Category Archives: Articles

Iran is the Greatest Threat to World Peace

Interview published in Majalla, 3 November 2017

by Mustafa El-Dessouki and Yasmine El-Geressi

Colonel Richard Kemp spent most his 30-year career fighting terrorism and insurgency, commanding British troops on the front line of some of the world’s toughest hotspots, including Afghanistan, Iraq, the Balkans and Northern Ireland. In 2003, he was sent to Kabul to take command of British Forces where he helped to disarm local warlords, trained the fledgling Afghan army and police and played a part in preventing a coup d’état against President Hamid Karzai. Continue reading

Israel as a Strategic Asset of the West

Hanit is the Hebrew word meaning spearhead. That word explains why Israel is a vital strategic asset not just to Great Britain, but to the West as a whole. Hanita is also the name of a settlement established in the western Galilee in March 21, 1938. Geographically, Hanita is literally the spearhead of Israel, hard up against the front line with Lebanon. It lies about 15 kilometres northeast of Nahariya.

The story of Hanita encapsulates Britain’s longstanding and too often dishonourable relationship with the Jews of Palestine and the state of Israel. When the establishment of Hanita was proposed, the British administration vetoed it and then did everything in their power to prevent it going ahead.

Despite many obstacles thrown into their path, the Jews persisted and the tower and stockade village was eventually built. This was during the Arab Revolt in Palestine (1936-1939), and on their very first night at Hanita the young pioneers had to fight off wave after wave of savage attacks by hundreds of Bedouin raiders intent on their massacre.

Two years later, in 1940, the very same British authorities that had forbidden the settlement came to Hanita for help. Britain planned to invade Syria to prevent the Vichy French government there from allowing a German army to build up and threaten the Mosul oilfields and the Suez Canal.

An Australian force was to enter Lebanon from Palestine, using the forbidden Hanita as a base, and from there to advance into Syria.

Bridges over the Litani River were vital for the operation, and because of their familiarity with the wild and unchartered border country, the Jews were asked to capture and hold those bridges to prevent their destruction by the Vichy forces.

Having suffered over fifty percent casualties, fifty young Jewish farmers from Hanita held the bridges for seven hours and repulsed ten mass attacks before the Australian regular troops eventually arrived. In the final onslaught, the Jews fought off their heavily armed attackers with knives, bricks, crow bars, revolvers, and when out of bullets, with their bare hands. This was the operation in which Moshe Dayan, later Chief of Staff, Defence Minister and Foreign Minister of Israel, lost his left eye.

On a different level we saw a similarly duplicitous game played out again only at the end of last year. In a speech in London last December, British Prime Minister Theresa May strongly asserted the value that Israel has to Britain. She said:

Israel will be crucial to us as we exit the EU.

We have common values; we work together, on health, counter-terrorism, cyber security, technology; and we can help each other achieve our aims. Continue reading

Iran ‘Will Always Hate America,’ Has Attacked US ‘Time and Time Again’ Through Proxies Like Hezbollah

Article published by Breitbart, 30 October 2017

by John Hayward

Retired British Army officer Col Richard Kemp, a counter-terrorism expert and veteran of Afghanistan, joined SiriusXM host Raheem Kassam on Monday’s Breitbart News Daily to talk about the imminent danger of a new war in the Middle East.

Kemp was involved in a creation of a recent report on the subject entitled Hezbollah’s Terror Army: How to Prevent a Third Lebanon War.

‘I think President Obama made some very, very fundamental errors in his foreign policy, one of which was to seek to encourage Iran to be the greatest power in the Middle East,’ said Kemp. ‘Essentially, he abandoned other US allies in the region – including Saudi Arabia, other Gulf states, and to an extent Israel – in favour of Iran.

‘The problem with Iran, of course, not only does it threaten many, many states in the region, particularly in relation to its Shia – of course, Iran is a Shia state and it really opposes most of the other states which are Sunni states,’ he continued.

‘I think above all we shouldn’t forget that the Iranian revolution was founded to a very large extent on anti-Americanism,’ he warned. ‘They hate America. They always have hated America. It’s what the revolution was all about, to a large extent. They always will hate America, and we shouldn’t forget that Iran, through its proxies such as Hezbollah, which this report is about, has attacked the United States and United States forces time and time again, including in recent history.

‘They are, without a doubt, the enemies of the United States, which President Obama was doing what he could to encourage. They are the greatest threat, I believe, to world peace today. Above all, that threat comes from the prospect that they will gain nuclear weapons Continue reading

Devastating for morale – and a threat to life

Article published in The Daily Mail, 17 September 2017. © Richard Kemp 

The news that officers aboard a British nuclear submarine on active patrol threatened to resign, because both the captain and his second-in-command were alleged to be having affairs with female crew members, is terrifying – but not surprising.

It is impossible to imagine a more serious setting for a crisis in morale than HMS Vigilant, one of the four Vanguard subs that form our country’s round-the-clock Trident nuclear deterrent at sea.

But it was sadly inevitable, given the Government’s insistence that men and women must serve alongside each other wherever our Armed Forces are on duty – on battleships, on the front line, from the first day of training, and even in submarines.

