Sponsored by Exensor
06 Dec 20. MI6 Spy Warns Islamic State Preparing Terrorist Attacks Across Europe. A former MI6 operative has warned that the Islamic State is plotting Christmas terror attacks across Eusropes in revenge for the republication of caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed by the French satirical Charlie Hebdo.
Aimen Dean (a pseudonym) has claimed that plots are being hatched in jihadi-held areas of northern Syria and Libya to terrorise Europe this Christmas season.
Dean spent eight years spying on al-Qaeda before his cover was blown by a US intelligence leak.
He told a security conference in London – the International Security Expo – that Abu Omar al-Shishani, an ISIS commander thought to have survived a 2016 US strike, is planning to send terrorists to the West via Turkey and across the Mediterranean from North Africa.
They will then carry out a series of terrorist attacks in Britain, France and Germany as their governments lift coronavirus restrictions ahead of Christmas, according to Dean.
Severe Terror Threat
Home Secretary Priti Patel moved Britain to its second-highest terror threat level of ‘severe’ after a series of horrifying attacks in France and Austria, where an Isis sympathiser killed four people during a gun rampage in Vienna.
According to MI5, SEVERE “means an attack is highly likely”.
In France, schoolteacher Samuel Paty was beheaded in October for showing a classroom Mohammed cartoons in a lesson on free speech. Three Christians were killed in a mass stabbing by a Tunisian migrant in Nice just two weeks later.
The French government moved against Islamic extremism by closing nearly 80 mosques accused of Islamic separatism and expelling 66 illegal immigrants suspected of radicalisation from the country.
Wave of Terror is Coming
Speaking at the International Security Expo, Dean said:
“The worry is that, according to people who know him, [Shishani] is planning to avenge the Prophet Mohammed cartoons in places like Germany, UK, France and all around Christmas time. We need to be worried about the wave of terror that is coming from northern Syria and Libya for Christmas this year.”
Dean also added: “This promise of no lockdown at Christmas has made it a more attractive timeframe for targeting. Already they have been thinking about it, already they have been looking at it and I feel this will be the next target.”
The former al-Qaeda terrorist claimed that Shishani is planning to infiltrate violent extremists from the remaining outposts of ISIS following the republication of caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed by the French satirical Charlie Hebdo.
The Former MI6 Spy: Aimen Dean
A native of Saudi Arabia, Aimen Dean had a strict Islamic upbringing that sowed the seeds of violent extremism.
Dean’s terrorist career began in 1994 when he left Saudi Arabia to join jihadist fighters in Bosnia, before continuing on to other fronts in Afghanistan, the Caucasus, and Philippines. Dean joined al-Qaeda in 1997 and became part of its bomb making and WMD development efforts.
However, Dean was deeply affected by al-Qaeda’s 1998 terror attack on two US embassies in East Africa. After what he describes as long soul-searching, he secretly defected to the British government and worked undercover for eight years passing information on al-Qaeda’s networks and plots to the British Secret Intelligence Service, MI6.
His cover was compromised by a book published in the USA in 2006. Forced to leave undercover work, he become a consultant for a global bank on Financial Crime/Counter Terror Finance, offering insights on terrorism, terror financing, and Middle Eastern current affairs.
Aimen Dean is now the Managing Director of Amal Global, a company based in Ireland that conducts in-depth Middle East political, defence and terror analysis as well as terror financing research for international financial institutions and governments.
You can find out more about Aimen Dean in his autobiography, Nine Lives: My Time As MI6’s Top Spy Inside al-Qaeda.
In October, Ken McCallum made his first address as the new Director General of MI5. Highlighting the threat from Islamic terrorism, he said:
“Islamist extremist terrorism, which by volume remains our largest threat. It is still the case that tens of thousands of individuals are committed to this ideology – and we must continually scan for the smaller numbers within that large group who at any given moment might be mobilising towards attacks.”
