The United States can no longer unilaterally determine the situation in the Middle East. The actions of the Russian Aerospace Forces in Syria turned the situation in the region upside down, forcing Washington to reckon with the demonstratively US-friendly policy of Moscow, which with calm persistence turns the US military from following the Gulf monarchies in the wake of the Gulf monarchies to their country.
It is important to understand what conclusions analytical centers and the American expert community are drawing from what is happening, as well as how the region is responding to the new US policy. Let us consider this, relying on the works prepared by IBV for his experts - M. V. Kazanin, A. M. Kruglova, and Yu. B. Shcheglovina.
Minds of RAND Corp. concluded that the number of terrorist attacks in Europe and the United States has drastically decreased since September 11. They believe that the nature of jihadist terrorism requires a transnational group to send militants to the country of operation. Given the complex logistics and increased risks, jihadists from Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State (IG), banned in Russia, have moved to relying on local cells, including in financing, choosing means and participants in the attack. At the same time, American analysts are confident that one of the main reasons for adopting such an operating model was the elimination of the “center-performer” chain. It is as if, after the terrorist act was committed by a local cell, security officials' actions to neutralize it do not begin, which sooner or later ends in defeat.
In fact, the main reason for the adoption by Jihadist centers (Pakistani Al-Qaeda and partly the IG) of such a decision was the lack of finance, and for the IG - its tasks that do not imply expansion abroad, limiting the interests of Iraq, Syria, part of Jordan and Saudi Arabia . No organization, if it wants to influence the political processes in this or that country, will not give up on local cell management. This implies their financing and supply, which was demonstrated by the example of Chechnya. When al-Qaida (and Riyadh) efforts focused on Iraq, Chechen commanders quarreled with “commissars” from KSA. When Al-Qaida’s leadership announced a transition to a scheme of operations that involved self-financing and the right to choose a goal, fragmentation of the organization began. The success of the IG at the time of formation was due to the hope of receiving funding from an oil-rich sponsor. With a drop in income and an increase in the number of military defeats, the number of supporters decreased.
We do not agree with the American conclusions that the number of terrorist attacks has decreased. In Paris and Brussels, 12 people revealed the imperfection of the work of Western intelligence agencies and the police, the vulnerability of European institutions and the theory of multiculturalism. In this case, no matter the number of terrorist attacks. For Europeans, the very fact of demonstrating their vulnerability is deadly, as shown by attacks carried out without communication with the command and control centers abroad. Jihadism in Western Europe has little to do with what is happening in Iraq or Syria. In the Middle East, the question of competition of local elites in the format of confrontation between Iran and Saudi Arabia is being resolved. In Europe, people from the Muslim community are trying to solve the problems of national identity and self-assertion. This explains the exorbitant number of volunteers from the EU countries who are fighting in Iraq and Syria.
The reason for the lack of resonant terrorist attacks in the United States is a tacit agreement between the main sponsors of jihadism in the person of KSA and Qatar, according to which it was decided not to touch the States in order not to risk a repetition of the Afghan and Iraqi scenarios when international intervention was organized. If necessary, to perform resonant acts in America is not difficult. But the weak link in the RAND analysis of terrorist activity is a clear adherence to the statistical data on the basis of which conclusions are drawn. At the same time, all cases of jihadist terrorism are mixed. The reasons for such attacks are not taken into account. And they have a different nature. In Europe, this is unsatisfied self-awareness. In the Maghreb - Tuareg separatism and drug smugglers confrontation with the authorities. In Nigeria and Somalia - the enmity of tribal groups. In Iraq and Syria - the struggle of the Sunni nationalists for a place under the sun.
The most problematic is not jihadism based on separatism or Sunni nationalism (it will exhaust itself as far as a compromise between the elites is reached), but the situation in Europe, where its essence lies in the sense of inferiority of the local Muslim community. When it starts to grow thanks to the policies of Brussels at the expense of migrants, the problem becomes ever more urgent. Police measures alone can not do. Moreover, modern terrorists, including those living in Europe, are sufficiently educated and are often oriented in technologies no worse than those who try to fight them. This is evidenced by such a phenomenon as cyberjihad, as widespread as little known outside the narrow professional circle.
IG hackers have reached a cooperation agreement with a group in support of the Palestinian state AnonGhost (“Unknown Ghost”). The new group is called “Phantom Caliphate” (earlier - “Cyber army of the Caliphate”). The attacks of Islamist hackers are accompanied by messages: “We are Muslims, we are many. We defend Islam, we follow the laws of Shari'a. ” According to experts of a private American cyber security company Ghost Security Group, the goals of Islamist hackers can be websites of government and commercial organizations in the United States, Israel, the United Kingdom, Belgium, China and other countries. In January, the 2016 of the Cyber Army of the Caliphate broke into the official website of Tsinghua University in Beijing. In this regard, a meeting of the Information Security Working Group at the Central Military Council of the PRC was held, during which Xi Jinping demanded to strengthen the protection of computer systems of state bodies. Chinese experts are concerned about the low reliability of the protection program installed in Windows 10.
According to RAND and other think tanks, the activities of IS cyber formations are aimed at:
- encryption of electronic communication between members of the organization;
-developing new encryption algorithms;
-creation of special communication applications for operating systems like “Android” and Windows;
-search for vulnerabilities in Telegram, WeChat and other programs;
- recruitment in social networks.
To combat the activity of IG on the Internet, the US leadership has decided to attract specialists from the command of cybernetic operations (KKO) of the US armed forces. This type of aircraft was formed in 2009, and the subunits deployed at the Fort Meade and Fort Gordon bases began performing tasks in the 2010 year. But even after the creation of the KKO of the US Armed Forces, specialists of the National Security Agency are the main burden of action in cyberspace. Since February, KCO and the NSA have been conducting operations to identify Islamist websites and mailboxes. To disable the electronic resources of terrorists, the spear phishing method is used to send infected messages from “safe addresses”. These messages contain virus programs such as Nitro Zeus, which allow you to remotely paralyze infected computers at any time. Thanks to such tactics, the KKO and the NSA prevented the coordination of the actions of the Islamists during the battles for Syrian Al-Shadadi and Iraqi Mosul.
In the United States, they plan to use cyberwar techniques when destroying militant groups in Raqqah. To organize offensive actions on IS resources in cyberspace, the US Department of Defense intends to increase the number of KCOs to 6800 people (now 4900). It is assumed that by the 2018 the 133 division of the US CCT will be formed: 27 - ensuring the activities of regional commands, 68 - for the departments of network and system work of the US Department of Defense, 13 - cyber attack, 25 - technical and informational support. To increase the number of personnel, the SANS Institute training center in Bethesda (Maryland) will be attracted, and US Air Force experts will hold a “Hack the Pentagon” competition. According to the results, the best hackers will be offered a job in the US KKO and the relevant units of the Air Force.
The leadership of the US Navy Academy cyber faculty in Anapolis from 2014 receives additional funding (120 million dollars annually) to train students (60 people) in the specialty “Cyber operations”. Advanced training will be held at the US Navy Military College in New Port (Rhode Island). A division of the cybernetic command of the USCM in Quantico (Virginia) is planned to be used against the IG hackers. ILC experts are best prepared to deal with threats on the Internet and regularly conduct operations against a potential adversary - Iran, China and Russia. In the 2016 fiscal year, only for the needs of cyber attacks and cyber defense in the budget of the US military provided 6,8 billion dollars.
High Security Islands
Against the background of miscalculations by American analysts and the reinforcement of cyberspace programs, which show that the intelligence community and the United States military assess the prospects of confrontation with Islamists without capturing sentiments and are preparing for serious attacks from their side, Washington politicians in the Persian Gulf are revealing. And this is not even about the leading monarchies of the GCC, but tiny and largely dependent on the US in the security sphere and in the economy of Bahrain, currently de facto controlled by Saudi Arabia (during the "Arab spring" the Sunni ruling dynasty of this island nation was not overthrown as a result of the unrest of the Shiite majority of the kingdom).
Thus, Washington’s attempts (including during the visit of US Secretary of State J. Kerry to the country) to convince Manama of the need to reform and incorporate Shiites into the institutions of power and the main economic structures failed miserably. Instead, in early April, King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa, along with his eldest son - Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa, began to strengthen the special services of the kingdom. The number of consultants from Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Jordan was increased. They must be part of a special security agency that will, among other things, provide counterintelligence support to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the armed forces of Bahrain.
The king decided to extend the contract with US consultant D. Timoney. The latter is the vice-president of Andrews International, a private security company, and was invited to implement a project to reorganize the Bahraini Ministry of Internal Affairs. He headed the police: from 1998 to 2002 — Philadelphia, from 2003 to 2010 — Miami. Before that, 29 had served in the New York police force for years, where he became the second in her hierarchy. In Bahrain, he has been working since 2011 of the year with the former deputy head of the London police, B. D. Yayt, who was forced to leave the post due to a scandal over the interception of official talks by British journalists. These experts, according to the court, should improve the image of local law enforcement officers, who suffered after the dispersal of mass protests of the Shiite population. Then the Jordanian contingent of 90 policemen especially distinguished themselves.
The rate on foreign experts in law enforcement agencies has become the main trend in the personnel policy of Manama. Currently, recruitment is underway in the UAE, mainly among Pakistanis and citizens of the Emirates. Timoney, in addition to his role as a police reformer, is also an adviser to the national security apparatus (internal intelligence unit), headed by Adel ben Khalifa al-Fadli. There is also a public security apparatus, which is headed by Tariq al-Hassan, who is responsible for the secret infiltration of Shiite terrorist groups not only in Bahrain, but also in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. Her former chief, now secretary general of the GCCU Abdullatif al-Zayani, has a great influence on this structure. Public security works in close coordination with the KSA General Intelligence Agency.
Hezbollah’s counterintelligence last year uncovered the Shiite intelligence network from Bahrain, who arrived in Lebanon to undergo relevant training. So the struggle on this front is serious. Special attention is paid by the Bahrain security apparatus to the infiltration of agents into the ranks of smugglers who are transported to the kingdom weapon and trained militants. However, for the time being, the security forces can boast only one small-sized vessel intercepted in the territorial waters of the kingdom.
The visit of the US Secretary of State to Manama ended in failure. His ideas to weaken the repressive measures against the Shiites and gradually prepare a model of balance of power in the governing bodies were met very coolly. This is because Manama is wary of a deal on the Iranian nuclear program and Washington’s flirting with Tehran, which is presented to the King of Bahrain by the main sponsor of Shiite unrest and the organizer of the terrorist activities of local underground Shiite cells. And not without reason. Iranian small boats brought weapons and ammunition to the territory of Bahrain. Several hundred Shiites from this country are trained in the Hezbollah camps in Lebanon, and a small part in Iran at the IRGC bases. Then the militants returned to the kingdom for the organization of terrorist actions. It is impossible to bring this activity down, despite the significant number of foreign advisers in the security forces for the country. Moreover, the Shiites in the areas of traditional residence equipped the system of tunnels used for storing weapons and covert movement. Bahrain police in these areas trying not to needlessly go.
The kingdom remains an ally of the United States. Here is the base of the US Navy and the central command of the 5th fleet. So Manama’s dependence on Washington remains. At the same time, the United States may not extend the agreement on material and technical assistance to the security forces of Bahrain, which expires in 2016. This is real, taking into account the presidential campaign and the role of American human rights defenders in the campaign. At the very least, support can be reduced, as are joint exercises and training for the kingdom police.
During the visit of the US Secretary of State, Manama made it clear that the issue of building a policy towards the Shiite population - they are not ready to listen to the exclusive competence of the Bahraini authorities and councils in this area. Even ready to go for the possible collapse of US technical support for security services. Especially since the British are willing to replace the Americans in this field. Especially when you consider that they, like the French, have long been conducting these operations with Bahrain through UAE and Saudi intermediary companies. That is, the United States can and will lose the corresponding "market" if attempts to put pressure on the power of the island kingdom, for which human rights and the realization of Western theories on their territory in comparison with the issue of power mean very little, can and will lose.
Bahrain is not alone in its American skepticism. Recall that Saudi Arabia has threatened the administration of Barack Obama on the eve of his visit to KSA to sell off US assets worth 750 billion dollars. Riyadh wanted Obama not to allow the US Congress to approve a bill that would allow the Saudi government to be tried on charges of involvement in the September 11 2001 attacks. This will provide an opportunity to seize bank accounts and other KSA assets in the United States. In America, against the background of the election campaign, there is a struggle between groups of influence that use the confrontation between Tehran and Riyadh. The Republicans are initiating strikes in the Iranian direction, and the Democrats in Saudi Arabia, taking into account the ties of the rivals in the person of Bush and Cheney with representatives of the KSA royal family.
However, anti-monarchist sentiments are also strong among Republicans, behind which stand not only the lobbyists of the “shale revolution”, but also the security forces, who are convinced in Afghanistan and Iraq, who are sponsored by the Saudis. The last is to worry about. The secret part of the congress report has long been known and it follows from it that the terrorists collaborated with the KSA charitable foundations, one of whom was headed by the spouse of the then ambassador to the United States, the future head of the General Intelligence Directorate of the Kingdom of Prince Bandar bin Sultan. The Benevolence International Foundation is closed there after the terrorist attacks. The declassification of the report (if it takes place) may trigger an investigation mechanism on the communication of Riyadh with al Qaeda and the contacts of members of the royal family with Osama bin Laden. As a result, it is clear that behind the threats to the civilized world in the face of al-Qaeda and the IG are KSA and Qatar. Although, against the background of the economic reanimation of Iran, the White House will not finally sink KSA.