ISIS: Jihadi European Operatives’ Structure & "Endgame"

No one can claim to have a unique insight into the “endgame” of ISIS as far as Europe is concerned. I am not sure that ISIS “leadership” could give a well-rounded response to that query either. The stated aim of ISIS and its self-declared “caliphate” is the dissemination of their brand of radical Islam across the globe, to obviously include the “Islamification” of Europe.

The ISIS apparatus organises itself in a fashion that does not concern itself with national and regional politics but rather is in favour of an over-arching unifying call to all Muslims in the context of the Mahdi and the “end of days” concept. It is an apocalyptic creed.

The ISIS plan in Europe, if one can call it that, is characterised by opportunistic and ad-hoc activities which can therefore not necessarily be considered strategic or centrally planned and therefore are incredibly difficult to effectively predict and prevent.

Despite the ISIS cell structures exposed after the Hebdo, Bataclan, Zaventem and Maelbeek atrocities – the previous MO and likely future continued approach of the group will be to appeal to “lone wolf” (LW) type operatives for the majority of their “ops”.

The el Bakraoui Brothers & Abdeslam 

The Zaventem and Maelbeek attacks were allegedly fast-tracked in response to the arrest of Salah Abdeslam and his apparent co-operation with the authorities. The decision to accelerate the schedule was made unilaterally by the cell, not ISIS leadership, if correspondence later found on a laptop apparently belonging to Ibrahim el Bakraoui can be believed.

Sven Mary, Abdeslam’s lawyer, will try to have his eventual sentence reduced on the grounds that he is/was (before the Brussels attacks) acting as an informant – although obviously nothing he told interrogators prevented the Brussels atrocities.

While ISIS cells will carry out “spectaculars” like Brussels and Paris again, the intervening periods are more likely to consist of types similar to Omar Abdel Hamid El-Hussein in Copenhagen (Feb 2015), Rafik Mohamad Yousef in Berlin (Sep 2015) , Tarek Belgacem in Paris (Jan 2016) and several other LWs who have carried out attacks in France, Serbia, Hungary, Denmark and Poland in the last twelve months which were later explicitly claimed by ISIS or which individuals were later found to have been affiliated or sworn allegiance to the group or carried out the attacks in support of ISIS objectives.

Omar Abdel Hamid El-Hussein

 Rafik Mohamad Yousef
Tarek Belgacem

Despite the LW nature of these attacks they can be just as devastating. And act as a constant reminder of the ever-present threat that now exists from radical Islamists across the continent.

ISIS of course has its origins in the Sunni insurgency following the invasion of Iraq by the George W. Bush administration. This initially gave rise to Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), led by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, which eventually split from core Al Qaeda, in part because of its shocking violence towards other Muslims.

In “The Management of Savagery” a book published over a decade ago by AQI leaders a strategy was laid out that suggested the use of spectacular acts of brutality and displaying them across media platforms in order to goad Western powers into ground wars in the Middle East.

ISIS, like AQI before it, includes in its highest ranks former Baathist members of Saddam Hussein’s military apparatus, who joined the militant group after the Bush administration’s de-Baathification policies and after the U.S.-backed sectarian regime in Baghdad proved unwilling to include Sunnis in government.

This took notice of the jihadi lessons learned in the guerrilla war against the Soviets in Afghanistan in the 1980s. By employing the tactic of high impact terrorism in Europe some observers suggest that ISIS is seeking to galvanize opinion that will ultimately result in European powers taking a hardline interventionist approach in the Middle East.

ISIS believe that the resulting intensified air war or ground invasions to battle ISIS in their heartlands, as reaction to attacks in Europe, would be incredibly costly for any coalition and has a high likelihood of yielding counterproductive blowback and unintended consequences for Europe.

Furthermore it plays to the ISIS narrative of the Anti-Islam Crusader mentality that they claim is prevalent in Europe and as such increase recruitment to their cause locally and internationally.

At present the ISIS aim in Europe is to intimidate, disrupt and demoralize and in the process recruit more operatives – cells or LWs. Increasingly spectacular attacks followed by reprisal will attract further disenfranchised recruits.

Whatever way you choose to describe ISIS actions in Europe – opportunistic, tactical, strategic – the intended result is the same – polarize opinion in Europe resulting in the further marginalization of Muslims and Muslim communities. This can only be good for their “cause”.

Didier Leroy, is a leading terrorism researcher at the Royal Military Academy of Belgium and an adjunct at the Free University of Brussels. When asked what did the Brussels attacks reveal about the aims of ISIS in Europe he said:

“The Brussels attacks have been, without much surprise, claimed and celebrated by ISIS supporters. Ideologically, the symbolic dimension of the targets—the Brussels international airport, less than 5 kilometers away from NATO headquarters, and the Maelbeek subway station, near the main institutions of the European Union—reflects ISIS’s dual view of the world: the struggle of a Muslim oppressed world against a Western oppressing world.

At the level of the modus operandi, we find several common features shared by the French and Belgian commandos: relatively small cells of determined individuals hitting as many “soft” (civilian) targets as possible. Historically there are almost no links between Belgium and Syria or Iraq. I am still rather skeptical about the depth of structural connections between these young jihadi candidates and ISIS, which is a Middle Eastern phenomenon in the first place (and the so-called Caliphate has regional priorities before global ones).

I see ISIS as a “heterarchical” organization, characterized by an undisputed leader—the self-proclaimed Caliph Ibrahim—but also by a shared decisional process. The ISIS central command in Rakka could be regarded as a vertical entity, which becomes more “horizontal” when it reaches the external layer of foreign recruits. There certainly is a central, top-down policy calling on fighters to hit enemies of the “Islamic State project” wherever possible, but the when, the how, etcetera, are left to the initiative of individuals or small groups—it’s up to them to decide the best way to proceed. Most of these recruits obviously know their countries of origin well, have grown up with the Internet and the images of 9/11 in their minds, and are determined to “do better” than old-fashioned al-Qaeda.”

Marc Trevidic: “ISIS using lone wolf attackers in Europe as smoke screen for larger plots”

In another take on ISIS plans for Europe the following article appeared in The Telegraph on 29 MARCH 2016 • 1:39PM.

