Displaying items by tag: security
Israel’s domestic security is among the world’s most effective, but it failed recently to foil three deadly terrorist attacks that killed 9 Israelis and 2 Ukrainian migrants. Israel has not experienced such intense terrorism since the second Palestinian intifada 20 years ago. Two attacks were carried out by Israeli Arab citizens identifying with IS, the third was a Palestinian inspired by the previous two. The timing is not coincidental, coming just before Israel’s most sensitive dates - March 30 Land Day protests, April 2 Muslim Ramadan started, April 15 the Jewish Passover starts, two days later is Easter Sunday. Major religious observances coinciding within less than a month in the small confines of one of the world’s perennial flashpoints is dangerous. As in the 2015-16 terror wave, the attackers were not terrorists under chains of command. Instead, Israelis face millions of Palestinians, some intent on achieving the glory reserved for martyrs, as depicted on TikTok and other social media.
China is engaged in a massive nuclear weapons buildup that includes hundreds of new strategic missiles, and Chinese President Xi Jinping is preparing the military to retake Taiwan, USA’s most senior intelligence official told Congress on 8 March. Avril Haines, director of national intelligence, disclosed new information on threats from China and dangers posed by Russia, North Korea and Iran at the annual briefing on threats to US security around the globe. China’s military buildup includes the largest ever nuclear force expansion and arsenal diversification in its history, and there were 39 incursions Into Taiwan's airspace by fighter planes in one day. The Pentagon is warning that China is preparing for a military campaign, so it is sending new sales of advanced-grade military drones to Taiwan.
Christian volunteer security guards are preparing to defend their churches in the run-up to Easter. With world-wide concern peaking after Palm Sunday’s suicide bomb in Indonesia, William Arif Khan and his team of fifteen security volunteers at Lahore’s Sacred Heart Cathedral stressed the need for extra vigilance. ‘For the past twelve years, I have been leading young men dedicated to support the police’s security guards stationed at the cathedral. We don't expect any rewards. All of them have dedicated their holiday to the Church. They have metal detectors. The police have allowed us to keep some licensed weapons on church premises; but only my deputy and I are armed with a pistol. Everybody is afraid of the terrorists. But we stand for the One who protects us all. Our faith tells us that God won't let us down. We perform our duties with complete passion and avoid negative thinking.’
The National Cyber Security Centre reports that Chinese, Russians and Iranians are targeting healthcare bodies involved in coronavirus research. The first country to find a vaccine or cure will achieve diplomatic and geo-political influence. Healthcare and medical research staff were urged to improve their password security and implement two-factor authentication on accounts to reduce the possibility of threats. Matt Hancock has given the intelligence service access to the NHS IT network. Boris Johnson wisely stated, 'The race to discover the vaccine to defeat this virus is not a competition between countries but the most urgent shared endeavour of our lifetimes'. Pray for nations to share vital information and resources rather than competing with each other and potentially wasting time duplicating identical tests and research.
On 1 March, despite heavy rain, many Catholics took a stand against a surge of Islamist extremist violence. The faithful marched the streets of Abuja against the rising wave of insecurity and killings in every part of Nigeria. They carried placards demanding a better and safer society. Some have reported that the numbers of protesters were in their thousands. The president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference slammed the government for not doing enough to bring those behind these crimes to book. He said, ‘May we once again remind all the arms of government in Nigeria and all whose responsibility it is to protect Nigerians that without security there can be no peace.’
Mali was under French colonial rule until early 1959, when it assumed independence. However, France has 5,500 troops there working to keep the peace. Now France’s defence minister has said they will boost its military presence in the area to counter increasing violence carried out by armed groups. 600 additional troops will be deployed by March. On 14 February at least 40 people were killed in Ogossagou, the Fulani village that was targeted in a massacre of 160 people last year by Dogon militiamen. Huts and crops were set alight, livestock burned or taken away, and 28 people are missing. Clashes between the Dogon and Fulani ethnic groups are frequent, compounding a dire security situation in Mali's semi-arid and desert regions, where attacks by armed groups are common. See also
Despite President Trump’s stepped-up law enforcement at the Mexican border, arrests have nearly doubled since last year. ‘We are in a full-blown emergency, and I cannot say this more strongly - the system is broken’, said a border protection spokesperson. In May agents apprehended 144,000+ migrants. Now Homeland Security has uncovered an IS plot to send fighters from Syria to the USA by way of migrant routes across the porous border. Mexico is taking ‘decisive action to dismantle human smuggling and trafficking organisations as well as their illicit financial and transportation networks’, by deploying thousands of national guards to control migrant flow. On 8 June, the State Department promised to expand a programme that returns asylum-seekers to Mexico while their claims are adjudicated. Mexico will offer them jobs, healthcare and education. See
The National Security Council discuss intelligence coordination and defence strategies. But information from one meeting was published in the Daily Telegraph. Defence secretary Gavin Williamson was suspected of, and sacked for, allegedly leaking discussions around giving Chinese telecoms firm Huawei contracts to build UK infrastructure to support future networks. These networks would allow people to control their home (lights, washing machines, etc), allow driverless cars to operate, control infrastructure, water and air-quality monitoring systems, traffic lights, and display live departures at bus stops and train stations. Other governments around the world, concerned over security, have blocked Huawei technology from their next-generation networks. British telecom giants BT and EE are removing equipment made by Huawei from core parts of their 3G and 4G operations, and plan to exclude it from bidding on future 5G contracts. Huawei said it would never hand information to the Chinese government, but there is scepticism over whether it would have a choice. Meanwhile Mr Williamson, one of the few ministers with good relations with the DUP, has been sacked despite his strong denial of any involvement in the leak. See
Buckingham Palace has announced that US president Donald Trump will make a three-day state visit to the UK from 3 to 5 June. Mrs May said that the visit was an opportunity to strengthen our already close relationships in trade, investment, security and defence, and discuss how we can build on these ties in the years ahead. But shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry said that on the very day Trump threatens to veto a UN resolution against the use of rape as a weapon of war, Mrs May is planning to honour him with a state visit. His last visit saw tens of thousands of protesters fill central London's streets to tell him what they thought of his visit. Instead of a red carpet, there was a sea of people, in two large marches led by Women's March London and the Stop Trump Coalition.
Easter bombings in three churches and seven hotels have killed 253, with the death toll expected to rise further because 500 are seriously injured. Over sixty suspects have been arrested so far. Domestic and international authorities are probing deeper into the bombings, with a nationwide alert for nine vehicles involved, possibly holding explosives. The situation remains tense. Security has been increased, with naval and air force officers patrolling the streets. Roadblocks have been set up throughout Colombo, and suspicious vehicles and individuals are being searched. All Catholic churches in Sri Lanka must stay closed until security improves. A picture is emerging of nine well-educated, home-grown suicide bombers, including a woman, who carried out the attacks. IS claimed responsibility, but authorities blamed local extremists NTJ, whose leader is known for incendiary speeches online. Sri Lanka's security ‘weaknesses’ led to the failure to prevent the bombings. Ask God to protect potential targets - tourist spots, markets, hotels, government offices, churches, and shopping malls.