Category Archives: Articles

THE KILLING OF GENERAL QASSEM SOLEIMANI

Article published in The Sun, 4 January 2020. © Richard Kemp

Soleimani’s killing is the most strategically significant US military action since the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Iran will want a violent reaction to the death of its most important commander. But Tehran is terrified of fighting a war with the US that they could not win and so will not start World War 3.

Instead this attack might spell the beginning of the end for the savage regime that has ruled Iran since 1979. They have been crippled by US sanctions and widespread demonstrations in the streets have left the ayatollahs fearful for their own survival. President Trump’s bold action will give the protesters, as well as their anti-Iranian counterparts in Iraq, hope that one day they might bring their oppressors down.

What are Iran’s military options? Soleimani put in place a network of terrorist proxies, not just in the Middle East but around the world. These might be used in a calibrated response to his death. The most powerful is Lebanese Hizballah, with tens of thousands of missiles in southern Lebanon, pointing at Israel. They exist to react to a US or Israeli attack on Iran. But they are a one-shot weapon: if launched they would be obliterated by Israel’s massive retaliation.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards could strike US warships or aircraft in the Gulf. Soleimani’s militias in the Middle East, especially Iraq, could attack US forces and diplomats. The same might happen in the US, Europe including the UK or elsewhere where sleeper cells await orders.

What should Britain do? We do have a dog in this fight. Apart from the ongoing threat to our interests in the Middle East, including from Iran’s nuclear programme, Soleimani’s proxies killed more than 1,000 British and US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan during the conflicts there. At the time I put forward to the prime minister an intelligence case for military action against this aggression. Continue reading

The ICC decision on Israel would make Himmler proud

Article published in The Jerusalem Post, 26 December 2019. © Richard Kemp

The ICC chief prosecutor’s hand is now controlled by organizations linked to the 3rd Reich.

SS Reichsfuhrer Heinrich Himmler, architect and director of the Holocaust, would be proud of the latest move by Fatou Bensouda, Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court. Intent on the total elimination of the Jewish race, Himmler supported Amin al-Huseini, Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, in his plans to eradicate the Jews in Palestine.

Now Bensouda and the ICC have joined the international campaign aimed at eliminating the Jewish state, led by al-Huseini’s successors. In a grotesque inversion, the ICC, heir to the Nuremberg war crimes tribunal, has become a propaganda weapon of anti-Semitic hate. This represents a shameful betrayal of its honourable anti-Nazi progenitor. Its path more closely resembles that of the Nazis’ notorious People’s Court, the Volksgerichthof, than the Nuremberg trials.

Nuremberg laid low many of the Nazi monsters that perpetrated the Holocaust. The ICC chief prosecutor’s hand is now controlled by organizations linked to the 3rd Reich. The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, Al-Haq, Addameer and Al-Dameer, Palestinian NGOs backed by EU and Swiss funds, have been lobbying the ICC to bring prosecutions against Israel for more than a decade according to the Israeli research institute NGO Monitor. All are connected to the Palestinian group PFLP whose founding leaders in the 1970s were trained in terrorism and political warfare by former SS Colonel Otto Skorzeny and Dr Gerhard Hartmut von Schubert, once of Josef Goebbels’s propaganda ministry. Continue reading

Turkey’s shameful support for Hamas terrorists could provoke a full-scale Middle East war

Article published in The Daily Telegraph, 19 December 2019. © Richard Kemp

An investigation by this paper has made clear that Hamas terrorists have been planning attacks against Israel from Turkey. President Erdogan knows this but denies it. He even denies that Hamas is a terrorist organisation despite the group’s categorisation as such by the US and EU.

According to Erdogan, Hamas is ‘a resistance movement trying to protect its country under occupation’. This is a lie. In fact, Erdogan’s support for Hamas is itself an act of aggression against Israel. In 2015 Turkey agreed to prevent Hamas planning attacks from its territory but has never done so. This inaction harms Israel but is even more damaging to the Palestinian people. Rather than developing Gaza, which it has controlled since Israel left in 2005, Hamas has consistently used the Strip as a base to attack the Jewish state.

Millions of dollars of international aid have been diverted to stockpiling missiles and other weaponry, digging attack tunnels and funding strikes against Israel. Much has also been diverted into the personal bank accounts of Hamas leaders who have been branded the wealthiest terrorists in the world. Not only have Gazans been deprived of much-needed economic development, hospitals, schools, utilities and humanitarian supplies, they have also been blockaded by Israel to protect its own citizens from attack. This has in turn intensified the hardship and suffering faced by ordinary Palestinians.

By encouraging and facilitating Hamas, Erdogan has helped make this situation worse. But any concern he may have for the Continue reading

Friend of hate

Article published in The Sun, 3 December 2019. © Richard Kemp

Never in history has a more dangerous man been a contender for leadership of any Western democracy.