ISIS is flooding Europe with low-level, unsophisticated attack plans to swamp intelligence agencies while larger atrocities are secretly plotted, a senior counter-terrorism judge has warned. The terror group has had Europe in its sights for up to four years, it is feared, and sent dozens of jihadists back to carry out lone-wolf attacks. “It served to put all of our agencies on edge. Just like a smoke screen, it allowed them to calmly prepare,” said Marc Trevidic, who retired as France’s chief counter-terrorism judge last year. The offensive was orchestrated by Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the Belgian mastermind behind the Paris atrocity in November, which left 130 dead.

Abaaoud, who was killed in the weeks after the attacks, is feared to have been at the head of a 90-strong cell of jihadists spread across Europe. It has also emerged he has persuaded some fanatics to return to attack Europe by convincing them it is better that facing the horrors of the war in Syria, according to files seen by the New York Times. Prior to his death, he was a senior figure in a unit within Islamic State in Iraq and Levant, tasked with directing attacks on European soil. Fighters are sent back and told to decide their own targets so limit the chances of plots being traced back to the unit.

END.

Weak-willed West needs to aggressively assert its values

The bullets were still flying. People were still being killed. Yet even as the atrocity in Paris was unfolding in front of a horrified live TV audience, the appeasers, the justifiers and the outright sympathisers were quick to rush to the ramparts to engage in their own uniquely warped form of victim blaming .
This wasn’t a savage assault on the Western way of life perpetrated by Medieval savages. It was a response to the nasty West and our interfering ways. As Mick Wallace infamously put it: “So terrible for the victims but when is France going to stop it’s (sic) role in the militarisation of the planet?”
A tweet more suited to a 15-year-old kid who has just read Noam Chomsky and now insists on viewing everything through the prism of reflexive anti-Western sentiment that permeates the intellectual and political elites of the West; it showcased a perverse cultural self-loathing which rarely places the responsibility for Islamist crimes on the Islamist killers.
Wallace was hardly unique in this sentiment and it was hardly a surprise that Clare Daly, Clyde to his Bonny, would immediately endorse her friend’s idiotic message.
Wallace and Daly’s tweets were made notable only by the fact that they are both elected representatives of our national parliament, but anyone who has given their respective careers even a cursory glance would have known to expect no better.
They were not alone in their opinion. By midnight on Friday, ‘The Guardian’ was running pieces warning against Islamophobia and fretting about increased attacks on Muslims (there have been none). Salon used the attack to blame the Republicans and Fox News and we saw the emergence of ‘grief hipsters’ who tut-tutted at anybody who was shocked by the Paris attacks because, y’know, there was a suicide bombing in Beirut a few days earlier and people weren’t as upset by that as they were by the events on Friday night. Then we were bombarded by chin-stroking poseurs telling us that not all Muslims were terrorists and the rise of Islamic extremism was a direct consequence of disastrous interventionist policies in the Middle East and culturally insensitive laws here in Europe.
We were told that this form of genocidal fascism is merely the last resort of an oppressed minority.
It’s all rubbish.
The cause of Islamic extremism is Islamic extremism. Everything else is just a convenient detail for the eunuchs in the West to justify something that baffles them.
Isil is merely the logical conclusion of a brand of expansionist, murderously intolerant Islam which makes the Khmer Rouge look like a book club. In fact, Isil’s own brand of cultural Year Zero owes more to the Khmer than it does to the Nazis, who are the most frequently used historical analogy.
Take all the usual weasel words and justifications for the actions of Isil and discount them as reasons for these attacks. We could remove all kuffar from Muslim lands and bulldoze Israel into the sea and it still wouldn’t placate Isil.
After all, did they blame the Palestinian situation for the attack on the Eagles of Death Metal gig? No, they targeted that show because it was: “A place where hundreds of pagans gathered for a concert of prostitution and vice.” Not only that, but they used religious texts to support and justify their attack.
Moderate Muslims may not like the way their religion is being used, but it is being used nonetheless and the supporters of Isil would be quick to argue that, actually, the ‘moderates’ are the ones who are betraying the faith.
These are people who still execute anyone accused of sorcery, as do their fellow travellers in explicitly Islamic terror groups such as al-Qa’ida, the Taliban, Boko Haram and the al-Nusra Front.
This is the aspect that Europe’s Left is too terrified to confront – Isil and their supporters don’t hate us because of geopolitical differences. They hate us because we don’t share their religion and they want to bring everyone back to the Bronze Age.
Unreasonable, but not irrational, there is a logic to their actions which, while undoubtedly twisted, is easily understood – convert or die. That remains a concept which a weak-willed West, with all its visceral self-hatred and internecine bickering, is ill-suited to fight.
We can fret about the potential rise of Islamic extremism in this country and fool ourselves into thinking that we are immune. But why should we be uniquely exempt from other European countries?
Extremism doesn’t even have to be violent to have an impact. Extremism can be seen in Muslim clerics who, post-‘Charlie Hebdo’, threatened prosecution of anyone who reprinted the offending cartoons.
Extremism is seen on Irish campuses where Shariah-spouting whackjobs are given a round of applause while anyone espousing liberal, Western values is shouted down as a racist – assuming they are allowed to speak in the first place.
The terrifying truth is not the strength of Isil’s convictions, but the weakness of ours.
Put simply, they want it more than we do and until we start to aggressively assert Western values in Western countries, is it any wonder that they despise us?
Frankly, I can’t say I blame them.
Acknowledgements: Lifted in its entirety from an article in The Irish Independent by Ian O’Doherty at 

So you "Stand with France"?

Please note: This article was inspired by the LinkedIn post by Peter Coffman, Student at Command and General Staff College

What happened in Paris, France last week was an act of war by Radical Islam against the West. A declaration made by ISIS on behalf of myriad well known terrorist groupings, their franchisees and all their adherents (a significant portion of whom live in the West).

This is not a well defined enemy denoted by geographic borders with a clear set of strategic targets to be overrun to ensure their defeat. The enemy and the objectives which motivate them are mind bending in their complexity and they are global, see a small subset below:

Abu Sayyaf, Philippines; Al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya, Egypt; Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, Gaza Strip and West Bank; Al-Shabaab, Somalia; Al-Qaeda, Global; Ansar al-Islam, Iraq; Armed Islamic Group (GIA), Algeria; Boko Haram, Nigeria; Caucasus Emirate (IK), Russia; East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), China; Egyptian Islamic Jihad, Egypt; Great Eastern Islamic Raiders’ Front (IBDA-C), Turkey; Hamas, Gaza Strip and West Bank; Harkat-ul-Mujahideen al-Alami, Pakistan; Hezbollah, Lebanon; Islamic Movement of Central Asia, Central Asia; Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, Uzbekistan; Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), Iraq and Syria; Jaish-e-Mohammed, Pakistan and Kashmir; Jamaat Ansar al-Sunna, Iraq; Jemaah Islamiyah, Indonesia; Lashkar-e-Taiba, Pakistan and Kashmir; Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, Pakistan; Moro Islamic Liberation Front, Philippines; Moroccan Islamic Combatant Group, Morocco and Europe; Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Gaza Strip and West Bank; Tawhid and Jihad, Iraq.