Lack of effective immigration policies across Europe have allowed a flood of violent extremists to enter and take root, finding support in separatist communities. McCallum admitted that countering Islamic terrorism was a difficult challenge:
“That task has become sharper in recent years, as more terrorists have gone for basic attack methods requiring little preparation, meaning there are fewer clues for us to detect in advance – and less time to find those clues.” (Source: Warfare.Today)
04 Dec 20. German industry lead prepares for possible collapse of TLVS anti-missile program. The German arm of MBDA said it will “restructure” its operations following signals from Berlin that the government is having second thoughts about the company’s pet project, the TLVS air defense system.
The move comes after European consortium MBDA and its American partner Lockheed Martin held out hope for years that their follow-on work on the former Medium Extended Air Defense System — which included the United States, Germany and Italy — would eventually yield a contract with the German military, or Bundeswehr.
Up to now, the vendors invested some money of their own in the effort, believing the system’s features would revolutionize a global air defense market dominated by the Patriot system.
But MBDA now thinks a contract still won’t materialize next year, the company said in a statement. In addition, the statement noted that Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer announced a reevaluation of the Bundeswehr’s entire air defense portfolio.
Such reviews typically are telling indicators that governments want fresh thinking on a given subject and are willing to scrap long-standing plans. In the case of TLVS, Kramp-Karrenbauer’s recent emphasis on “layers” in missile defense, a common way to conceptualize the technology, could mean the system is no longer thought to serve the sweet spot in intercepting aircraft, missiles or drones at various heights and distances.
Late last month, lawmakers only included a token sum of €2m (US$2.4m) for TLVS in the defense budget for next year. While there is an opportunity to add funds midyear, including some kind of bridge funding until the Defence Ministry’s goals are more clear, the companies are seeing their prospects diminish.
It remains to be seen how the ministry would shape the narrative about canceling a program once held up as a poster child of German defense procurement reform. Officials set the program up with the idea of delegating as much development risk to the contractors as possible, at a fixed price. Combined with the gradual addition of new feature requests, like hypersonic intercept and lasers, that approach began to look untenable for both sides over the summer. (Source: Defense News)
03 Dec 20. NATO Must Consider Chinese Military Power, Says Germany Foreign Minister Heiko Maas. China’s emergence as a global military actor must be part of NATO’s discussions on how to reform the alliance, says German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas. And, amid shifting power, NATO will need a more “sovereign Europe.”
Shifting power balances, including China’s emergence as a “global military actor” must be part of NATO reform thinking, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said on Wednesday evening. It came after two days of alliance talks involving fellow foreign ministers of the 30-nation alliance.
“We have to find a well thought-out approach toward China” said Maas in a statement issued by the German Foreign Ministry.
“There would be opportunities that we can use,” said Maas in a later statement, “and challenges for which we need to prepare” in coming decades.
Ministers from regional partners, including Australia, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea also joined the video conference on Wednesday. NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said that while China may not share NATO’s values, it is not an opponent, observing that Beijing had invested heavily in new military capabilities while criticizing its human rights record. A high-level 67-page report submitted to NATO ministers on Tuesday urged the alliance to broaden its scope beyond the Cold War and “adapt” to the rise of China and a “persistently aggressive Russia.”
Based on reactions, Stoltenberg is expected to draft a plan of action to be finalized by the alliance’s next summit in the second quarter of 2021.
Germany’s ‘Indo-Pacific Guidelines’
Maas said the German cabinet’s adoption of Indo-Pacific Guidelines in September would enable Germany to contribute to NATO reform discussion.
Germany’s guidelines portray China, Japan, the USA and India as becoming increasingly “self-assured partners” in the Asia-Pacific sphere, necessitating cooperation,” for example, on climate change and the global loss of biodiversity.
Within NATO, Europe had in recent years striven to strengthen its responsibility “urgently needed in view of the many crises in our neighborhood,” said Maas, noting what he termed “the role Russia plays in Ukraine and Georgia.”
NATO’s foremost step, however, was to “put a stop to quarrels” among partners, Maas insisted, without specifically naming rival members such as Turkey and Greece which have argued over Cyprus and maritime mineral deposits.
The alliance’s high-level analysis submitted Tuesday had warned: “Political divergences within NATO are dangerous.”
‘Clear conditions’ before Afghan withdrawal’
On Afghanistan and NATO’s mission since 2014 involving numerous alliance nations, including Germany, Maas said the aim was the aim to “secure the hard-won rights for many sections of the [Afghan] population.”