I am quite certain we’re hearing this story only because of the seniority of the ranks involved. Commander Stuart Armstrong and his executive officer [XO], the boat’s No 2, have both been removed from their posts. It is unprecedented for both the commander and the XO of a nuclear sub to be suspended simultaneously. But affairs between lower ranks are commonplace, and they can have equally catastrophic effects on morale and unit cohesion.

The situation is so bad that, in the two years up to last December, 36 Army recruits became pregnant during basic training. So did 15 RAF and ten Navy recruits. That’s about one young woman per fortnight.

It is not a new problem. More than 100 servicewomen were evacuated from Iraq during the years following the overthrow of Saddam because they were pregnant: Military rules forbid expectant mothers from active duty in a war zone. It was a similar story in Afghanistan – though in September 2012, quite unbelievably, a Lance Bombardier gave birth at Camp Bastion in Helmand province. Four days earlier, the Army base had repelled a Taliban attack.

Every pregnant soldier is a loss to her unit, in an Army already undermanned and compromised by defence cuts. But the effect on morale is incalculable. Soldiers have to be able to trust each other with their lives. The camaraderie of an active unit is crucial – and it can be ripped to shreds by the petty jealousies that simmer when two of the squad embark on a relationship together.

There is no more certain way to damage a tight-knit team than with sex. But put men and women together, especially in the pressure cooker situations of a combat zone or a submarine on active duty, and sex will be the result.

Politicians obsessed with political correctness are desperate to impose gender equality everywhere, including the Armed Forces. They ignore the fact that the Army, Navy and Air Force are like no other employer. There is nothing comparable to being a combat soldier. Continue reading

This is a very different kind of war

Article published in The Sunday Express, 17 September 2017. © Richard Kemp 

FRIDAY, when London was hit by the latest terrorist outrage, was also Battle of Britain Day.

This is a very different kind of war.

But if our political leaders showed just a fraction of the courage of the RAF in 1940, they could end this onslaught.

Here is what they must do:

● DENY re-entry to the UK by anyone who has fought with the Islamic State or any jihadist group. They represent the greatest danger.

● STOP unregulated movement from EU countries to the UK, even before Brexit. Under EU rules we cannot even prevent those known to be involved or previously convicted of terrorism from entering.

● VET all those entering the UK from countries where violence is rife, including refugees from countries like Syria. Our humanitarian obligations must not take priority over protecting our own people.

● DEPORT all non-British citizens involved in extremism or radicalisation. Today, we prioritise their human rights above those of their victims. This must stop.

● THROW OUT and ban from their mosques all preachers who contaminate young minds with their murderous messages of hate.

● SET UP special courts to hear evidence based on secret intelligence that cannot be revealed in public.

● SEGREGATE and if necessary isolate terrorist convicts and others who try to radicalise their fellow prisoners.

● TAG those involved in extremism that cannot be deported or imprisoned so their movements can be more effectively monitored. Continue reading

Britain should be taking back control of its defence, not surrendering it to Brussels

Article published in The Daily Telegraph,  13 September 2017. © Richard Kemp

Nelson will be spinning on his column. Under plans the government has been working on for months, if we want to build another naval warship in the future we will have to go cap in hand to Brussels.

When it comes to defence, it is becoming clear that Brexit does not mean Brexit. Judging by a paper released yesterday by the Department for Exiting the EU, which calls for a defence relationship with Brussels ‘closer than any third country’, the government intends to surrender control of UK defence to the EU.

British voters have always been more opposed to this than any other issue. Polls have consistently shown that even among the minority of voters who wanted to remain in the EU, large numbers rejected the idea of an EU army.

The architects of Project Fear, in their desperation to persuade us to vote Remain, assured us no such thing would ever happen. But the British people have been betrayed from all sides. Lied to by the Remain camp, they are now being sold out by the politicians that are supposed to be leading us out of the EU.

Much of this has been done behind all of our backs — including MPs and government ministers. British officials in Whitehall and Brussels have been quietly conspiring with their EU counterparts to draw us further and further into an EU defence union.

Since November last year, five months after we voted to leave the EU, Britain has fully signed up to five separate EU Council agreements which frame a defence union. Although the process has involved UK defence ministers, foreign ministers and the prime minister, the general election as well as intense focus on other Brexit issues no doubt allowed the usual smoke and mirrors to be deployed with even greater guile than usual. Having worked for several years in Whitehall I know well the machinations of the Sir Humphreys on both sides of the Channel. Continue reading


Letter to the editor of The Times, published 24 August 2017. © Richard Kemp

The leaked Home Office report (Aug 23) warning of an increased terrorist risk to the UK after Brexit is pure fiction. The opposite is true: Britain will be safer after Brexit.

No longer will we have to allow known terrorist suspects who are EU citizens to enter the UK as we do now. We should not forget that Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the Belgian ringleader of the November 2015 Paris attacks in which 130 people were killed, travelled freely to Britain beforehand despite being known to be involved in extremism. Such is the EU’s security regime that he boasted in Islamic State propaganda of being able to travel unnoticed into and around Europe.

