All posts by jmb82BBp

Col Richard Kemp: Turning our back on Afghanistan could trigger another 9/11

Article published in the Daily Telegraph, 27 August 2015.

By Ben Riley-Smith, Political Correspondent

Another 9/11 attack could come from terrorists in Afghanistan if Western forces stop helping the country’s police keep the peace, Britain’s former commander in the region has warned.

Col Richard Kemp, who headed up the UK’s military involvement in Afghanistan in 2003, said there was a “big danger” the country could once again become a “safe haven for terrorism”.

He warned that the Taliban want to regain control of Afghanistan and said there was a risk Isil could also increase their influence in the region.

It comes after Britain’s withdrawal from Iraq was followed by the advancement of Isil, who took control of large swathes of the country last year.

Barack Obama has pledged to close the remaining America bases in Continue reading

Jeremy Corbyn insult to our heroes

Article published in the Sunday Express, 23 August 2015. © Richard Kemp

JEREMY Corbyn thinks the betrayal of our Armed Forces is a price worth paying to persuade the Labour Party’s disaffected anti-war activists to support his leadership bid.

That is what his proposed apology for the British involvement in the Iraq war would amount to: a betrayal of the 197 British troops killed, the hundreds wounded and the thousands who bravely fought for their country in Iraq. He would not only be telling those troops and their families their sacrifice was for nothing but also their actions were illegal, immoral and dishonourable.

Of course the war remains deeply controversial but Mr Corbyn’s unsubstantiated, rabblerousing declaration that it was illegal does not make it so and Britain’s involvement was not, as he alleges, based on deception.

I was working for the Joint Intelligence Committee at the time of the invasion.

I was not directly involved in the decision making or in the production of the weapons of mass destruction dossier but was aware of the war planning at the top level.

There was an absolute belief among the political and military decision-makers, based on intelligence, that the Iraqi government possessed chemical weapons.

Saddam Hussein’s long-term sponsorship of international terrorism, his regime’s associations with Al Qaeda and his hatred of the West meant the risk that he might transfer chemical weapons to Islamist extremists or use them himself simply could not be taken.
Continue reading

‘Europe Lacks the Willpower to Confront Evil That Iran Represents,’ Says Former British Commander (INTERVIEW)

Article published in The Algemeiner, 18 August 2015.

Europe is a “very weak continent lacking the willpower to stand up and confront the evil that Iran represents,” declared the former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, Col. Richard Kemp on Monday.

Speaking to The Algemeiner, Kemp called the nuclear deal struck by world powers including the UK, France and Germany, and Iran, “appeasement,” comparing the situation to 1930s and 1940s Europe, where a series of treaties between world powers ultimately led to the outbreak of World War II.

He said there is a “deafening silence” in Europe and a lack of leadership to stand up to Iran — which he predicted would undoubtedly move to acquire nuclear weapons — and noted an overwhelming “fear of hawkishness” throughout Europe, especially among politicians and military leaders, which Kemp said includes individuals “who should know and understand the realities of the Middle East.” Continue reading

Afghan interpreters risked all to help our boys

Article published in the Daily Mail, 17 August 2015. © Richard Kemp

At this very moment, Afghan interpreters who put their lives on the line for British forces in Afghanistan are being murdered by the Taliban. It is an act of betrayal for the British Government to do nothing to help them.

I have worked intensively with interpreters in the Balkans, in the Middle East and in Afghanistan. They are more than just translators – important as translation is. They are also vital for reading the situation on the ground.

The culture of a foreign war zone is often completely alien to the British soldier.

And it is the interpreter who explains the way things work, who can best judge sensitive, often dangerous situations, and who tells you what people really mean when they say something to you.

British troops have depended on interpreters for their survival

They have an in-depth knowledge of very complicated local loyalties, individual agendas and tribal alliances. Continue reading

COUNCIL DEBATE ON THE REPORT OF THE INDEPENDENT COMMISSION OF INQUIRY INTO THE GAZA CONFLICT 2014

SPEECH DELIVERED TO THE UN HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL IN GENEVA ON 29 JUNE 2015

Mr President, I fought in combat zones around the world during 30 years’ service in the British Army. I was present as an observer throughout the conflict in Gaza.

