in Gaza and West Bank

Imaginary Journeys Into Eternal China

For how long will terror and economic stagnation be clouding the European skies?

G20 LIVE: “United States and Turkey stand in solidarity with France and its people in handing the perpetrators of this crime and bringing them to justice”, US President Barack Obama underlines from G20 in Antalya Turkey

Trade in fake goods is now 3.3% of world trade and rising

Permanent structured cooperation (PESCO) on the table of NATO Defense Ministers amid US concerns

Brexit: Ensuring a smooth transition for car producers and safety on the roads

Wednesday’s Daily Brief: Sudan, Libya, Yemen updates, solutions for e-waste, flood response in Iran, online security for children

Chart of the day: This is how many animals we eat each year

‘I thought I’d never get out alive’ – the Muslim director who interviewed neo-Nazis

Nuclear test ban treaty critical to global collective security – UN chief

Doctors without borders

German egotistic inward turn to badly hurt Europe after Merkel’s exit

You’ve heard of 5G, but what about the quantum internet?

Marking Sir Brian Urquhart’s 100th birthday, UN honours life-long servant of ‘we the peoples’

Protect women’s rights ‘before, during and after conflict’ UN chief tells high-level Security Council debate

EU Commission: Germany can make Eurozone grow again just by helping itself

Accelerating a more sustainable industrial revolution with digital manufacturing

Italy’s dilemma after Merkel-Hollande agreed loose banking union

These chefs are fighting hunger and poverty with gastronomy

Service and Sacrifice: Ugandan ‘Blue Helmets’ support UN efforts to bring peace to Somalia

World Health Organization calls crisis meeting over deadly Ebola outbreak in DR Congo

Somalia: UN mission head condemns deadly terrorist attacks in Mogadishu, Galkayo

Low quality healthcare is increasing the burden of illness and health costs globally

European Union: From financial consolidation to deeper political division

4 things to know about the state of conflict today

Social, cultural diversity ‘an enormous richness, not a threat’ Guterres declares calling on investment for a harmonious future

“Health and environment first of all”, EU says with forced optimism after 7th round of TTIP talks

MEPs approve EU’s spending in 2017

Myanmar: Conflict resolution at ‘total standstill’, military commanders must answer for crimes against humanity

5G will redefine entire business models. Here’s how

UN rights experts call on Russia to release Ukrainian film-maker whose life is in ‘imminent danger’

“No labels for entrepreneurs!”, a young business leader from Italy cries out

Is there a chance for the West to win the war on terror?

Soil pollution ‘jeopardizing’ life on Earth, UN agency warns on World Day

From UN Assembly podium, Central African Republic leader appeals for lifting arms embargo

A Young student assesses the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA)

UN chief calls for ‘solidarity, compassion and action’ on World Refugee Day

Batteries can power sustainable development. Here’s how

INTERVIEW: UN’s top official in North Korea foresees ‘surge’ in humanitarian aid

Monday’s Daily Brief: ‘Horror’ at Notre Dame fire disaster, Yemen still bleeding, measles now ‘global crisis’

‘Humiliation was the worst’; Holocaust survivor at UN, asks world to act with ‘empathy and compassion’

Population in crisis hit EU countries will suffer for decades

The Ecofin Council creates officially the clan of ‘undead’ banks

Yemen update: UNICEF chief condemns attack in Taiz that claims lives of seven children

Is Europe ready to cooperate with the rest of the world? Can Germany change its selfish policies?

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s