(BERLIN) BND REPORT: The head of Germany’s foreign intelligence agency has warned that the #IslamicState is just as strong as it ever was — even without its caliphate. Terrorism experts agree that it has morphed into a powerful network #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – July.20: The head of Germany’s foreign intelligence agency, the BND, has given a rare interview specifically to warn that, despite appearances, terrorism remains a real threat to world order, even 20 years after 9/11….

#AceDailyNews says that ‘Islamist Terrorism; has developed as have the number of terrorist actors and the danger they pose has increased’ across the country according to a German spy chief who warns of #IslamicState ‘s strength,” DW, July 13, 2021:

The head of Germany’s foreign intelligence agency has warned that the Islamic State is just as strong as it ever was — even without its caliphate. Terrorism experts agree that it has morphed into a powerful network.

The head of Germany’s foreign intelligence agency, the BND, has given a rare interview specifically to warn that, despite appearances, terrorism remains a real threat to world order, even 20 years after 9/11.

Speaking to the Süddeutsche Zeitung on Monday, Bruno Kahl said that, though Europe and the US had not seen any more major terrorist attacks like those of two decades ago, “Islamist terrorism has developed further, and cost very many human lives. The number of terrorist actors and the danger they pose has increased.” 

There have of course been major successes in the fight against the Islamic State in the past few years — especially the 2019 killing of the group’s self-proclaimed caliph, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and the destruction of the “caliphate” in Syria and Iraq as a quasi state entity. But since then, said Kahl, IS has turned into a decentralized network, much like al Qaeda, whose suborganizations “are even spreading out.” 

This isn’t exactly news, according to Mirna El Masri, a radicalization and terrorism researcher at the Hamburg-based German Institute for Global and Area Studies (GIGA). “There had been indications in 2019 after the loss of its territories that IS had strengthened considerably,” she told DW. “On the other hand, new circumstances have exacerbated the situation in the past year, which might explain why Kahl has decided to talk about this now.”

For one thing, the spread of the coronavirus in the Middle East region has weakened the Iraqi government and increased the desperation of many people, which has turned refugee camps in northern Syria into particularly good IS recruitment centers. The longer the pandemic continues, El Masri said, the more it will help IS.

The Islamic State has also learned to adapt its strategies, according to El Masri. Commanders have been subdivided into specific operational sectors in the region, taking over decision-making responsibilities. The latest reports also suggest that IS fighters have withdrawn completely from urban areas, but are able to move freely in the open country simply by avoiding state forces, especially near the city around the Syrian city of Deir ez-Zor.

IS has also developed new business models, adopting organized crime tactics such as demanding illegal taxes along oil and trade routes and using hotels, real estate and even car dealerships to launder money between Iraq, Syria, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates. 

“That has made it more difficult to see and monitor for German and international intelligence agencies,” said Eric Stollenwerk, terrorism and Sahel region researcher for GIGA, who agrees that the group is still very powerful in both Syria and Iraq. “Beyond that, it has strong connections with other regions in the world, such as sub-Saharan Africa and especially the Sahel region,” he added.

Kahl told DZ that there is only one way to stop the development of terrorist organizations such as IS: “The imposition of the monopoly of state power, the erection of state structures, the guarantee of security.” That, he argues, is where European and Western powers can help countries such as Burkina Faso, Niger and Nigeria. “We have to support the states in regaining control or at least to maintain it where it can be maintained,” he said….

#AceNewsDesk report ……….Published: July.20: 2021:

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