And now, caught in a moment of outrage, the public demand action and ask “how has it come to this?”

People would do well to remember the following:

1. You think something should be done about ISIS. Its high time, right? So who is going to do it? You? Probably not. Less than 1% of America joined up to fight in the last 20 years. So remember what it means when you say “we” should go to war. You are sending others.

2. So they go … then two months later, you are into the latest that the Kardashian’s are doing. You lose interest. The West does not have the stomach to see it through and leaves early, or the public hamstring the military into unachievable political goals for the sake of appeasement (which never worked before) or (insert random thing here).

3. While the military are there, they will need things. Things like money and lots of it to bring the military to where it needs to be to wage effective war after a decade of cutbacks.  Why? Because the politicians you voted for have stripped down the military and Army to balance the budget (instead of removing funds from more logical areas). The US military was supposed to be able to fight two wars in two places at once. Now they cannot.

4. To tackle the enemy within – Western governments will need greater central powers – mass surveillance, erosion of civil liberties, closure of borders, restrictions on free travel, checkpoints and so on. Powers that must be surrendered by the military and the state when the fight is over. Safeguarding the future of our open societies post conflict is as important as defeating the jihadists thugs.

5. While war is waged, people will die. You may become upset that civilians died, or soldiers, or cats and dogs, or (insert random thing here). Really? It is war. Have realistic expectations and understand that collateral damage is a fact of life during conflict.

6. Free speech for those ISIS apologists, recruiters, illegal immigrant facilitators, anti-war movements and so on must be suppressed during this time. You are either on our side or you are the enemy. These are the standards that have always applied when a nation is fighting for its survival. You cannot “half” wage war.

7. ISIS is one thing, but Russia, China and Iran have been emboldened by the disastrous foreign policy of the Obama administration. The West does not have enough manpower to tackle these adversaries and a global terrorist network – be careful what you mandate your elected representatives to do during this emotional time but most importantly accept that your direct participation may be required.

8. Pay attention and stay informed. You know more about your favourite football team or movie star than you do about how Radical Islam has been allowed to flourish on your doorstep and within your communities. If they succeed – football and the movies is not on the Radical Islamists Sharia playbook of acceptable pastimes for you.

9. The geopolitical imperatives surrounding the problems in Iraq, Egypt, Syria, Afghanistan and Libya and the national security impact of the refugee crisis in Europe escape the vast majority of the public. Merkel, Pope Francis and other ultra liberals have compromised your safety and will continue to do so unless they are halted. Get educated on the issues and the real threat that Radical Islam poses to your way of life and allow yourself to make better decisions and comment intelligently without pandering to the most simplistic ultra-liberal lowest common denominator that has landed you in this mess in the first place.

10. And after all of that, if you decide to hobble the military politically and socially instead of concentrating on allowing them to train for and execute a war in a strategic manner, then when the next Paris occurs (and it will – soon and on an ongoing basis) then consider yourself as culpable in this as those crazed radical islamist jihadi gangs who slaughtered hundreds of innocents last week while they sat unarmed in the theatre, restaurant or bar.

Get some perspective. 

Rebuttal to Comment on the LinkedIn Forum: Counter Terrorism & Geopolitical Security