Referring to outgoing US President Donald Trump’s push to withdraw American troops and Taliban-Kabul peace negotiations, Maas said Afghanistan “must not be allowed to slip back into war.”
A reduction of troops must be linked to “clear conditions,” said the German Foreign Minister: “We must not give up lightly this lever in the peace process.” (Source: defense-aerospace.com/Deutsche Welle German Radio)
02 Dec 20. Foreign Secretary underlines UK commitment to NATO. The Foreign Secretary spoke this week at the virtual NATO Foreign Ministers’ meeting and underlined the strengths of the Alliance.
* The Foreign Secretary spoke this week at the virtual NATO Foreign Ministers’ meeting on the future of NATO.
* He underlined the strengths of the Alliance and the need for it to evolve to meet new challenges and take action against malicious state activity.
* The recent £24.1bn increase in UK defence spending commitment cements our position as NATO’s largest European contributor.
The Foreign Secretary has underlined his support for NATO this week, as he spoke to Allies across Europe and North America.
He also expressed strong support for the work of NATO’s ‘Reflection Process’ Group whose report proposed concrete ways the Alliance could continue to adapt to face future challenges.
The Secretary General will now develop these recommendations into a package of proposals for leaders of NATO countries to consider at their next Summit in 2021.
The Foreign Secretary also used the Foreign Ministers’ meeting to call for the Alliance to continue to take a collective voice against malicious state action, citing NATO’s swift collective response on the Navalny poisoning as a leading example.
This meeting follows the announcement that the UK will increase defence spending by £24.1bn over the next four years – the biggest single investment in UK defence capabilities since the Cold War. The budget cements the UK’s position as the biggest European contributor to NATO, and the second biggest in the alliance. It will also allow the UK to maintain the wide spectrum of capabilities it offers to NATO, including the Carrier Strike Group.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said, “NATO is the most successful alliance in history and at a time when our adversaries are operating in the space between peace and war – launching cyber-attacks and spreading disinformation – it is more important than ever. The UK supports NATO’s work to continually adapt to face new threats and challenges. This includes responding to technological innovations, the threats from cyber and hybrid warfare and the need to combine our political and military tools to have the greatest impact.”
NATO Allies also discussed Russia’s military build-up, the importance of effective arms control, China, NATO’s training mission in Afghanistan and Black Sea security.
Allies were joined in some of these session by NATO Partners, including Australia, Japan, South Korea, Ukraine, Georgia, Sweden, Finland and the EU. The NATO 2030 report has now been published, outlining proposals for further reform of the alliance to address new and emerging security threats. (Source: https://www.gov.uk/)
28 Nov 20. Government Secretly Deployed British Troops to Defend Saudi Arabian Oil Fields. British troops were sent to defend oil fields in Saudi Arabia without the knowledge of parliament or the public, it can be revealed. Opposition parties accused the UK government of lacking a “moral compass” and dodging scrutiny. Campaigners said the episode was “symptomatic of the toxic relationship” between the government and the oil-rich autocracy.
The Ministry of Defence says the oil fields are “critical economic infrastructure” and that gunners from the 16th Regiment Royal Artillery were needed to help defend against drone strikes.
Incredibly, the military operation, launched in February, overlapped with a ban on exporting military hardware to the Middle Eastern dictatorship.
Until July, ministers were blocked by the Court of Appeal from signing off military exports because of concerns that Saudi forces were committing war crimes in their conflict with rebels based in neighbouring Yemen.
Until July, ministers were blocked by the Court of Appeal from signing off military exports because of concerns that Saudi forces were committing war crimes in their conflict with rebels based in neighbouring Yemen.
Legal action is ongoing in British courts to reinstate the ban, which ministers discarded in the summer after judging that the 500 alleged war crimes amounted only to “possible” breaches of international humanitarian law and were “isolated incidents”. (Source: defense-aerospace.com/The Independent)
30 Nov 20. Statement by U.S. Ambassador to Greece Geoffrey R. Pyatt on F-35 Acquisition. The United States, at the highest levels, has welcomed Greece’s interest in acquiring the F-35 for the Hellenic Air Force. We have signaled our support for procurement and are working closely together on a future acquisition program, which would enhance Greece’s defense capabilities, ensure interoperability with U.S. Armed Forces and improve regional stability. All reports to the contrary are false and misrepresentations of U.S. policy.