Mr President, during the 2014 Gaza conflict, Hamas, to its eternal shame, did more to deliberately and systematically inflict death, suffering and destruction on its own civilian population, including its children, than any other terrorist group in history.

Hamas deliberately positioned its fighters and weapons in civilian areas, knowing that Israel would have no choice but to attack these targets, which were a clear and present threat to the lives of Israel’s own civilian population.

While the IDF made efforts, unprecedented in any other army, and exceeding the requirements of the laws of war, to save Palestinian civilian lives, including warning them to leave targRK UNHRC Geneva 29 June 2015et zones, Hamas forced them to remain in those areas.

Unable to defeat Israel by military means, Hamas sought to cause large numbers of casualties among their own people in order to bring international condemnation against Israel, especially from the United Nations.

This was the cornerstone of Hamas’s strategy. It was Hamas’s strategy, not illegal Israeli action, as this report shamefully alleges, without a shred of evidence, that was the reason why over 1,000 civilians died in Gaza.

By denying this truth, and by refusing to admit the manifest Continue reading

We are in a war with Islamic State, says former head of counter terrorism

Article published in the Sunday Express, 28 June 2015. © Richard Kemp

THE VIRTUALLY concurrent attacks on Friday in Lyons, Tunisia and Kuwait may or may not have been directly ordered by Islamic State but all three were certainly inspired by it.
To dismiss these and earlier strikes such as the killings in Texas last month, in Paris earlier this year and in Sydney in 2014 as “lone wolf” attacks is self-deluding and dangerous.

The reality is that we have been at war with Islamist extremism since September 11, 2001, when Al-Qaeda attacked New York’s Twin Towers.

Al-Qaeda, with a range of other jihadists, including IS to which they gave birth, have been fighting that war against us ever since.

Friday’s attack in Lyon is a reminder of what lies ahead for the West.

These horrors have already visited our shores in the butchering of Drummer Lee Rigby in 2013 and the mass murder on London’s transport system in 2005.

Were it not for the skill of our intelligence services and police many more attacks would have been carried out here.

Since 2001, 27 major plots have been disrupted.

Many attacks have also failed due to the incompetence of the jihadists.

That is about to change. Large numbers of IS fighters have already returned to the UK from Iraq and Syria and more will follow.

This represents a step change in the threat we face. A terrorist becomes much more dangerous, Continue reading

The UN’s Gaza Report Is Flawed and Dangerous

Article published in The New York Times, 26 June 2015. © Richard Kemp

As a British officer who had more than his share of fighting in Afghanistan, Iraq and the Balkans, it pains me greatly to see words and actions from the United Nations that can only provoke further violence and loss of life. The United Nations Human Rights Council report on last summer’s conflict in Gaza, prepared by Judge Mary McGowan Davis, and published on Monday, will do just that.

The report starts by attributing responsibility for the conflict to Israel’s “protracted occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip,” as well as the blockade of Gaza. Israel withdrew from Gaza 10 years ago. In 2007 it imposed a selective blockade only in response to attacks by Hamas and the import of munitions and military matériel from Iran. The conflict last summer, which began with a dramatic escalation in rocket attacks targeting Israeli civilians, was a continuation of Hamas’s war of aggression.

In an unusual concession, the report suggests that Hamas may have been guilty of war crimes, but it still legitimizes Hamas’s rocket and tunnel attacks and even sympathizes with the geographical challenges in launching rockets at Israeli civilians: “Gaza’s small size and its population density make it particularly difficult for armed groups always to comply” with the requirement not to launch attacks from civilian areas.

There is no such sympathy for Israel. Judge Davis accuses the Israel Defense Forces of “serious violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law.” Yet no evidence is put forward to substantiate these accusations. It is as though the drafters of the report believe that any civilian death in war must be illegal.

Referring to cases in which Israeli attacks killed civilians in residential areas, Judge Davis says that in the absence of contrary information available to her commission, there are strong indications that the attacks were disproportionate, and therefore war crimes. But all we get is speculation and the presumption of guilt.