Rebuttal to Comment made by NAME WITHHELD on the Counter Terrorism & Geopolitical Security Forum on LinkedIn regarding TMG Corporate Services’ blog post Schengen: Compromising Europe’s internal security by “democratic consent” Authors: Graham Penrose, Owner, TMG Corporate Services & Mr. Douglas Straun, Senior Risk Analyst & Defence Consultant  
Thank you Sir for your opinion and comments – please allow me to address them in the order in which they are made and to also rebut the conclusion which you have arrived at. 
Before doing so I would like to state that I find your commentary offensive – as it does not attempt to debate the issue but offers sweeping unsubstantiated generalisations, introduces emotion, concludes with an insult and in its entirety calls into question my integrity and that of my team: 
1. Your comment in quotes: “This is really an unqualified opinion based on simple assumptions. The results in my opinion are inaccurate.” 
Our Response: In the first instance this is a blog post and as stated in the body of the post is one of a series of posts to follow – each subsequent post elaborating and extrapolating on the statements made in the current post and offering evidence to prove the veracity of what we have written. It is not nor does it purport to be an academic treatise drawing the premise from introduction through all stages of proof with references ending in a comprehensive set of findings and conclusions – that is because – as we clearly stated within the body of the post (which I am not sure that you actually read in full based on your comments):
How much more destructive, effective and demoralising will these new attacks be when executed by seasoned extremists, tested fighters and ideologues who are natives of the regions in question sent directly from the heart of the conflict in Syria & Iraq, who have likely seen family and friends die during the recent conflicts and who have been tutored personally by the extremist leadership of these organisations? As opposed to first or second generation Western European radical Islamists who learned their trade by distance education, short visits to training camps and likely had no personal tragedies to call upon to escalate and motivate their actions and extremism in the name of Radical Islam. A bold claim – the evidence for which TMG Corporate Services holds and will publish in a series of blog posts over the coming weeks and months including names, locations, former affiliations, current affiliations, current aliases and likely objectives.
2. Your comment in quotes: “Remember any conclusion depends on the validity of the evidence. In this case we are establishing if groups of terrorists are infiltrating into Europe hidden among refugees. The purpose of these terrorists is to establish sleeper networks and prepare for armed attacks. As there is no evidence to support this we have to evaluate if it is possible and as easy as it seems.” 
Our Response: See (1) above and also please be aware that we are not in the business of conducting amateurish analysis and therefore I can assure you that this introductory post is a “scene setter” for the evidence, which we possess, to validate the assertions that we are making. This evidence is not Google search based desk jockey academic theory but field based and first hand experience combined with accounts from eye witnesses and parties to the planning of this process which we discuss in our post.
3. Your comment in quotes: “As there is no factual data we have to judge whether these assumption are reasonable. The first consideration is will the genuine refugees protect the identity of any terrorists or foreign fighter. Remember these refugees are not unknown individuals. They are made up of families and friends from the same region. In most cases all running from ISIS. The majority will be in non-combatant professions or academics. Will they jeopardise there safety for a terrorist?” 
Our Response: We cannot allow you to make the allegations that you have made about our lack of evidence and then not challenge you on this statement especially “The majority will be in non-combatant professions or academics.” On what basis do you come to this conclusion? 
It is our experience that you are incorrect. With respect to the rest of the content of this section of your argument I would offer you the following links relating to a recent high profile incident involving an alleged legitimate “refugee” to refute your belief that those travelling with extremists are all aware of each others previous history and affiliations in-country – please see https://www.rt.com/news/316124-refugee-camerawoman-kicked-militant/ and http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/200921#.VgIGn2Ttmko and http://rudaw.net/english/middleeast/syria/20092015 . 
The assertions that you make in this section of your comment – even in the absence of the example in the links above – would leave even a credulous individual having difficulty accepting that extremists travelling in the company of genuine refugees would be as easily identifiable as you claim. 
It is akin to claiming that a bank clerk from North London would instantly recognise an Islamic extremist from South London while travelling on the same tube in the underground. Really? – you feel that the identity of every radicalised Islamist is known by all and sundry in their company? 
Additionally, a cursory glance at the make up of the refugee groups in Macedonia, Croatia and Hungary – not the images you view on TV which concentrate on women and young children – but the views we have seen on the ground show large groups of unaccompanied men travelling in hoodies and face masks and not family units as you assert. This is in part evidenced in the videos we embedded within our post.  
4. Your comment in quotes: “Next- when refugees enter a country they undergo a structured examination to asses credibility. The primary investigation includes interview’s by academic experts, country ands language analysts, security and religious experts mainly from the claimants country of origin. In effect they undergo a security assessment, which under current policies a person with any discrepancies can be detained indefinitely. If accepted they are effectively on parole with weekly visits and are monitored. So can a foreign fighter claim to be Syrian pass these interviews?” 
Our Response: This Sir is entirely inaccurate – even a novice observer of recent events is aware that the Italians ceased six months ago to register rescued migrants from boating disasters in the Mediterranean and rather – because of a lack of assistance from their EU colleagues – unilaterally decides to allow the rescued migrants to choose their reception country and register at time of entry with the authorities there. 
At least there was a modicum of traceability surrounding that process. However – migrants and refugees are currently passing unregistered and unidentified from Serbia and Croatia in to the EU and onwards. 
Are you seriously suggesting that any sleeper / infiltrator is then going to proceed directly to a registration point and submit themselves to the processes you describe. If they even existed, which they do not in the form you describe, the backlog would mean lengthy delays in processing. 
And are the migrants being held in secure camps on arrival in the EU in the country of their choice – no they are not Sir. Therefore I submit to you that this section of your argument is nonsensical notwithstanding the fact that within the current chaos any sleeper / infiltrator – even the most inexperienced – would have little difficulty avoiding detection and moving through Europe at will and undetected or even identified. 
5. Your comment in quotes: “The next assumption is there is a terrorist reception infrastructure? Also safe houses with secure communications, arms and equipment waiting for these terrorists. ????? The more we drill down we tend to see this article is guesswork resulting in scaremongering.” 
Our Response: Guesswork? – your entire comment is a series of fictional statements. Yes, there is a “terrorist reception infrastructure” to coin your phrase and it does provide accommodation, logistical support, planning capabilities and a supply of weaponry. 
With respect to the secure communications – why don’t you google some of these keywords below and educate yourself regarding how advanced those comms capabilities are and have been for quite some time now and which have evolved significantly – in terms of eavesdropping counter measures and engineered backdoor detection – since the revelations by traitorous Snowden and Assange. Google the following:  
1. Al-Fajr Technical Committee 
2. Al-Fajr Android App For Secure Communication
3. Al-Fajr Announces New Website 
4. Al-Qaeda’s Embrace Of Encryption Technology 
5. The Impact Of Edward Snowden on Terrorist Comms Tech
6. The Cyber & Jihad Lab – Presented by MEMRI
7. Inspire Asrar Instructions
8. How Al-Qaeda Uses Encryption Post-Snowden (Part 1)
9. How Al-Qaeda Uses Encryption Post-Snowden (Part 2)
To conclude – the “scaremongering” that you accuse us of is clearly based on an ill thought out set of assumptions and yours are the words of a naive and inexperienced individual regarding these matters. 
Your veneer thin assessment of our post and your knowledge of current jihadi affairs and strategy is the type of misguided and uninformed mindset that will allow these people to succeed in their objectives if there were not others more qualified than you taking the required actions.  
I will leave you with a quote from Charles Bukowski – “The problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubts, while the stupid ones are full of confidence.” 

Avoiding the Creation of a 21st Century “Stasi” in France

France has powerful intelligence agencies and highly sophisticated capabilities. However, similar to all Western agencies they do not possess the requisite legal powers, manpower or resources to conduct highly intrusive and persistent surveillance of thousands of individuals, many of whom will have never been charged with a crime.
Even if they did, the public attitude to and willingness to support blanket surveillance of large segments of the population, plays to the fears of many who see in that action echoes of George Orwell’s dystopian concept of “thought crime” surveillance.
The challenge is to identify which networks of individuals deserve further attention. In light of recent events, the upswell of public outrage at the Hebdo attacks, the mass migration to Southern Europe of refugees fleeing the conflicts in the Middle East, North Africa and Sub Saharan Africa as well as Eritrea, Somalia and Yemen and a general perception in France that French society is under attack from within, would it be possible to speculate that the French are unwittingly considering the creation of the own Stasi? Albeit in a more benign guise and with best intentions. 


The Ministerium für Staatssicherheit (MfS) or The Ministry for State Security commonly known as the Stasi was the official state security service of the German Democratic Republic (GDR), colloquially known as East Germany. The service was headquartered in East Berlin and has been described as one of the most effective and repressive intelligence and secret police agencies to have ever existed.
One of its main tasks was spying on the population, mainly through a vast network of citizens turned informants, and fighting any opposition by overt and covert measures, including hidden psychological destruction of dissidents. Without the aid of modern technology the Stasi in East Germany ran a network of over 2,000,000 informants and ostensibly had an entire nation under active surveillance and effectively so.
The Buttes-Chaumont Network & the Charlie Hebdo Watershed
The protagonists of the Charlie Hebdo attacks were known not just to the French authorities but to other European authorities and their counterparts in the United States. It is well known and has been widely reported that one had travelled to Yemen over a three-year period and another had been convicted of earlier seeking to travel to Iraq and that they were both associated with long-established European jihadist networks.
Cherif was part of the “Buttes-Chaumont network” that assisted would-be jihadists fight for al-Qaeda in Iraq after the invasion in 2003. He was detained in 2005 just as he was about to board a plane for Syria which at that time was a gateway for jihadists looking to fight US troops in Iraq. The Kouachi brothers had allegedly attended a mosque near Buttes-Chaumont, an area of northern Paris, where they came under the influence of a radical imam called Farid Benyettou.
Following Cherif’s imprisonment between January 2005 and October 2006, he first came into contact with the man who would become his mentor – Djamel Beghal. Beghal was sentenced to 10 years in prison in France in 2001 for his part in a plot to bomb the US embassy in Paris. In 2008, Cherif was again jailed for three years for his role in sending militants to Iraq, 18 months of the sentence was suspended.
AQII Flag

                                        
Another key figure in the Buttes-Chaumont network was Boubaker al-Hakim, a militant linked to al-Qaeda in Iraq. al-Hakim also recruited militants to fight in Falluja, an Iraqi city that became an al-Qaeda stronghold in 2004. 

al-Hakim is also wanted in Tunisia over the murder of two Tunisian left-wing opposition politicians in 2013 – he claimed the murders in the name of the Islamic State militant group. A French court jailed al-Hakim for seven years in 2008.
That action appeared to break up the jihadist network that Beghal, al-Hakim and Cherif Kouachi had created.
In 2010 Cherif Kouachi was named in connection with a plot to assist in the escape of another Islamist, Smain Ait Ali Belkacem, from jail. 

A plot hatched by Beghal, according to French anti-terror police. 

Belkacem used to be in the outlawed Algerian Islamic Armed Group (GIA) and was jailed for life in 2002 for a Paris metro station bombing in 1995 which injured 30 people.
Original GIA Flag

                       

AQAP Flag

The older Kouachi undertook military training in Yemen in 2011, where he met the influential preacher Anwar al-Awlaki. 

Awlaki was a senior figure in al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). 

The branch of al-Qaeda that has proven most effective at placing bombs on Western-bound aircraft, and which claimed responsibility for the Hebdo attacks.
It is important to remember, however, that thousands of people would have been connected to these very same networks, some of which are well over a decade old. On top of this, more than 1,200 French nationals – a large proportion of whom would be previously unknown – have travelled to Iraq and Syria to fight with Islamic State in the last few years. About 350 have returned according to unofficial figures.


The “Five Eyes”
The French authorities and their foreign counterparts, especially those in Yemen and the US, shared intelligence that might, taken together, have thrown up insight that the individual portions could not. One report suggests that France de-prioritized the Kouachi brothers because Yemen was a US priority, whereas American officials left it to the French.
France is not a member of the US-led Five Eyes intelligence alliance – a fact which may have contributed to the threat detection failure that led to the recent attacks.
The “Five Eyes”, often abbreviated as “FVEY”, refer to an intelligence alliance comprising Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States. These countries are bound by the multilateral UKUSA Agreement, a treaty for joint cooperation in signals intelligence.

Click image to enlarge

The origins of the FVEY can be traced back to World War II, when the Atlantic Charter was issued by the Allies to lay out their goals for a post-war world. During the course of the Cold War, the ECHELON surveillance system was initially developed by the FVEY to monitor the communications of the former Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc, although it allegedly was later used to monitor billions of private communications worldwide.
In the late 1990s, the existence of ECHELON was disclosed to the public, triggering a major debate in the European Parliament and, to a lesser extent, the United States Congress. As part of efforts in the ongoing War on Terror since 2001, the FVEY further expanded their surveillance capabilities, with much emphasis placed on monitoring the World Wide Web.
The former NSA contractor Edward Snowden described the Five Eyes as a “supra-national intelligence organisation that doesn’t answer to the known laws of its own countries”. Documents leaked by Snowden in 2013 revealed that the FVEY have been spying on one another’s citizens and sharing the collected information with each other in order to circumvent restrictive domestic regulations on surveillance of citizens.
In 2013, documents leaked by the former NSA contractor Edward Snowden revealed the existence of numerous surveillance programs jointly operated by the Five Eyes. The following list includes several notable examples reported in the media:


  • PRISM – Operated by the NSA together with the GCHQ and the ASD
  • XKeyscore – Operated by the NSA with contributions from the ASD and the GCSB
  • Tempora – Operated by the GCHQ with contributions from the NSA
  • MUSCULAR – Operated by the GCHQ and the NSA
  • STATEROOM – Operated by the ASD, CIA, CSEC, GCHQ, and NSA
Despite the impact of Snowden’s disclosures, some experts in the intelligence community believe that no amount of global concern or outrage will affect the Five Eyes relationship, which to this day remains the most extensive known espionage alliance in history.
The Emergence of “Boutique” Terrorism
Recently extremists groups based in conflict hotspots have called on sympathisers in Western countries to take the initiative and plan and execute terrorist actions locally with little or no external assistance.
Simplistically many people tend to seek to place terrorist attacks into one of two categories: low-tech, independent operations by individuals (“lone wolf”) or small groups (“wolf packs”), or complex and large scale operations resourced and commanded by organizations.
The last six months has seen a profusion of low-level attacks across Europe and North America, giving the impression that even slightly larger attacks – involving higher-calibre weaponry or better preparation – must represent formal plots by established terrorist groups.
In the Hebdo case, the attackers themselves claimed to have been sent by AQAP, which itself claimed to have “directed” the plot. But we should treat this claim sceptically. As the Australian counterterrorism analyst Leah Farrall reminds us, the al-Qaeda operatives who attacked US embassies in 1998 were given only general instructions to strike Americans.
Al-Qaeda’s leadership learned of the targets while the attack was under way. This is closer to inspiration or encouragement than direction or command. This was the model in the Paris attacks, particularly as AQAP’s past plots have been built around advanced bombs rather than the use of gunmen. Amidst the rise of IS, al-Qaeda – and especially its Yemeni branch – remains a potent threat for this type of action.


However, the Paris attacks are not a new kind of terrorism. The use of gunmen, the seizure of hostages, the focus on screen-time rather than death toll, and the role played by complex networks of individuals cutting across different countries and groups have been features of attacks over the past 50 years. The new challenge isn’t the prioritisation of threats, but the growing mismatch between the number of potential threats and limited resources.
Cell” Structures & Suicidal Tendencies
Many of the recent plots appear to have been developed without foreign direction which minimises the possibility of eavesdropping. The concept of the “terrorist cell” developed in the 1970s to counter the prevailing intelligence gathering techniques at that time were difficult, if not bordering on the impossible, to detect.
For example in the 1970’s the IRA overhauled its internal structures, greatly reducing the numbers of volunteers who engaged in attacks and organising them into closed cells, or “active service units”, so that the information any one IRA man would have about the organisation would be limited to five or six people.
This process reduced the numbers of active IRA personnel greatly. At its peak in the early 1970s, the Belfast Brigade had had up to 1,500 members. By the early 1980s, this had been reduced to about 100 men in active service units and another 200-300 in supporting roles.
The cell structure also increased the control of the Brigade’s leadership over its volunteers, since all weapons were held by one “quartermaster” attached to each unit and could only be used for operations authorised by the Brigade leadership.
The objective was to preserve high value operatives and their skills for continued and ongoing use against their targets.
With the emergence of the extremist jihadi threat in Europe in recent years and the seemingly vast pool of resources from which these groups can draw from – the “cell” structure is used to avoid detection pre-event but not so much concerned with the preservation of the “cell”, “lone wolf” or “wolf packs” post event. 

Manpower has ceased to be an issue.
Where plots use more easily available resources, such as firearms rather than sophisticated explosives, then the challenges faced in implementing a robust prevention strategy are exponentially greater.
The reasons for the decision by the French intelligence services to lift their surveillance of Said Kouachi after his return from Yemen is not clearly known. Likely it was based on balancing the perceived threat from Kouachi versus other competing threats and was also informed by what initial surveillance of him had yielded post his return to France.
It is a matter of the size of the competing needles in a very large haystack rather than an example of an intelligence failure or a systemic problem with the tactics being employed by the French authorities.
Information Myopia
Intelligence agencies globally suffer from a modern problem best defined as “information myopia”*. There is simply too much data available from too many sources much of which is of questionable value but all of which ends up in the same “cube” available for analysis. Extending the remit and sources that are under the surveillance lens will only exacerbate this problem and will not necessarily lead to improved security outcomes.
If the “cube” of data to be analysed is vast then the sieving process that is employed is the key to the success of the analysis. This sieving process though is currently largely based on keywords or watchwords and prone to error. Unless a would be attacked is incredibly naïve then most of this processes effectiveness is rendered useless.
Pattern analysis too has its pitfalls – simply because someone is a frequent visitor to sites that would seem to indicate extremism does not make them an extremist. What about researchers, journalists, the genuinely curious?
There is reason to think that the French failed to get some information they ought to have had. The Kouachi brothers had succeeded in building up a cache of arms in their apartment. Neighbours discovered that cache, but they were then intimidated into silence.
This, however, might represent more a failure of local policing – and poor relations between the local Muslim community and the authorities – than national intelligence. Nevertheless, assault rifles and rocket launchers are not easily available in Western Europe, and the French authorities could reasonably be expected to have had a tighter grip on the supply networks.

* The terms “myopia” and “myopic” (or the common terms “short-sightedness” or “short-sighted”, respectively) have been used metaphorically to refer to cognitive thinking and decision making that is narrow in scope or lacking in foresight or in concern for wider interests or for longer-term consequences. It is often used to describe a decision that may be beneficial in the present, but detrimental in the future, or a viewpoint that fails to consider anything outside a very narrow and limited range. Hyperopia, the biological opposite of myopia, may also be used metaphorically for a value system or motivation that exhibits “farsighted” or possibly visionary thinking and behavior; that is, emphasizing long-term interests at the apparent expense of near-term benefit.

What is the French word for PRISM?

Last December (2014) the French government published a decree enacting an internet surveillance law that was passed a year before. The measure allowed authorities ‘administrative access to connection data,’ and came into force on the 1st January 2015. The decree, providing French officials with access to data from a wide range of telecom services in the country – including phone calls, text messages and internet access by both private users and operators – was published over the Christmas holidays, France’s Le Point reported. 
The legislation was passed in December last year, and was a surprise to many as less than two months before it was approved, the country’s president François Hollande – during a phone conversation with Barack Obama – expressed his “deep disapproval” at revelations that the NSA had been intercepting millions of phone calls in France, having described it as an “unacceptable practice.” 
Notwithstanding that comment from 1st January 2015, the French government itself is in control of its residents’ connection data, with an “interdepartmental group” being in charge of security interceptions and administrative access, gathering requests for certain data and obtaining it from operators. Departments, authorized to issue data requests, include several branches within the Interior Ministry, the Ministry of Defense and a directorate at the Ministry of Finance. 
Laws, empowering state officials to monitor the population by means of communication and information access, have been passed under the flag of protection from the terrorist threat. Powers, granted to the government by the new surveillance law, have been met with protests in France. Before it was eventually enacted, authorities set up an oversight body – National Control Commission for Security Interceptions (CNCIS), which will supervise governmental data control powers. Although it is allowed to oversee documents and information asked to be disclosed to the authorities, it has no power to sanction anyone, or alert any third party of an alleged abuse.
“THIS IS NOT A FRENCH PATRIOT ACT” – Prime Minister Manuel Valls
From the 13th April 2015 French lawmakers spent four days debating a controversial anti-terrorism bill that, if passed, would dramatically expand the government’s surveillance powers. 


The law’s backers describe it as a necessary measure to thwart terrorist attacks, and it has strong support on both sides of the aisle. But the bill has drawn sharp criticism from French internet companies over fears that it could harm business, and from privacy advocates who say it would severely curtail civil liberties. 

The proposed law would allow the government to monitor emails and phone calls of suspected terrorists and their contacts, without seeking authorization from a judge. Telecommunications and internet companies would be forced to automatically filter vast amounts of metadata to flag suspicious patterns, and would have to make that data freely available to intelligence services. Agents would also be able to plant cameras and bugs in the homes of suspected terrorists, as well as key-loggers to track their online behavior.

