Iraq has been a mess. The recent rise of ISIL in the contiguous parts of Syria and Iraq have brought the country’s capital and critical infrastructure on the verge of capture by the terrorists. Many major cities have fallen and thousands of people have been killed. The United States is hoping that they will be able to entice the many Iraqi tribes for form militias (now referred to as Civil Defense Forces) and work with the (so far very ineffective) Iraqi Army to keep ISIL/ISIS at bay. The concept of a “militia” has deep meaning in American history with the defense of the nation being put forth as their responsibility in the nation’s second amendment.
“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
But can this strategy work in Iraq?
Advocating for militia’s in Iraq to keep the peace
As Iraq and the United States seek to once again to partner with the tribes to dislodge ISIL, it is crucial that both learn from the mistakes of the past. The skillful employment of irregular auxiliaries will not only ensure tactical success against ISIL but could also help promote long term stability in Iraq by building habits of cooperation between Sunnis and Shia. Moreover, lessons learned from this experience could also be of tremendous value in places such as Yemen, the Egyptian Sinai and Nigeria, where state governments hold little sway and depend on local irregulars to help combat insurgents and terrorist groups. (War on the Rocks)
A lot has been made of the hate and vitriol that the terrorist group ISIS/ISIL/Islamic State have for everyone (but themselves). They’ve been on a murderous rampage in parts of Syria and Iraq with ongoing dreams of spreading their brand of violent Islamic terrorism across the world either by export or by radicalizing natives in those countries. So what happens when you combine the scrounge of ISIS with the other big danger being covered in the news (Ebola)? Of course there is a convergence and we end up with reports that the Islamic State is looking to somehow use Ebola as a bio-terrorism weapon in the United States. They are not likely to get access to a weaponized version of Ebola which, if it ever existed, would have been limited to the Soviet Union and maybe other military powers during the cold war.
Could they take a large amount of infected (body) fluid and somehow get it on people? Sure but that would be very cumbersome and any such hypothetical attack would have a small footprint. Terrorists could figure out a way to either smuggle or through international travel, get Ebola infected comrades into the United States or Europe. Once there these infected jihadis could try to spread the disease from person to person by physical contact. This is hard as once in the stage where Ebola is alive in the carrier and spreadable, the disease will be ravaging the human carrier and assuming it is not aerosolized, would be hard to spread. The most likely victims would have been medical personnel but one can assume that they are now on guard for Ebola cases in general. But none of these details prevent terrorists from talking about it in Internet chat rooms (sic).
Could ISIS/ISIL terrorists spread Ebola to the United States?
According to Spain’s RTVE public broadcasting corporation, the interior ministry number two said there had been “many examples” of threats to use the Ebola virus and other toxins in a new form of terrorism offensive against the West, referring specifically to three recent cases.
Most recently there was the “jihadist chat room” conversation discovered in mid-September in which “the use of Ebola as a poisonous weapon against the United States” was discussed in a forum Martínez described as “linked to Isis”.
The security chief also mentioned a series of tweets from July in which, he said, the terrorist organization Ansar al-Islam was shown to be considering the use of “deadly chemical products from laboratories”. (The Local)
The burgeoning threat from the Islamic State (IS/ISIS/ISIL) has resulted in new and proposed laws along with procedures and heightened security measures being enacted in Great Britain and Australia. It is being reported that Canada’s security complex may soon be getting some additional capabilities after raising concerns, that they were denied the ability to spy on Canadians suspected to have joined terrorist and extremist causes abroad. Proposed legal amendments will allow the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) to expand its surveillance powers and share information with allies, which we assume refers to the “Five Eyes” (Canada, United States, Great Britain, Australia, and New Zealand).
Canadian spy agency is expected to get more powers
Observers say amendments will have to be carefully crafted given that Parliament’s authority goes only as far as the borders. Most countries pass laws to cover their domestic spy agencies, but few related to foreign-focused espionage.
Yet the explosion of Internet and spying technologies now allows intelligence operatives in Ottawa to monitor international communications, a practice that blurs the lines between foreign and domestic surveillance.
Just as police need warrants to conduct searches, CSIS must get permission from judges to spy on people in Canada. In 2009, Federal Judge Richard Mosley granted the first warrant for the agency to track Canadian terrorism suspects abroad.
It will be interesting to see how this issue is debated within the Canadian parliament.