The report is characterized by a lack of understanding of warfare. That is hardly surprising. Judge Davis admitted, when I testified Continue reading

The redoubtable Colonel Kemp

One man goes against the flow and challenges the majority view of Israel’s role in the Middle East.

by Paul Alster

Published in The Jerusalem Post, 12 May 2015

IT’S ALWAYS easier in life to go with the flow. Follow the crowd and keep your head down well beneath the parapet. That’s what most people do, regardless of whether or not they agree with the direction the flow is taking them.

One man who most certainly goes against the flow and challenges the majority view of Israel’s role in the Middle East, however, is Colonel Richard Kemp. The 55-year- old former commander of British forces in Afghanistan is possibly the highest profile non-Jewish advocate of Israel when it comes to defense matters and the manner in which the country’s various security services and intelligence agencies go about their work of protecting a nation surrounded by enemies.

Kemp first made headlines around the world in October 2009 when giving evidence to the UN Human Rights Council examining the controversial Goldstone Report. South African Judge Continue reading

The US must confront Tehran: achieving cooperation through coercion

Since the Islamic Revolution in 1979, Iran has consistently responded to American overtures of peace with brutal force. When Ayatollah Khomenei sensed weakness in president Jimmy Carter, he increased hostile actions toward the US.

Now, when Washington is downsizing the production of aircraft carriers, Tehran is conducting exercises to blow them up.

Iran’s militant Islamic creed promotes confrontation with the West. Immediately after 9/11, some in the policy community suggested the US and Iran shared a mutual interest in stabilizing the region. Only later, when it was irrefutably discovered that Iran was facilitating both sides of the conflict and funneling weapons to insurgent groups that killed US and allied troops, did the idea fall into disfavor. It should not be forgotten that Iranian-sponsored attacks killed an estimated 1,100 US soldiers in Iraq between 2003 and 2010.

Currently, the US is conducting air strikes in Iraq and Syria in effective cooperation with Iran’s Revolutionary Guard to dislodge marauding Sunni militias.

Yet, depending on further US action in Iraq and Syria, Iran will likely resume proxy attacks against American troops.

Because Iranian foreign policy is driven by bellicosity toward the US, it is by definition impossible for Iranian leaders to abandon hostility against the West without undermining the raison d’etre of the Islamic regime.

America’s traditional Sunni Arab allies have cast doubt on whether or not Washington is serious when it comes to combating Islamic fundamentalism in the Middle East. They view US policies as accommodating, rather than confronting, Iranian behavior.

In Egypt, hitherto US support for the Muslim Brotherhood and its deposed leader, Mohammed Morsi, is perceived by moderate Sunni states as bad policy implemented for bad reasons. Current Egyptian president Abdel Fattah Sisi has expressed bewilderment over the lack of American support for his government’s battle against the Iranian-funded Hamas terrorist group in the Gaza Strip and against radical Islamic groups taking up arms in the Sinai Peninsula. Continue reading

Protesters disown their university values

Article published in The Australian, 16 March 2015. © Richard Kemp

TACTICAL responses to insurgencies by the conventional armed forces of democratic states, and the ethical challenges of fighting an enemy that uses civilians as human shields and as targets, are topics of obvious relevance to Australian foreign policy and contemporary international affairs.

I was invited to address these issues at the University of Sydney 9from the standpoint of my experiences as a commander of British forces in Afghanistan, Yugoslavia, Northern Ireland, Iraq and elsewhere, and as the former head of international terrorism intelligence in the British Cabinet Office for the Joint Intelligence Committee and the national crisis management group, COBRA. As well as being a practitioner, I have studied and written extensively about these matters.

I spoke for about 20 minutes to an audience of about 100 students, academics and guests. A group of about a dozen people then stormed into the lecture theatre and started yelling at me and the audience through a megaphone, accusing me of “supporting genocide”, and trying to shut down the lecture.

The protesters occupied the lecture theatre, intimidated members of the audience and were intent on preventing the exchange of views my lecture was intended to facilitate. Two of the academics then joined them, one of whom I saw badgering an elderly woman who objected to him photographing her on his iPhone. When she tried to push the iPhone out of her face he grabbed her arm forcibly, and appeared to hurt her. When she retaliated physically, the academic — an associate professor — waved a $5 note in her face and the face of a Jewish student. Continue reading