Corbyn has consistently sided with those that wish us harm. When IRA terrorists bombed the Cabinet at Brighton, his response was to invite two convicted volunteers of the murderous organisation to the House of Commons.

And when Russian assassins were sent on a murder mission to Salisbury, Corbyn failed to condemn the Kremlin and called for further proof of state-sponsored involvement.

He calls Hamas and Hezbollah his ‘friends’ and appeared to take part in a ceremony honouring a terrorist involved in the Munich Olympics massacre.

He said the death of Bin Laden was a tragedy and wanted the leader of IS arrested not killed. The same with British jihadists Mohammed Emwazi and Sally-Anne Jones.

His deputies John McDonnell and Diane Abbott demanded the closure of MI5, the security agency that protects us from terrorists.

With Corbyn as PM how could our allies trust us with their most sensitive secrets?

The US and Israel, vital sources of life-saving intelligence, have reluctantly drawn up plans to restrict co-operation in the event of a Corbyn premiership.

Corbyn has made it clear he would never press the nuclear trigger nor order troops into battle.

But credible deterrence is the best way to prevent conflict. Corbyn would subvert our military deterrence and endanger British lives.

Jeremy Corbyn’s warped judgement would endanger our national security

Article published in The Daily Telegraph, 3 December 2019. © Richard Kemp

Imagine being the policeman who pulls the trigger in the grainy video of the attack at London Bridge on Friday. A man stabbed several people but is being constrained by passers-by and police. You think maybe he can be stopped with non-lethal force, always the priority. Then you see his suicide vest. The lives of all the people around him are suddenly in your hands. You have a split second to decide on life or death on the streets of the capital. As you aim and squeeze you have to know you will be supported — from the very top.

The most effective way to deal with a suicide bomber is shoot him in the head, stopping his brain to prevent him pressing the switch that detonates his explosives. I devised and implemented these procedures for British forces when they first met this specific threat, at around the time the police introduced Operation Kratos, their equivalent. It is a shoot-to-kill policy.

Jeremy Corbyn described the killing of the architect of history’s most devastating suicide attack, Osama Bin Laden, as ‘a tragedy’. He has equivocated over the elimination of Islamic State leader al Baghdadi, implying he could have been arrested rather than killed by US special forces.

He expressed the same reservations over the killing of British Islamic State jihadists Mohammed Emwazi and Sally-Anne Jones who he said should have been arrested rather than killed.

All this betrays his prioritisation of the human rights of our enemies above those of their innocent victims. It shows dangerous naivety in a man who wants to take over responsibility for national security. Continue reading

London Bridge horror proves we need new solutions to 23,000 jihadists in the UK

Article published in The Sun, 1 December 2019. © Richard Kemp

Two innocent people are dead because of the Government’s refusal to confront the threat Britain faces from Islamic jihad.

The chilling reality is that we are trying to deal with people who are fighting a war against us, using a criminal justice system designed for ordinary crime.

Since 9/11 it has been obvious we have faced a new and different challenge.

The Americans quickly recognised this and opened Guantanamo Bay as a form of PoW camp.

Meanwhile, the UK Government has kept its head in the sand.

MI5 claim there are 23,000 jihadists here who are of concern.

Friday’s horror on London Bridge shows new solutions are urgently needed.

We must ban anyone who has fought jihad overseas from returning.

We must deport any non-British citizen suspected of involvement or support for terrorism.

We must devise a method of judicial administrative detention to imprison those who cannot be deported or properly convicted through the normal legal processes.

In short, we must fight fire with fire.

Islamic State leader killed in Syria

Article published in The Daily Express, 28 October 2019. © Richard Kemp

Some experts claim the death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is only a symbolic success against the Islamic State. That’s wrong. It’s a major blow to IS and Islamic jihadists around the world, at least as important as the killing of his former leader Osama Bin Laden in 2011.

Al-Baghdadi was a hugely influential and inspirational figure for radical Muslims everywhere, his claim to be directly descended from the prophet Muhammad’s grandson widely accepted. A Koranic scholar at the University of Baghdad, he had a religious authority that armed his followers to counter claims that IS was a distortion of Islam.

Al-Baghdadi had been on the run and his Islamic State in retreat for many months following intensive coalition attacks against them. His death signals their final defeat but only in its current form. It does not mean the end of al-Baghdadi’s brutal vision any more than Bin Laden’s death was the end of Al Qaida, which has since increased its strength in various parts of the world.

Two months ago he named his successor but experience shows that terrorist groups evolve like the hydra, sprouting multiple heads, with subordinate leaders freed to carry out their own malevolent and sometimes more effective plans. Al-Baghdadi himself gained power after the killing of his former boss Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, leader of Islamic State in Iraq.

As well as the Middle East, around the world from Afghanistan to the US and from the Philippines to Europe, many of those he led and inspired remain active. More than 50,000 jihadists flocked from 80 countries to join IS in Syria and Iraq. Many times that have joined the cause in their own countries, inspired by IS’s skilled social media campaign, with orders to attack where they are using whatever weapons are to hand. Continue reading

It’s time to buck up and help our heroes Captain Mercer – what’s happened to the promised new Ministry for Veterans?

Article published in The Sun, 26 September 2019. © Richard Kemp

Another Defence Committee report, another litany of betrayal of the men and women who sign up to fight for our country.

To add insult to injury, virtually all the failings listed in the latest report come up year after year, and some of them date back to the day I joined the Army 42 years ago.

As an infantry battalion commander in Londonderry, I discovered stalactites that would have impressed any geologist hanging from leaking water pipes in one of the Victorian accommodation blocks.

The squalid barracks we recently vacated near Cambridge had to be refurbished to make them fit for habitation by asylum seekers.

Troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan often found the living quarters there better than those they left behind in Britain.

As a taxpayer I am ashamed the Defence Committee reported yesterday that the same problems persist now.

Soldiers and their families do not expect to live in luxury but they do deserve hot showers and functioning central heating in winter.

Soldiers’ children are not only forced to endure degrading living conditions, many are also disadvantaged educationally by frequent movement as their parents are posted from garrison to garrison.

Again, as a commander I had to thump the desks of local headteachers and education authority bureaucrats to get them to admit Army children who had arrived during the school year.

The same problem also damages the quality of medical and dental treatment some spouses and children receive.

Forces families have been moving from barracks to barracks around the UK and overseas for hundreds of years.

Surely this problem can be completely eliminated in the 21st Century?

One of the greatest scandals the report highlights is the denial of the pensions owed to some war widows.

This only affects between 200 and 300 women, but each one has endured suffering and deprivation due to penny-pinching bureaucracy and lack of ministerial resolve. Continue reading

Ignore the anti-military propagandists. There are few better opportunities for the young than the Army

Article published in The Daily Telegraph, 22 August 2019. © Richard Kemp

GCSE results day is a time of celebration or sorrow for thousands of teenagers. It is also a day exploited by various NGOs and activists to have a go at the Army, who they accuse of luring disappointed 16-year-olds to sign up. True to form, this year it was the turn of Child Rights International Network to publish their report on results day.

CRIN say they’re worried about children’s rights being infringed by the opportunity to join the forces. But their real anti-military motive is betrayed in their press release that says young people “deserve better: meaningful civilian opportunities for education and employment”.

There can be few better opportunities for 16-year-olds, especially those from impoverished backgrounds who lack academic prowess, than junior military service that takes them seamlessly through education to life-long employment if they want it. The Army is the biggest apprenticeship provider in this country. But how would CRIN have a clue about this? I doubt any of them have served. They are Left-wing university graduates who could not contemplate the challenges facing youngsters lacking the advantages they themselves enjoyed.

I was once a junior soldiers’ instructor, part of a training regime that provided a unique grounding in discipline, leadership, sports and education leading to real academic qualifications, as well as full combat skills. Our young recruits took part in adventurous training activities including white water rafting, mountaineering and parachuting. Mentally and physically pitting themselves against the elements, the incalculable long-term benefits for a youngster’s Continue reading

The West must call Iran’s bluff or face the devastating consequences

Article published in The Daily Telegraph, 18 June 2019.  © Richard Kemp

Neither the US nor Iran wants war. President Trump was elected partly on a platform that sought to end long-running US involvement in conflict in the Middle East and South Asia. Even if he wanted it he knows better than to engage in a major war with Iran in the run-in towards the 2020 presidential election. Following the traumas of Iraq and Afghanistan he also knows he would be hard-pressed to find allies to fight alongside the US.

As for Iran, the ayatollahs know the immense damage that would be inflicted on their country by war with the US. That alone does not deter them — they would be willing to exchange the lives of thousands of their citizens for the chance to give the ‘Great Satan’ a bloody nose.

But they also know the regime would not survive and to them that is supremely important.

If they don’t want war why are they provoking the US by attacking shipping in the Gulf? Re-imposition of US sanctions following President Trump’s withdrawal from Obama’s nuclear deal has hurt them badly. Even to the extent that they now fear for the survival of the regime.

Their aggression is intended to show Trump that his actions come at a cost for the US and the world, with 30 per cent of global oil supplies passing through these waters. It is also designed to deter him from pushing for wider imposition of sanctions including by European countries.

An important side benefit is the expectation that US retaliation against Iran, short of war, would help rally the people to the regime and ease growing internal dissatisfaction. Continue reading