Although it hasn’t been warm enough to go outside in a light jacket, I decided, today, it was time to do the necessary clearing of my winter pile of papers, clippings and magazines on my desk and accept that spring will come one day.
I am blessed with a wife who cleans out our junk mail right at our mail box into a garbage can provided by coop, but being a hoarder, there are certain items I grab and tuck onto my desk. What remained today were three items, which although miles apart in subject matter, are connected and very troublesome for our national security.
One of the catalogues, I was able to salvage, as my wife happily tossed them away, advertised as a new and exotic drone. One is small enough for your apartment and a larger model for your Central Park enjoyment. The second “type” drone I found in a press release from those who follow the news out of Moscow. The drone hyped by Moscow is being developed and operated as a “suicide” weapon. Suicide is the intentional causing one’s own death. An example would be those persons the Palestine Authority financially support, who choose the role of strapping a bomb to their body. That is suicide.
The Russian suicide drone is very different from drones we presently employ which are much large –more than 20 feet in length and carry rockets to be launched. The drone remains intact and is redeployed for another mission. The major news outlets have referred to the new Russian drone as a “suicide drone”, which on first blush is misleading, but on second thought makes total sense. Imagine a drone with all the capacity to sustain itself flying over a long distance, hover, choose its target and then destroy itself on impact. Now imagine several such drones flying in a semi-formation over an enemy battalion or city, and then simultaneously destroying itself upon not one but several designated targets.
First some background that is important to review: A report issued by the Dutch National Coordinator of Counterterrorism and Security reported that Muslim extremists are recruiting to radicalize European Muslims in schools, mosques and social groups. Notwithstanding ISIS’s loss of territory, it continues to be a significant terrorist threat. This is especially true for all those who fought with ISIS and are coming home to Europe. It becomes evident that ISIS and al-Qaida are using this quiet time in preparing to launch multiple attacks. In addition, hundreds of American commandos and other troops are leaving West Africa at the same moment terrorist attacks are intensifying and spreading across that continent.
Although there have been lulls in terrorist attacks in 2018—only 6 attacks in Europe, compared to 20 in 2017, we must not, cannot assume that international terrorism is on the decline. When we move from the European theatre to the United States, according to FBI figures shared with The Post, in the 2017 budget year there were about 110 people arrested in the United States, after being investigated for actions inspired by foreign terror groups such as the Islamic State and al-Qaeda. Of those, about 30 faced terrorism charges. Lawmakers are rightfully worried about domestic terrorism in the United States and want the FBI and the Justice Department to provide a complete accounting of the threat after recently disclosed data show arrests in such cases now outpace those in international terrorism probes.
The third prong of this discussion is a front page graph and lengthy article in the New York Times asserting that attacks by White Extremists are growing. More important, is their connection, however tenuous, to each other. In addition, the attacks in North America are more deadly.
If you put each of these developments side-by-side it is possible that the terrorist is on the cusp of changing how it might attack in a new, more dangerous and surgically applied way to inflict greater damage and to increase its psychological impact. Let me explain.
I have never visited Abu Dhabi, let alone attended an armaments exhibition but the blog “In Homeland Security” staff has led us thru a small section of an exhibit of the get-together of the world’s munitions and arms companies, as they walked the runway touting their latest methods for the most efficient ways of us killing each other. Most of us looking at the Paris fashion world (even the non-aware people such as myself) know the names of the world’s famous fashion designers, but how many of us know the name: Kalashnikov Group? You should.
Their designer product is on the lips of every person when there is a mass shooting in the United States—the infamous, deadly, accurate AK-47 assault rifle. It has become the most lethal tool across the globe. It is cheap, easy to use and best of all very efficient. In Homeland Security blog it claims that the United States “purchases secondhand Kalashnikov (AK-47) rifles for its allies in Syria and Afghanistan, rather than give them the more expensive American-made guns.” That in “arms” terms is a compliment.
Although it is widely known that the U.S. and Israel have incorporated suicide drones into their resources, the Russian government has the KUB drone designed and built by the people who brought us the AK-47. The KUB, as described, is faster, more accurate, delivers twice the explosive capacity and has a greater range than the devices presently slapped together by terrorists or the U.S. and Israel. “And unlike U.S. and Israeli exploding drones, the KUB will be ‘very cheap,’ said one of the Kalashnikov representatives.” The Russian corporate spokesperson described the drone as four feet wide, can fly for 30 minutes at a speed of 80 mph and carries six pounds of explosives. “That makes it roughly the size of a coffee table that can be guided to explode on a target 40 miles away.”
This weapon changes not only the face of warfare between major adversaries but the face of terrorism. If the KUB is as simple and cheap to make and is as accurate as described, then it is very conceivable that a well-funded terrorist organization can copycat its design and delivery. In addition, considering its size, it can be transported and delivered anywhere in the world with a little ingenuity. That is one side of this unsettling news. The other side is the rise in numbers of individual extremist and local extremist groups. They are not traveling to the United States, they are already here and are part of our society whether in Portland, California or Kansas or Charleston where attacks have occurred. They don’t have to smuggle a stolen Russian suicide drone. They can duplicate it right here at home.
I well remember 9/11, that day and the days following. Not only the psychological shock, but paranoia swept thru the City and the nation. The cancellation of air flights across the country. The swift shutting down of mass transit leaving people stranded. I can vividly recall the pictures of people running thru the streets to escape downtown Manhattan. And the smell that lingered for weeks.
Now visualize, not a 9/11 concentrate attack against two closely placed buildings, but five or six simultaneously launched suicide drones from a sparsely dense neighborhood in Queens or Westchester each carrying six pounds of the deadliest explosives, exploding into the towers of JFK and LaGuardia airports, the center of Times Square, Grand Central Station, and a number of highly dense towers spread out in Manhattan. That attack would close the City and paralyze the nation. ISIS and al-Qaeda and their subparts are not defeated, but much more important is that we have become more vulnerable to our own homegrown white extremists who think globally but act locally.
Richard Allan The Editor