Stratfor Vice President : ISIS remain a potent insurgent and terrorist force in Iraq and Syria - Exclusive Interview

  06 December 2017    Read: 2149
Stratfor Vice President : ISIS remain a potent insurgent and terrorist force in Iraq and Syria - Exclusive Interview
Scott Stewart, STRATFOR’s VP, Tactical Intelligence gave an interview to
-Donald Trump has recently stated that construction of a wall on the border with Mexico will cost $18 billion. Meanwhile, pranksters have purchased lands on the border of the USA and Mexico not to allow to construct a wall. As a result of it, Border Patrol Agent on the border with Mexico died, one more got seriously injured. Tell me please, what do you think of the further scenario of the succession of events if the USA constructs a wall on the border with Mexico? What can all this lead to?

-First, the Border Patrol officer incident appears to have been an accident, not an assault. Secondly, there is currently a wall along a very good portion of the U.S. Mexico border already (See below.) So I really don't see a lot of consequences. The US/Mexico border is already very busy in terms of commerce passing through the land border, and I do not believe that will change even if the US expands the wall. Cross-border trade is too important for both countries.

I believe that President Trump is learning that the promises he made as candidate Trump may be very hard to fulfil for a number of reasons now that he is President, and I sincerely doubt if he will be able to complete a wall along the entire US/Mexico border during his presidency. The financial cost and the number of other political barriers will stand in his way.

- As you know, ISIS has lost the positions in Syria and Iraq. As a result, they couldn't establish a caliphate. However, now they are thinking of selecting another strategy. How do you think what ISIS will do?

I believe that the Islamic State will behave very much like the Islamic State in Iraq did after it's defeat in 2007. They will not be able to hold and govern territory like they once did, but they will nevertheless remain a potent insurgent and terrorist force in Iraq and Syria. Their franchise groups in other parts of the world will also remain a threat for the foreseeable future, as will the grassroots jihadists who respond to their online calls for attacks. So they won't really "go" anywhere they will just once again melt into the local human terrain.

- According to reports of the international organizations, many fighters of ISIS come back home following the defeat in Syria and Iraq. Do they pose any danger to the countries?

Yes, Islamic State returnees do pose a threat that must be taken seriously. However, it has not proved to be the horrific threat many feared. It is more like a low-level persistent threat. Fortunately, only very few of these fighters have learned advanced terrorist tradecraft, but most of them have received training in guerrilla warfare and can still kill people. Countries all over the world need to take this threat seriously and take steps to identify these fighters and take measures to mitigate the threat they pose. There also needs to be a great effort made to rehabilitate and de-radicalize these fighters and their families.

- World powers express their concerns over the terrorism in the world, condemn terrorism, but don't unite their effort in the fight against this danger. What is the reason for it? Why don’t the big countries want to unite their efforts in the fight against terrorism?

The reason for the lack of unity on this front is politics and competing for national interests. They can all agree that some groups such as the Islamic State and al Qaeda are bad, but there are other groups that they have differing opinions about. Many countries also use terrorism as an excuse to clamp down on domestic opposition groups.

Scott Stewart is a former Diplomatic Security Service Special Agent who was involved in hundreds of terrorism investigations, most notably the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and the follow-on New York City bomb plot investigation, during which he served as lead investigator for the U.S. State Department.

Seymour Mammadov

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