The U.S.-Greece defense relationship is at an all-time high and is one of America’s strongest military relationships in Europe. We take great pride in our defense and security partnership with Greece and work daily to advance that from strength to strength, including through Greece’s future acquisition of the F-35. The path to acquisition of the F-35 is a multi-year process that would naturally build upon the successes realized in Greece’s F-16 Viper upgrade program. (Source: defense-aerospace.com/US Embassy to Greece)
24 Nov 20. Bundeswehr to Receive More Money from the Federal Budget. The Bundeswehr will receive around 46.93bn euros in 2021. According to the decision of the budget committee in the so-called adjustment meeting on November 26, 2020, more money is earmarked for investments and the maintenance of their skills in 2021 than in the previous year. On November 26, 2020, the budget committee discussed section 14 of the federal budget for 2021. The defense budget will then increase sharply in 2021 – to a total of around 46.93bn euros.
Investments in the foreground
The Bundeswehr is to receive a total of 1.3bn euros more than in the current year. And this budget is also necessary in order to invest in maintaining skills and in new and innovative skills. The draft budget provides a total of around 12.2bn euros for investment expenditure. This includes in particular the future-oriented joint developments with other European countries, for example the Future Combat Air System and the Main Ground Combat System with France or the submarine design and missiles planned jointly with Norway. The funds from the economic stimulus package are also taken into account in the draft budget. Above all, this should make the troop more digital.
Modernization of the Bundeswehr continues
In addition to many projects that are important for the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force 2023, as well as small and medium-sized armaments projects, numerous large-scale projects are still or are being considered for the first time.
The multi-purpose combat ship MKS 180 multi-purpose combat ship, the replacement of the first batch of Eurofighter, the NH-90 NFH (NATO Frigate Helicopter) as a successor to the Sea Lynx and the Euro drone are included, in addition to new fleet service boats.
But not only the material should improve a lot. Numerous improvements in the personnel budget are planned for both soldiers and civilian employees. The housekeepers are planning with an estimated strength of the Bundeswehr of 179,000 professional and contract soldiers.
The Bundestag and Bundesrat decide
The parliamentary procedure has not yet been completed. After the adjustment meeting, section 14 will be passed as part of the federal budget by the Bundestag and Bundesrat before the budget law can be drawn up by the Federal President and come into force at the beginning of next year.
In the next few years, too, it will be important to continue to obtain adequate funding for the Bundeswehr. The Bundeswehr, based on its capability profile, must be in a position, and will remain so in the future, to achieve the capability goals and, as a reliable partner, to fulfill the international obligations it has entered into.
(Unofficial translation by Defense-Aerospace.com) (Source: defense-aerospace.com/German Ministry of Defense)
30 Nov 20. Baroness Goldie speech at 25th Conference of States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention. Baroness Goldie’s speech at the 25th Conference of States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention in The Hague.
Director-General, ladies and gentlemen,
Firstly, congratulations Mr Chairman on your election. Many thanks to you, Director-General Arias, and the OPCW Technical Secretariat, for your herculean efforts to support the convening of the Conference amidst the Covid-19 pandemic. Like you, I look forward to a time when more of us can gather in person.
2020 has been a challenging year on many fronts. I want to pay particular tribute to the OPCW Technical Secretariat staff who have adapted to deliver more capacity-building programmes on-line; sought to maintain a programme of industry inspections; and addressed the use of chemical weapons.
The international community’s revulsion at the use of chemical weapons remains undimmed. Great strides have been taken towards eliminating these abhorrent weapons, and the Chemical Weapons Convention is rightly heralded as a global success. But it is not a success that we can take for granted.
In recent years, we have seen chemical weapons used in Syria, Iraq, Malaysia, the UK, and now Russia. This poses a clear threat to the security of us all. It must be addressed.
