Saturday, September 27, 2014

China and the ISIS Threat

Already grappling with a home-grown terrorism problem, should Beijing fear the Islamic State?

By Gary Sands

The Diplomat - September 26, 2014

The Islamic State (IS), also widely known as ISIS and ISIL, is apparently attempting to make good on its promise to attack nations who oppose them. A week ago, in the largest counterterrorism operation in Australian history, 800 federal and state police officers raided more than a dozen properties across Sydney, sparked by intelligence that IS was planning a public street killing as a demonstration of its reach.
The arrests in Sydney follow the arrest of two men in Brisbane last week for allegedly preparing to fight in Syria, recruiting jihadists and raising money for the al-Qaeda offshoot group Jabhat al-Nusra, also known as the Nusra Front. Australia estimates about 60 of its citizens are fighting for IS and the Nusra Front in Iraq and Syria. To date, 15 of those fighters had been killed, including two young suicide bombers. Within Australia, the government believes around 100 Australians are actively supporting extremist groups, recruiting fighters and coaching suicide bombers, as well as providing funds and equipment.
Australia is not alone in taking the threat from IS seriously: The New York Police Department’s top counterterrorism official stepped up security in Times Square on Wednesday following a recent Internet posting – purportedly authored by IS – that urged “lone wolf” terrorists to attack Times Square and other tourist spots. Also this week, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Yemen living in upstate New York, arrested earlier this year on charges of plotting to kill members of the U.S. military and others, faces new charges that he tried to aid the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq.