Islamic State is down but not out

Thabo Masokola
Tuesday, 30 January 2018
Islamic State is down but not out

Although the biggest security threat to the coming winter Olympic Games in South Korea has been a potential nuclear showdown between erratic Trump and the daring Kim Jong Un, the present terror of Islamic State or ‘Daesh’ cannot be ignored. After a Russian defeat in Syria, the Islamic State has been calling its supporters in all corners of the world to take revenge for the humiliating defeat in Syria and Iraq.  Olympic Games as a symbol of peace and international cooperation have previously been attacked by extremist organisations.

The most infamous being the 1972 Munich Olympic Games when Palestinian Black September Organisation killed 11 Israeli athletes. The Olympic Games in South Korea are also a potential target of the militants. Today, because of the Washington’s provocative initiative to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish state, the Arab-Israeli conflict is again fraught with tragic consequences. The Islamists want to show the world that in the Middle East they have lost only a battle, not a war. In this regard, the upcoming games can be considered by terrorists as an ideal opportunity to ‘reclaim’ their space. 

Experts are already openly sounding the alarm, urging the South Korean authorities to be ready to repel terrorist attacks. American journalist and political analyst Sophie Mangal has no doubt that intentions of the IS militants are serious. She cautions that, “It seems that the ice palaces and arenas of the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang are the main targets for the terrorist attack in the near future. The militants, losing control of the territory and, consequently, the energy resources of Iraq and Syria, seek to restore their shaken position.

Definitely, possible terrorist attacks may lead to numerous human casualties.” Against the backdrop of active hostilities in Asia and the Middle East, members of the national teams of member countries of anti-terror international coalitions may be attacked. Washington and its allies have repeatedly reported success in eliminating militants in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and other states. Now terrorists are constantly making attempts to retaliate against the peaceful population of the United States and European countries. Only in 2017, more than 100 civilians fell victim to such terrorist attacks.

The security is certainly provided by the host country at the highest level, however, given the flow of tourists and specific nature of the region, it will be extremely difficult for foreign special services to provide effective support to South Korean law enforcement agencies. The authorities of some countries have already cast doubt on the participation of their national teams in the Olympics in South Korea. It is obvious that terrorist acts can be prepared by the Islamists of the Abu Sayaf grouping, the cell of the Islamist State, whose militants, after a major defeat in the Philippines, were forced to disperse in the Asia-Pacific countries under the guise of ordinary tourists. Despite major defeats in Syria and Iraq, ISIS still remains the greatest threat to security and stability in the world.

The terrorists have switched recently to single hostile activities and heinous acts of terror in the EU and throughout Asia. The 2018 Olympic Games would be attended by sports fans from more than 80 countries. Ensuring security of such a number of people will become a serious challenge for the special security services and interior ministry of South Korea. A number of European countries are considering the security measures at the Olympic Games and France’s Sports Minister, Laura Flessel has warned that, “If our security cannot be assured, the French Olympics team will stay at home.”

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