The UK welcomed the publication of the first report from the Investigation and Identification team in April, a very robust document, and its clear findings. In July, the Executive Council set out very clear steps for Syria to take to come into compliance with the Convention. Regrettably, the Syrian regime’s response was to ignore the Executive Council and to continue a campaign vilifying the OPCW Technical Secretariat.
As recommended by the Council the issue will now be taken up at the Conference. The United Kingdom is co-sponsoring the draft decision condemning the Syrian regime’s use of chemical weapons and suspending certain rights and privileges, until they come into compliance with the Convention.
We cannot stand by in the face of incontrovertible evidence that chemical weapons have been used and that a State Party is flouting its obligations under the Convention. The decision proposes an approach which adheres closely to the provisions of the Convention, and we urge all States Parties to support it.
The UK was appalled to learn of a second confirmed use of a Novichok nerve agent to attack the Russian opposition figure, Alexey Navalny, in August. It is less than three years since my own country experienced the deadly consequences of the use of Novichok as a chemical weapon. We wish Mr Navalny well for a swift recovery.
Let us be clear, any poisoning with a nerve agent constitutes a use of a chemical weapon under the terms of the Chemical Weapons Convention. The Technical Secretariat has shared with States Parties the findings of independent sample analysis, confirming German, Swedish and French laboratory analysis. The evidence is undeniable.
The UK considers that there is no plausible explanation for Mr Navalny’s poisoning other than Russian involvement and responsibility for this appalling attack. We call on the Russian Federation to fully declare its Novichok programme to the OPCW.
Russia must fully explain to the Conference how a chemical weapon of a type developed by the Soviet Union came to be used against a Russian opposition politician on Russian territory. Those responsible must be held to account.
The OPCW must have the resources needed to fulfil its mandate. The United Kingdom will be supporting the Director-General’s proposed programme and budget for 2021, as recommended by the Executive Council. It is proportionate and reasonable whilst maintaining assessed contributions at their previous level. The budget will enable all capacity building programmes to be sustained and support the organisation’s resilience amidst the challenges posed by Covid-19. We encourage all states to join consensus on adopting the budget proposals.
The United Kingdom was pleased to be able to provide an additional £1.9m in voluntary contributions in 2020. This funding will help support the establishment of the new OPCW Chemistry and Technology Centre; build laboratory capacity in Africa and Latin America; build capacity in Africa to respond to the use of chemical weapons; as well as enhancing the OPCW’s cyber security and addressing Syria’s chemical weapons programme.
Recent events have highlighted the imperative of States Parties continuing to come together to reject all use of chemical weapons. We need to remember why we are all here. Upholding the Convention and supporting the work of the Technical Secretariat is central to safeguarding our collective security. It is as important now as it was when we first came together to implement the Convention and establish the Technical Secretariat.
Verifying the destruction of all declared stockpiles is now close to completion. The big challenge ahead is to address the undeclared chemical weapons programmes, the covert caches of lethal substances: only then will we fully realise the object and purpose of the Convention and consign these appalling weapons to the history books.
Thank you, Mr Chair. (Source: https://www.gov.uk/)
29 Nov 20. EU proposes new post-Trump alliance with U.S. in face of China threat: Financial Times. The European Union is seeking to forge a new alliance with the United States to bury the tensions of the Trump era and meet the challenges posed by China, the Financial Times reported on Sunday, citing a draft plan.
The plan proposes rebuilding ties with common fronts on issues from digital regulation to tackling the COVID-19 pandemic, the FT said.
Relations between the United States and Europe have been strained under President Donald Trump. The EU and most of the bloc’s states have congratulated President-elect Joe Biden.
“As open democratic societies and market economies, the EU and the US agree on the strategic challenge presented by China’s growing international assertiveness, even if we do not always agree on the best way to address this,” the FT cited the draft plan as saying.
The plan, which will be submitted for endorsement by national leaders at a meeting on Dec. 10-11, proposed the launch of a new transatlantic agenda in an EU-U.S. summit in the first half of 2021, the newspaper added.
