Terrorism, refugees and Donald Trump

Finding a sensible (and safe) way to move forward

by Harold Rhode and Richard Kemp

Article published in The Washington Times, 25 September 2016

Hilary Clinton’s refugee plan is an open invitation for Radical Islam’s unyielding nature to run roughshod over American culture.

It’s by now clear that at least some of the perpetrators of last weekend’s spate of attacks harboured extremist views and sought inspiration in the work of Islamic State and al Qaeda (ISIS praised the Minnesota stabber, and the New York bombing suspect travelled to jihadi hotbeds in Afghanistan and Pakistan).

This is a clarifying reminder that the presidential election must be a referendum on Hilary Clinton’s failed approach to the struggle of radical Islam, and specifically a pressing matter at hand: her plan to admit 65,000 Syrian refugees — a 550 percent increase from the 10,000 Syrian refugees supported by the Obama administration.

It pains us greatly to see the crush of humanity fleeing the violence engulfing the Middle East. We’re also concerned about the security and stability of key American allies. Germany — a country roughly half the size of Texas — has already taken in some 1 million asylum seekers. America must find ways to help. The Clinton proposal, however, is naive and dangerous.

Of course, President Obama bears some responsibility for the turmoil. Some of this started with his hasty withdrawal from the region. It spread with Secretary Clinton’s refusal to punish the perpetrators of the September 11 attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi, and her failure to intervene effectively in the subsequent collapse of that country. Filling the vacuum, terrorists have targeted ethnic and religious minorities they consider apostates, destroyed archaeological and sacred religious sites, and advanced a form of Islam whose cruelty knows no bounds. Continue reading

Victory against ISIS is like WW2 …

… we’ll have to kill civilians and we’ve got to hit ISIS harder from the air and the ground

Article published in The Sun, 21 September 2016. © Richard Kemp

THE Commons Defence Committee’s report rightly suggests the UK’s war against ISIS is a “token gesture”. We are simply not doing enough.

We’ve got to hit ISIS harder from the air and the ground and we need to do it more frequently and more effectively.

We need more boots on the ground — not a full-scale ground operation but major hit-and-run attacks and raids by special forces.

Our special forces’ capability is very limited now. We need to increase our numbers and hit ISIS harder.

That requires more troops than we’re currently committing. The operations we’ve been conducting have been effective to an extent, but limited.

We need greater intelligence capability, some of which can only come from troops on the ground to identify targets and direct air strikes.

One of the reasons why the drone campaign against al-Qaeda in Pakistan worked so well is the Americans also had support from Pakistani intelligence, who were helping them with targets.

We don’t have that to the same extent in Syria so we have to put our own people in.

Have we run out of targets in this terrorist haven? Absolutely not.

It’s not that there are no new targets, it’s that the targets we know of are among the civilian population.

Our politicians are terrified of our troops killing civilians.

But ISIS hide behind human shields. Unless we are prepared to risk Continue reading

Time to honour the sacrifice of our heroes

Article published in The Mirror, 29 August 2016. © Richard Kemp

It is not possible for anyone to contribute more to our country than those who are killed fighting for us. After too many years of official neglect, this ultimate sacrifice was recognized when the Queen instituted the Elizabeth Cross in 2009, following a long campaign by the Daily Mirror in the face of staunch opposition from the military hierarchy.

The Mirror’s campaign, which I was honoured to lead, demanded official recognition for our soldiers who were wounded as well as those killed in action. This was overwhelmingly supported by the public, politicians and serving and retired soldiers from private to field marshal, including men who had fought in both world wars. But it was roundly rejected by the top brass who didn’t want to be ‘like the Americans’ with their Purple Heart. The Purple Heart – awarded to wounded US servicemen and the families of those who die from their wounds – is America’s oldest and most revered medal.

The Purple Heart
The Purple Heart

We must now have our own Purple Heart to recognize the sacrifice made by British soldiers severely wounded fighting for our country. During recent campaigns in Northern Ireland, Iraq and Afghanistan, large numbers of our troops lost limbs, were emasculated, burned, blinded, deafened, torn apart and brain damaged. According to an MOD report published last week, a total of 1,982 troops suffered traumatic wounding in Afghanistan alone. For many, their lives and their families’ lives have been shattered forever. Continue reading

Normandy attack: UK churches should have guards following Rouen priest killing, says intelligence expert

Former chair of Cobra intelligence group also says defeating Isis through bombing will reduce its lure for youngsters

Article published by The Independent, 27 July 2016

Churches in areas where there is a threat of radical jihadism in the UK should consider having their own guards as part of tighter security measures following the terrorist attack on a French priest, according to a former top intelligence adviser to the government.

Colonel Richard Kemp, a former chair of the government’s Cobra crisis response group, has said in interview with The Independent that community-funded guards, security fences and CCTV ought to be considered by churches.

He emphasised such measures could not “guarantee” total safety but that similarly visible security outside Jewish synagogues was already being used as a “deterrent” and the Church of England and Catholic Church may wish to do the same.