Privacy International, Amnesty International, and other human rights organizations expressed alarm over the bill when it was announced last month, urging Parliament to give it careful scrutiny. It’s also been criticized by the National Digital Council, which advises France’s government on technological issues, and by several French web hosting companies, which say the threat of constant government intrusion would undermine their business. 

Of particular concern is the provision requiring telecoms to automatically filter internet traffic. Under the law, internet service providers would have to install monitoring mechanisms — referred to by the French media as “black boxes” — that would use algorithms to detect, in real time, suspicious behaviors in internet metadata. 

The bill’s supporters stress that this metadata would remain anonymous and that content of communications would not be automatically swept up, but the behaviors that would constitute a “terrorist-like” pattern are still unclear. Critics say the measure effectively amounts to mass surveillance of web traffic on a disproportionately large scale. 

Under the bill, recordings could be stored for up to one month, and metadata for up to five years. France’s current data protection laws date back to 1978, and are among the strongest in Europe. “It’s a comprehensive data protection framework that applies to both the public sector and all industries,” Fabrice Naftalski, a data privacy attorney and partner at the legal firm EY in Paris, says of current French law. “Protection of personal data is a fundamental right.” 

But the country’s counter-terrorism laws haven’t been revised since 1991, which was the original impetus behind drafting this bill last summer. The legislation took on a new sense of urgency following January’s attacks, when Valls moved to fast-track it for passage by this summer. (A vote is expected early next month.)

It seems 2,000,000 East German HUMINT Stasi assets have been supplanted by 66,000,000 French SIGINT black boxes. Thats progress – at least technologically.  

References & Acknowledgements
  1. Perspectives on Terrorism The Modus Operandi of Jihadi Terrorists in Europe by Petter Nesser and Anne Stenersen terrorismanalysts.com/pt/index.php/pot/article/view/388/html
  2. The XX Committee: Intelligence, Strategy, and Security in a Dangerous World – www.20committee.com
  3. Darktrace – www.darktrace.com
  4. al-Araby al-Jadeed – http://www.alaraby.co.uk/english
  5. The Verge – www.theverge.com
  6. Russia Today – www.RT.com
  7. Science X Network – www.phys.org
  8. The Long War Journal – www.longwarjournal.org
  9. Academia – www.academia.com
  10. TMG Corporate Services – www.tmgcorporateservices.com
  11. Al Jazeera – www.aljazeera.com
  12. Al Monitor – www.al-monitor.com
  13. Le Monde 
  14. Le Figaro 
  15. Le Point
  16. Die Welt 
  17. CNN 
  18. Fox News 
  19. TIME Magazine –
  20. The New York Times 
  21. The Washington Post
  22. The Times 
  23. The Mail on Sunday 
  24. The Telegraph 
  25. Wikipedia

The Palestinian Paradox in French Foreign Policy

Hamas (Arabic: حماس‎ Ḥamās, “enthusiasm”, an acronym of حركة المقاومة الاسلامية Ḥarakat al-Muqāwamah al-ʾIslāmiyyah Islamic Resistance Movement) is a Palestinian Islamic organization, with an associated military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, in the Palestinian territories and elsewhere in the Middle East including Qatar. Hamas or its military wing is designated as a terrorist organization by Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The organization was also banned in Jordan.
Fig. 1 Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades
Hamas Praising & Then Condemning the January 2015 Paris Terror Attacks
The Facebook page of Al-Rasalah, a publication of the Palestinian terror group Hamas, on Friday evening the 9th January 2015 ran a picture of the three Muslim terrorists behind the two deadly terror attacks in Paris – the Charlie Hebdo massacre and the connected shooting of a policewoman in Montrouge after which the gunman took several people hostage at a kosher supermarket at Porte de Vincennes in the east of Paris.
Fig. 2Paris Attacks – January 2015