Earlier in November, the EU imposed tariffs on up to $4bn U.S. imports in retaliation for U.S. subsidies for Boeing but said it was hopeful of an improvement in trade ties under Biden. reut.rs/3fUT8Re
EU trade chief Valdis Dombrovskis earlier said the European Commission, which coordinates trade policy for the 27 EU member states, had made some informal contacts with the Biden team. (Source: Reuters)
28 Nov 20. Airbus says extra defence spending announced by Government is vital to protect Britain’s satellites from attack. Airbus has said the extra defence spending announced by the Government this month is vital to protect Britain’s satellites from attack.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has faced difficult questions since revealing plans to add £16.5bn to the defence budget just as the Government battles the Covid crisis.
But Richard Franklin, managing director for defence and space at the UK arm of the aerospace giant, said as well as new warships over the next four years, the extra spending would go to vital funding for initiatives, which include a space centre.
He said hostile nations were regularly trying to attack British satellites in space, causing potential disruption to daily life.
Attacks on satellites can interrupt communications, navigation, TV and rural broadband. He added: ‘There are definite attacks on satellites to show [foreign powers’] capability.
‘In the same way that we see planes flying across the North Sea and just nudging UK airspace to see how quickly we respond, or sending ships through the Channel to see how we react, they are doing the same in space.’
Earlier this year, US and UK authorities accused Russia of using ‘in-orbit antisatellite weaponry’. (Source: Google/https://www.thisismoney.co.uk/)
26 Nov 20. Turkey does not expect U.S. sanctions over Russian S-400s under Biden. Turkey does not expect ties with the United States to be strained under President-elect Joe Biden and does not anticipate sanctions over its purchase of Russia S-400 defence systems, a senior official in President Tayyip Erdogan’s AK Party said.
Relations have been tense between Ankara and Washington over issues from policy toward Syria to the U.S. refusal to extradite a cleric Turkey blames for a 2016 coup attempt.
Turkey has relied on the good personal ties between Erdogan and U.S. President Donald Trump to smooth over divisions, but Biden is expected to be tougher on Turkey over foreign and defence policies and Ankara’s human rights record.
Ankara’s purchase last year of the S-400s, which are not compatible with NATO defences, raised the prospect of U.S. sanctions early next year if Congress approves a defence spending bill which the House of Representatives has already voted to include language requiring the president to sanction Turkey.
In an interview with Reuters, AK Party Deputy Chairman Numan Kurtulmus played down that prospect.
“The U.S. President will most likely watch the balance in the Middle East very carefully for U.S. interests, and will not want to continue the tense ties with Turkey,” Kurtulmus said.
“…I believe they will take positive steps in the future.”
Washington says the S-400s pose a threat to the capabilities of its F-35 stealth fighter jets and has removed Turkey from the jet programme where it was a manufacturer and buyer.
Ankara says the S-400s will not be integrated into NATO and has called for a joint working group to discuss U.S. concerns. Kurtulmus repeated that Turkey would not bow to pressure to return the Russian systems, or leave them unused.
“Sorry, but we didn’t procure these to hide them. We got them to meet Turkey’s security needs,” he said.
While Erdogan has downplayed the possible fallout from these sanctions and vowed counter-sanctions, he has also promised economic and judicial reforms, following an overhaul of Turkey’s economic leadership amid a plunge in the lira.
Asked if the reforms were aimed at easing tensions with the United States and the European Union, which will also evaluate possible sanctions against Ankara next month, Kurtulmus said the government would act only for Turkey’s interest.
“We act by thinking about what reforms we need, what steps to democratization will benefit our people and move on that path, not by thinking what act or rhetoric would please them,” he said. (Source: Reuters)
Founded in 1987, Exensor Technology is a world leading supplier of Networked Unattended Ground Sensor (UGS) Systems providing tailored sensor solutions to customers all over the world. From our Headquarters in Lund Sweden, our centre of expertise in Network Communications at Communications Research Lab in Kalmar Sweden and our Production site outside of Basingstoke UK, we design, develop and produce latest state of the art rugged UGS solutions at the highest quality to meet the most stringent demands of our customers. Our systems are in operation and used in a wide number of Military as well as Home land Security applications worldwide. The modular nature of the system ensures any external sensor can be integrated, providing the user with a fully meshed “silent” network capable of self-healing. Exensor Technology will continue to lead the field in UGS technology, provide our customers with excellent customer service and a bespoke package able to meet every need. A CNIM Group Company