In the interview Colonel Kemp, who was the first commander of British troops in Afghanistan after 9/11, also said:

  • Many Muslims were “sympathetic” to the aims and tenets of radical jihadism as displayed by terrorist group Isis
  • Bombing Isis in Syria and Iraq was the only way to reduce the attraction of the extremist group for potential recruits
  • Muslims everywhere should voice their condemnation of the group as loudly as possible.

But he said the immediate response to the murder in France should be to consider the security around many churches.

He said: “Both the police in the UK and church authorities should review the security of churches. The reality is not that a church has suddenly become a new target and nothing else – there is virtually nothing else in the UK that is not a target, with the possible exception of mosques.

“But churches should think about use of CCTV as a deterrent, and the presence of security outside. But in the same way as a shopping centre or railway station, churches cannot become a fortress because people need free access to it.

“They couldn’t actually stop an attacker getting in who really wanted to, but especially in areas where there has been a threat from radical jihadists, they might want to consider that.

“It’s about that balance between safety and living freely and in a democracy.” Continue reading

Chilcot and the lessons for future conflicts

Letter published in The Times, 7 July 2016. © Richard Kemp

The Chilcot report is wrong to say that the invasion of Iraq in 2003 was unnecessary. Saddam’s regime had to be brought down immediately. He was a long-term supporter of terrorism.

He had links to al-Qaeda that could easily have developed into full blown co-operation. The potential threat posed by a terrorist organisation that had proven its intent to kill our citizens without restraint, supported by a state’s resources — with or without weapons of mass destruction — had to be prevented at all costs. The invasion of Iraq was not just reasonable action by George W Bush and Tony Blair, it was their duty.

I agree with the report, however, about the shortcomings in military equipment and advice and the inadequate planning for post-invasion Iraq. These are linked and resulted in inadequate and ill-equipped British military forces being deployed to contain the situation in southern Iraq and ultimately failing to do so.

This was certainly not a failure of troops on the ground but of their political and military leaders in the UK who still thought they were fighting the last war — Northern Ireland — with the tactics and priorities used against the IRA.

Colonel Richard Kemp
Commander of British forces in Afghanistan in 2003
London SW1

Iraq invasion was necessary to protect British lives from worst threat since Second World War

Article published in The Mirror, 6 July 2016. © Richard Kemp

The invasion of Iraq and removal of Saddam’s regime were necessary to protect the lives of our people who were under the greatest threat since the Second World War.

Islamic terrorists butchered 3,000 people on 9/11, more than were killed by the Japanese at Pearl Harbor.

This included 67 Britons, more than had died in any single terrorist attack before.

The decision by George W. Bush and Tony Blair to attack Iraq was not cowardly, it was not criminal, it was not for revenge and it was not to steal Iraq’s oil – all smears put about by the anti-war lobby who would rather see our countries go under than take military action to defend ourselves.

It was a courageous act by both leaders in an unprecedented situation, far less clear-cut than any previous conflict.

9/11 had brought in a new era with Islamic terror gangs ready to massacre as many people as possible without restraint.

Saddam was not responsible for 9/11 but he was a mass-murderer and long-term supporter of terrorism.

He had links to Al Qaida that could easily have turned into full-scale cooperation.

Bush and Blair had every reason to be concerned that this new, unrestrained terrorism, directly supported by a state with all its resources, presented a serious threat.

A threat made far worse by the assessment that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction that could have been transferred to Al Qaida.

We should not forget that this was also the assessment of all the major intelligence services in the West.

I was working for the Joint Intelligence Committee in the Cabinet Office in 2003, although not on Iraq or WMD. Continue reading

Restoring America’s leadership of the free world

Islamic extremists are determined to bring down Western Civilization

By Ari Harow and Richard Kemp

Article published in The Washington Times, 30 May 2016

With Donald Trump having wrapped up the Republican nomination and Hillary Clinton almost across the Democratic winning line, attention turns to the next president’s policy agenda. Restoring American prestige and global leadership must rank high on the list. The campaign talk of creating a new, great America cannot become empty rhetoric. Radical Islam continues to unleash growing chaos in the Middle East while embedding itself in Europe. The San Bernardino massacre demonstrated that its deadly, creeping influence can reach the United States. With radical Islamists intent on ending Western Civilization, the task facing the 45th president of the United States is no less than saving liberal democracy.

America’s retreat from the world stage under President Obama has had a disastrous impact. His hands-off approach has allowed turmoil to engulf Syria, Libya, Iraq and the wider region. And when Mr Obama has opted for engagement, it has too often been foolishly misdirected. Iran has been brought in from the cold by a wrong-headed deal, which allows Tehran to reactivate its nuclear program once the agreement expires. Meanwhile, erstwhile allies, including Israel, are left with a sense of reckless abandonment.

Above all, though, is the failure to recognize the lethal simplicity of what the jihadists hope to achieve. Applying Western logic, the Obama administration has searched for a rational solution to apparent ‘grievances,’ overseeing withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan in the vain hope of assuaging jihadi anger. However, radical Islam has just one, singular goal — to replace Western Civilization with the way of Shariah. The terrorists who targeted leisure venues in Paris and the transport system in Brussels were not interested in political protest. Their aim was simply to kill. They have laid down a terrifying gauntlet to the West — stop us or die.

Mr Obama’s successor must be up to the challenge, given the precarious state of the world. The Islamic State, or ISIS, continues to fill the void of collapsing Middle Eastern state structures, while Iranian-backed terror groups sow instability in the region. Meanwhile, the migrant exodus has handed radical Islam the opportunity to strike Europe, democracy’s soft underbelly.

Continue reading

We face the biggest terrorism threat in our history from both rogue IRA dissidents and ISIS

Article published in The Mirror, 12 May 2016. © Richard Kemp

The threat of a terror attack from a rogue IRA group on the British mainland is now a “strong possibility”.

The Mirror revealed yesterday that Northern Ireland-related terror risk was suddenly increased from moderate to substantial, adding to the severe risk posed by Islamic extremists, with an attack by them “highly likely”.

Home Secretary Theresa May said MI5’s decision reflected an ongoing threat from dissident republicans.

This threat level may be with us for some time as it is unlikely MI5 knows the time and place of a planned mainland attack.

But we can be reassured that MI5 is the most capable domestic security service in the world and will work round the clock to try and ensure this never comes off.

The Provisional IRA came to the peace table as the intelligence work of the Royal Ulster Constabulary, the British Army, MI5 and MI6 prevented it from maintaining its terror campaign.

But some hardcore terrorists refused to give up and formed dissident groups.

Last year alone these groups mounted 109 attempted attacks in Northern Ireland.

But a headline-grabbing outrage on the mainland, especially London, is what they seek.

They will not want to squander the efforts and risks needed to launch a successful strike in Britain so are undoubtedly planning one or more strikes.

This new threat and the current menace from Islamic State terrorists means we in Britain now face the highest terrorist threat in our history.

The meaning of true independence

Article published by Israel Hayom, 9 May 2016. © Richard Kemp

“What kind of talk is this, ‘punishing Israel?’ Are we a vassal state of yours? Are we a banana republic? Are we 14-year-olds who, if we misbehave, get our wrists slapped? Let me tell you whom this Cabinet comprises. It is composed of people whose lives were marked by resistance, fighting and suffering.”

These were the words of Prime Minister Menachem Begin delivered to the U.S. President Ronald Reagan in December 1981. Begin, one of the greatest leaders and fighters of our times, knew the meaning of true independence.

He knew that it was not about firecrackers, dancing in the streets or lighting flames. It was about standing up for yourself and submitting to no man. Declaring to the world, “this is where we stand.”

Israel’s independence was bought at a high price in Jewish blood, fighting first against the might of the British Empire and then against five powerful Arab armies which sought its destruction.

For 68 years Israelis have fought again and again to defend their independence against enemies who would subjugate their country. No other nation has struggled so long and so hard, surrounded by such unyielding hostility.

But in making their stand, Israelis have never had to stand alone. From the beginning, Jews from the U.K., the U.S., Europe, Australia, South Africa and around the world rallied to the fight for independence under the glorious banner of the Mahal. Among them were non-Jews, including a Christian soldier from my own regiment.

In the years since, and even today, the courage of their young successors, the “lone soldiers”’ of the diaspora, travelling thousands of miles from the safety of their homes to stand and fight here to preserve Israel’s independence, inspires awe and humility. As Begin said: “This is the land of their forefathers, and they have a right and a duty to support it.”

Israel’s independence has a strength that cannot be known by those who have not had to struggle for their freedom. What is the meaning of this independence?

Continue reading

Cameron’s Threat Of Post-Brexit War Is Beyond Parody – Our EU Membership Brings Great Danger

Article published by Breitbart, 9 May 2016. © Richard Kemp

In his most high profile European Union (EU) speech to date, British Prime Minister David Cameron asked yesterday: “Can we be so sure that peace and security on our continent are assured beyond any reasonable doubt?” He need only look around him for an answer to that question.

In recent months both Paris and Brussels have had inflicted upon them the most devastating attacks since the end of the Second World War.

Right wing nationalism is on the rise as failed financial systems cause poverty, despair, and economic collapse and citizens realize they are no longer in control of their destinies. Anti-Semitism, especially by Muslims, is rampant across the continent. Jews are afraid to be publicly identified and are leaving Europe in droves.

Swedish cities are in uproar as they are flooded with immigrants and their citizens subjected to rioting, abuse, violence and rape.

On the EU’s eastern border, Russian intervention in Ukraine has cost more than 8,000 casualties. Despite EU diplomatic action provoking Russia, the EU remains powerless other than contributing to international sanctions with limited effect.

This is not an apocalypse, but it is a foretaste of far worse to come. And it has been brought about mainly by the policies of the EU.

Yet, in words that seem like parody, Mr. Cameron begs us to vote to remain in the EU for our own safety. He cites Blenheim, Trafalgar, Waterloo, and the First and Second World Wars when British heroism saved the continent.

The Duke of Marlborough, Churchill’s ancestor and victor at Blenheim, would certainly have voted for Brexit. His greatest victory was won against Louis XIV’s France when he destroyed the prospect of a European super state.

Continue reading

Security – Defence – Intelligence – Counter Terrorism