• Kam. Jul 18th, 2024



Gaza War Spurs Surge in Terrorist Recruitment, Warns U.S. Intelligence


Jul 7, 2024
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Jakarta, Kowantaranews.com   -The ongoing Gaza war has dramatically increased terrorist recruitment efforts globally, according to U.S. intelligence reports. Brett Holmgren, the Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence and Research, has underscored this alarming trend, emphasizing the broader security implications for the United States and its allies.

The conflict, which escalated with the Hamas-led assault on Israel on October 7, has become a pivotal event for terrorist organizations. This attack, which resulted in significant casualties and hostages, has been seized upon by these groups as a prime recruiting tool. Holmgren notes that the assault “was, is, and will be a generational event that terrorist organizations in the Middle East and around the world use as a recruiting opportunity.”

In Europe, this surge in terrorist activity has already manifested in the arrests of individuals in Germany and the Netherlands, accused of plotting attacks on Jewish sites. These incidents are indicative of a wider trend of increased terrorist activities and planning inspired by the Gaza conflict.

As Holmgren prepares to transition to the role of acting director of the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), he reflects on his tenure overseeing the State Department’s intelligence bureau. This period has been marked by the simultaneous crises in Ukraine and Gaza, along with the rising threats from major global powers and terrorist organizations. Holmgren’s bureau, known for its prescient analyses, has consistently provided critical insights during these tumultuous times.

The bureau’s historical accuracy is well-documented. It warned in 1961 of the eventual failure of South Vietnam’s war against the Viet Cong due to the communist movement’s popularity in southern villages. In 2002, it correctly contested the CIA’s conclusion regarding Saddam Hussein’s alleged nuclear weapons program, a decision now recognized as one of the most significant intelligence missteps in U.S. history.

Holmgren cites the bureau’s unique capabilities in assessing factors beyond mere military strength, such as a nation’s will to fight and public sentiment. This approach proved crucial during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, where the bureau’s optimistic outlook on Ukraine’s resilience diverged from the prevailing intelligence community’s expectations.

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As Holmgren transitions to his new role at the NCTC, he will oversee a vast staff responsible for maintaining an authoritative database of known and suspected terrorists. This includes synthesizing intelligence from both domestic and international sources to provide actionable insights. The shift comes at a critical time, with mounting global tensions and a heightened threat environment exacerbated by the Gaza conflict.

The State Department has acknowledged the real and pervasive anger toward the United States due to its military support for Israel, especially given the significant civilian toll in Gaza. According to local health authorities, over 37,000 Palestinians have died in the conflict, a figure that has fueled widespread resentment and anti-American sentiment across the Muslim world.

While Holmgren refrained from commenting directly on the justification for U.S. weapons transfers to Israel, he emphasized that these sentiments are deeply reflected in the analysis conducted by U.S. intelligence. This analysis highlights the global ramifications of the October 7 attack and its enduring impact on perceptions of the United States in the region.

Despite the challenges, many foreign governments continue to seek U.S. engagement. This includes cooperation on intelligence and efforts to find solutions to ongoing conflicts. Holmgren points out that governments worldwide recognize the importance of U.S. involvement for regional stability and the future of the international order.

As Holmgren steps into his new role, former undersecretary of state for political affairs Victoria Nuland emphasizes his candid approach to advising top officials. Holmgren is known for providing unvarnished views on the complex ramifications of conflicts like the one in Gaza, ensuring that policymakers are fully informed about the on-the-ground realities and potential threats.

Holmgren’s tenure at the State Department officially ends on Friday, with career Foreign Service officer Lisa Kenna set to take over leadership of the intelligence bureau. A primary focus for the bureau under her leadership will be ensuring the security of the upcoming presidential election in November, a senior State Department official noted.

As Holmgren prepares to assume his responsibilities as acting director of the NCTC on July 18, the intelligence community faces significant challenges. The Gaza conflict’s role in bolstering terrorist recruitment underscores the intricate and volatile nature of global security threats. The U.S. must navigate these complexities, balancing support for its allies with the need to address the broader implications for international terrorism and regional stability.

The Gaza conflict has already had far-reaching effects beyond the immediate region. Israel’s fierce retaliation for the Hamas-led attack, which killed 1,200 people and resulted in over 240 hostages being taken, has led to one of the most destructive wars in recent memory. The humanitarian crisis in Gaza, with tens of thousands killed and half of the population plunged into “famine-like conditions,” has drawn international concern and criticism.

Despite these tensions, the U.S. remains a pivotal player on the global stage, with many countries still valuing its engagement and leadership. Holmgren’s experience and insights will be crucial as he steps into his new role, guiding the NCTC through these turbulent times.

In summary, the Gaza war has significantly amplified terrorist recruitment efforts, fueled by widespread anger at the U.S. support for Israel. As Brett Holmgren transitions to his new role at the National Counterterrorism Center, the U.S. intelligence community faces the daunting task of addressing the complex and evolving nature of global terrorist threats. The path forward will require careful navigation of international relations and a deep understanding of the multifaceted drivers of terrorism. *Mukroni

Source Washington Post

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