Monday, August 5, 2019

New wave of terrorist attacks possible before end of year, UN says

UN report warns threat from Islamist extremist groups remains high

Authors of the report suggest that though the caliphate has ceased to exist, many factors that gave rise to Isis and similar groups still exist. 


Twenty-fourth report of the Analytical Support and Sanctions
Monitoring Team submitted pursuant to resolution 2368 (2017)
concerning ISIL (Da’esh), Al-Qaida and associated individuals
and entities


With the fall of Baghuz, Syrian Arab Republic, in March 2019, the geographical
so-called “caliphate” of Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)a has ceased to exist
and the group has continued its evolution into a mainly covert network. Its leadership
is primarily in Iraq, while its centre of gravity remains in Iraq, the Syrian Arab
Republic and areas of the immediate neighbourhood. The leadership aims to adapt,
survive and consolidate in the core area and to establish sleeper cells at the local level
in preparation for eventual resurgence, while using propaganda to maintain the group ’s
reputation as the leading global terrorist brand – the “virtual caliphate”. When it has
the time and space to reinvest in an external operations capability, ISIL will direct and
facilitate international attacks in addition to the ISIL-inspired attacks that continue to
occur in many locations around the world.
Al-Qaida (QDe.004) remains resilient, although the health and longevity of its
leader, Aiman Muhammed Rabi al-Zawahiri (QDi.006), and how the succession will
work are in doubt. Groups aligned with Al-Qaida are stronger than their ISIL
counterparts in Idlib, Syrian Arab Republic, Yemen, Somalia and much of West Africa.
The largest concentrations of active foreign terrorist fighters are in Idlib and
Afghanistan, the majority of whom are aligned with Al-Qaida. ISIL, however, remains
much stronger than Al-Qaida in terms of finances, media profile and current combat
experience and terrorist expertise and remains the more immediate threat to global
The most striking international developments during the period under review
include the growing ambition and reach of terrorist groups in the Sahel and West
Africa, where fighters aligned with Al-Qaida and ISIL collaborate to undermine fragile
national jurisdictions. The number of regional States threatened with contagion from
insurgencies in the Sahel and Nigeria has increased. The ability of local authorities to
cope with terrorist challenges in Afghanistan, Libya and Somalia remains limited.
Meanwhile, the Easter Sunday attacks in Sri Lanka show the continuing appeal of ISIL
propaganda and the risk that indigenous cells may incubate in unexpected locations
and generate a significant terrorist capability. These and other ISIL attacks on places
of worship, alongside the attacks in Christchurch, New Zealand, of Ma rch 2019, offer
a troubling narrative of escalating interfaith conflict.
The related issues of foreign terrorist fighters, returnees, relocators and detainees
in the conflict zone have become more urgent since the fall of Baghuz. Member States
also report pressing domestic security concerns, including with regard to radicalization
in prisons and releases of terrorist prisoners, while only a few have the expertise and
capacity to manage this range of counter-terrorist challenges successfully