The report says that security co-operation would be ‘less effective or slower’ once Britain left the EU. Why should it be? The UK has the most effective counter-terrorism operational capability in Europe with the most extensive liaison relationships in countries from where the greatest Islamic terrorist threats emanate.

Our intelligence services have prevented numerous terrorist attacks in the UK and elsewhere in the EU in recent years. In the fight against terrorism the EU needs us far more than we need them.

Colonel Richard Kemp
Former commander of British forces in Afghanistan

Image: Abdelhamid Abaaoud

What Europe can learn from Israel in its war against vehicle attacks and lone wolf terror

Article published by International Business Times, 21 August 2017. © Richard Kemp and Arsen Ostrovsky

By Richard Kemp and Arsen Ostrovsky

Shortly after the horrific terror attack in Barcelona last week, which claimed the lives of 14 people, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said terrorism is Europe’s main problem ‘right now’.

Similarly, it was not until the London Bridge car ramming in June this year that killed eight people, that UK Prime Minister Theresa May said ‘enough is enough’. But therein lies the problem.

Jihadists have been waging terror in Europe for years now and ‘enough’ was enough after the first attack. But European leaders have largely been in denial, only now beginning to concede there is a problem, and even now, many refuse to identify and confront the radical Islam at the root of this war.

These might be so-called ‘lone wolf’ terrorists, but they are united by the same homicidal ideology, with pledged allegiance to the Islamic State (Isis).

The vehicular terror attack in Barcelona follows a similar wave of car ramming attacks in Nice, London, Paris, Berlin, and Stockholm over the past year, which have claimed a combined total of 130 lives.

But the sober reality is that the wave of vehicular terror we are seeing across Europe now was pioneered by Palestinian terrorists in Israel, when the world mostly looked the other way, trying to downplay, excuse or just plain ignore the attacks, seeking to differentiate terror in Israel from terror in Europe. Today, Islamic jihadists are copying and exporting this murderous methodology across Europe.

So what can be done about this, and, specifically, how can Europe stop this wave of car rammings by ‘lone wolves’ and what can it learn from Israel? Continue reading

North Korea: America must prepare for war

A version of this article was first published in The Daily Express on 10th August 2017. © Richard Kemp

North Korea is not America’s problem alone but the world’s. Britain and the US last fought against its aggression during the war of 1950–1953 after North Korea invaded the south.

Today the threat is greater — a nuclear-armed state fast developing global strike capabilities. North Korea’s most recent missile test indicated a potential capability to reach much further than previously thought. Its theoretical range of around 10,000 kilometres would put Washington, New York and London within the target zone.

And the threat goes even further. Pyongyang has colluded extensively with Tehran over ballistic missile development and we must assume there has also been, or will be, cooperation on nuclear programmes, especially with $100 billion of financial assets released to Iran under President Obama’s nuclear deal. The ayatollahs — the world’s greatest supporter of terrorism — may not be the only rogue client looking to North Korea for nuclear capability.

Is the threat from Kim Jong-Un likely to materialize? He knows that a strike against US allies or territory, which he has been threatening, would unleash what President Trump describes as the ‘fire and fury’ of the most powerful military in the world and would end both him and his regime. But he is an unpredictable and irrational dictator, capable of over-ruling the more sober-headed advisers that some believe constrain him.

Diplomatic efforts to halt or contain North Korea’s pursuit of nuclear weapons over 25 years have all failed and will fail in the future given Pyongyang’s unwavering determination to continue developing them.

Nor will the sanctions regime ordered this week by the UN Security Council bring North Korea to heel any more than they have in the past. The country will cling on to its weapons programme to the end, even as its citizens starve in their millions. Continue reading

Dunkirk: the man who won the Second World War

A version of this article was first published in the Essex County Standard on 4th August 2017. © Richard Kemp

I saw old-fashioned British patriotism in Colchester after watching the movie Dunkirk at the Odeon last week. Tommy, a young soldier played by Fionn Whitehead, read the last words of Churchill’s ‘we shall fight on the beaches’ speech, the credits rolled and the audience broke into spontaneous applause. Exactly the reaction you would have seen to the newsreel report of Dunkirk in a Colchester cinema in June 1940.

The applause was not for the film, but for the Dunkirk spirit of embattled British soldiers, sailors, airmen and civilians pulling together in the face of the mind-numbing peril it so powerfully conveyed.

Unknown to most in the cinema, a former pupil at Colchester Royal Grammar School pervaded every moment of the film, though his only appearance was a single mention of the name: Ramsay.

Admiral Ramsay

Vice Admiral Bertram Ramsay, at CRGS before joining the Royal Navy in 1898 aged 16, masterminded the Dunkirk evacuation and by doing so won the Second World War. Why?

In words Tommy reads out in the film, Churchill said to the Commons on 4 June 1940, the day Dunkirk ended: ‘We must be very careful not to assign to this deliverance the attributes of a victory. Wars are not won by evacuations’. But the evacuation of the British Army from Dunkirk — against all odds — was the turning point that paved the way to Allied victory over Nazi Germany five years later. Continue reading