The picture of the three – Cherif Kouachi, Said Kouachi and Amedy Coulibaly (not pictured in the release was Coulibaly’s absconding associate and female Hayat Boumeddiene) was accompanied by the caption:
The shahidim [martyrs] who were dispatched by God, the heroes of the raid in Paris.”
Hamas later removed praise for the attacks from all official Hamas websites, Israel Hayom reported. On Saturday the 10thJanuary 2015, the Gaza-based terror group issued a statement condemning the Paris attacks on the Charlie Hebdo magazine and the Hyper Cacher kosher supermarket, saying that there was no “justification for killing innocents.”
Fig. 3 Hamas Publication Praises Paris Terrorists
The Radicalisation of Hayat Boumeddiene
Fig. 4 Hayat Boumeddiene from bikini to Abaya
Little is known about the personal life of Hayat Boumeddiene. But she is believed to have met Amedy while working as a cashier and was said to have waited at least four years for him while he served time for an armed robbery conviction. In 2009 she quit her job and married her lover in an unofficial religious ceremony before settling down in Bagneux, Hauts-de-Seine. The pair mixed in radical Islamic circles and have been linked to the same groups as Abu Hamza. When she was once questioned by French media on the terror attacks committed by Al Qaeda and she responded by asking what about “the innocents killed by the Americans?”
The Hamas Political “Legitimisation”
In the January 2006 Palestinian parliamentary elections, Hamas won a decisive majority in the Palestinian Parliament, defeating the PLO-affiliated Fatah party. Following the elections, the Quartet (the United States, Russia, United Nations and European Union) made future foreign assistance to the PA conditional upon the future government’s commitment to non-violence, recognition of the state of Israel, and acceptance of previous agreements.
Hamas rejected those changes, which led to the Quartet suspending its foreign assistance program and Israel imposing economic sanctions on the Hamas-led administration. In March 2007, a national unity government headed by Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas was briefly formed, but this failed to restart international financial assistance.
Fig. 5 Read The Hamas Covenant also known as Hamas Charter
Tensions over control of Palestinian security forces soon erupted in the 2007 Battle of Gaza, after which Hamas took control of Gaza, while its officials were ousted from government positions in the West Bank. Israel and Egypt then imposed an economic blockade of the Gaza Strip, on the grounds that Fatah forces were no longer providing security there.
In 2011, Hamas and Fatah announced a reconciliation agreement that provides for creation of a joint caretaker Palestinian government. Progress has stalled, until an April 2014 agreement to form a compromise unity government, with elections to be held in late 2014.
In 2006, Hamas used an underground cross-border tunnel to abduct the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, holding him captive until 2011, when he was released in exchange for 1,027 Palestinian prisoners. Since then, Hamas has continued building a network of internal and cross-border tunnels, which are used to store and deploy weapons, shield militants, and facilitate cross-border attacks. Destroying the tunnels was a primary objective of Israeli forces in the 2014 Israel–Gaza conflict – Operation Protective Edge.
Fig. 6 Palestinian Leadership Nodes (2010)
The Palestinian Diaspora
The first large-scale emigration of Palestinian Christians out of Palestine began in the mid-19th century as a response to the oppression of Christians by the Ottoman Empire.
Since the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, Palestinians have experienced several waves of exileand have spread into different host countriesaround the world.In addition to the more than 700,000 in 1948, hundreds of thousands were also displaced in the 1967 Six Day War. The pattern of Palestinian flight continued during the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s.
The countries outside the Palestinian territories with significant Palestinian populations are: Jordan 3,240,000; Israel 1,650,000; Syria 630,000; Chile 500,000; Lebanon 402,582; Saudi Arabia 280,245; Egypt 270,245; United States 255,000; Honduras 250,000; Mexico 120,000; Qatar 100,00; Germany 80,000; Kuwait 80,000; El Salvador 70,000; Brazil 59,000; Iraq 57,000; Yemen 55,000; Canada 50,975; Australia 45,000; Libya 44,000; United Kingdom 20,000; Denmark 19000; Peru 15,000; Colombia 12,000; Pakistan 10,500; Netherlands 9,000; Sweden 7,000; Algeria 4,030.
The majority of the estimated 100,000 Palestinians in the European Union (EU) are in the United Kingdom, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and Sweden. Outside the EU is Norway and Switzerland.
Germany’s capital Berlin has one of the largest Palestinian communities outside of the Middle East with about 30,000-40,000 people of Palestinian origin residing in the city (~1% of the total population)
Support by France for Palestinian Nationhood and the Hamas Paradox
A mismatch between public opinion in support of the Palestinians’ cause and politicians’ compliance with Israel’s wishes has guaranteed no end to the strife, and no likelihood of conditions to create a Palestinian nation.
Increases in support for Palestinian nationhood were reported throughout 2014 from Spain, France, Germany and Britain. In Australia, polls also showed a majority of Australians supporting the Palestinian cause.
France has warned that if the international community fails to resolve the Middle East impasse, it would recognize Palestine as a state. French lawmakers are set to hold a vote on Palestine nationhood on December 2, 2014
French parliamentarians debated the December 2 vote. A similar resolution was approved by British lawmakers on October 3, by the Spanish parliament on November 18, and Sweden formally recognized the state of Palestine on October 3. A poll conducted by IFOP (French Institute of Public Opinion) showed 63 percent of the French population in favor of an independent Palestinian state.
The U.N. Security Council, in a close 8-2 vote with five abstentions, on 30th December 2014 voted down a Palestinian statehood resolution that set a deadline for the withdrawal of Israeli forces from Palestinian territories by 2017.
Eight nations voted for the draft resolution — one vote short of the necessary nine to be adopted — including Jordan, which sponsored the resolution, and three permanent Security Council members: China, Russia and France. The United States voted against the resolution on the table and had been expected to exercise its permanent council member authority and veto the measure, had it passed.
Two weeks later Hamas – the “democratically” elected “government” of Gaza praised the Paris Terror attacks.
International Terrorist Designation of Hamas
Country
Designation
The military wing of Hamas, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, is listed as a terrorist organization.[427]
The military wing of Hamas, the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, has been listed as a terrorist entity since 2010.[428]
Under the Anti-Terrorism Act, the Government of Canada currently lists Hamas as a terrorist entity, thus establishing it as a terrorist group, since 2002.[429][430]
The EU designated Hamas as a terrorist group from 2003 to 2014. In December 2014, the General Court of the European Union annulled this decision. The court stated that the move was technical and was not a reassessment of Hamas’ classification as a terrorist group.[431][432][433][434][435][436][437]
The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs states, “Hamas maintains a terrorist infrastructure in Gaza and the West Bank, and acts to carry out terrorist attacks in the territories and Israel.”[438]
As of 2005, Japan had frozen the assets of 472 terrorists and terrorist organizations including those of Hamas.[439] However, in 2006 it publicly acknowledged that Hamas had won the 2006 Palestinian legislative elections democratically.[440]
Banned Hamas in 1999[441] In 2013, Jordan rejected requests to allow Hamas to return.[15]
Russia does not designate Hamas a terrorist organisation, and held direct talks with Hamas in 2006, after Hamas won the Palestine elections, stating that it did so to press Hamas to reject violence and recognise Israel.[442] An Israeli official has said that Russia will reduce its ties to Hamas.[443]
The Turkish government met with Hamas leaders in February 2006, after the organization’s victory in the Palestinian elections. In 2010, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan described Hamas as “resistance fighters who are struggling to defend their land”.[444][445]
The Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades have been listed as a proscribed organization under the Terrorism Act since 2001, but Hamas as a whole is not listed.[446]
As of 2006, China does not designate Hamas to be a terrorist organization and acknowledges Hamas to be the legitimately elected political entity in the Gaza Strip that represents the Palestinian people. Despite U.S. and Israeli opposition, the Chinese government met with senior Hamas representative Mahmoud al-Zahar, who previously served as Palestinian foreign minister, during the June 2006 China-Arab Cooperation Forum in Beijing, an held direct bilateral talks with Hamas and the Arab World. In addition, during the same month, a spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry further elucidated China’s pro-Palestinian stance regarding Hamas in spite of U.S. and Israeli opposition to China’s associations and close relationship with the organization, stating, “We believe that the Palestinian government is legally elected by the people there and it should be respected.”[19][20][22][447]
Lists Hamas as a “Foreign Terrorist Organization”[448]
Banned Hamas in 2014 and branded it a terrorist organization. Egyptian authorities accuse the group of supporting al Qaeda-inspired Islamist insurgents in the Sinai peninsula.[449][450]
Banned the Muslim Brotherhood in 2014 and branded it a terrorist organization. While Hamas is not specifically listed, a non-official Saudi source stated that the decision also encompasses its branches in other countries, including Hamas.[451]

Acknowledgements
Stuart Rees, Professor Emeritus of the University of Sydney and Chair of the Sydney Peace Foundation.
The Algemeiner – The fastest growing Jewish newspaper in America
Twitter Account: Jewhadi @blastedsilver #2A #IstandWithIsrael #Kurds #Peshmerga #Yezidi #OpAntiISIS