UNSC

IS threat still looms large

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Vast area of instability may emerge from Mali to the borders of Nigeria as Da’esh or Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) affiliates in West Africa and the Sahel are on the rise and continue to operate with increasingly more autonomy.

“Da’esh affiliates in West Africa and the Sahel are on the rise and continue to operate with increasingly more autonomy. Should this trend persist, it is possible that a vast area of instability may emerge from Mali to the borders of Nigeria,” said Vladimir Voronkov, Under-Secretary-General, United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism to Security Council while presenting eighteenth report of the Secretary-General on the threat posed by Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

According to Voronkov Ethnic and regional disputes are conflating with the agenda of terrorist groups.

Despite a sizeable reduction in Daesh’s operational capacity in some regions, the considerable depletion of its financial reserves, and internal challenges due to the prolonged delay in announcing a new leader after the killing of his predecessor earlier in 2023, the risk of the group’s resurgence remains high.

While advocating for the use of relevant legal frameworks for prosecuting all acts of violence committed by terrorists by member states Natalia Gherman, Executive Director of the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED) said,” the prosecution rate for sexual and gender-based violence crimes remains low, despite these crimes being a recurring tactic.”

She also highlighted the misuse of new and emerging technologies, such as unmanned aircraft systems, by terrorist groups.

“The Abu Dhabi Guiding Principles, adopted in December, aim to counter this by guiding Member States’ responses to this and provide a framework for UN entities to design appropriate capacity-building initiatives,” she added.

Stressing that Africa and Central Asia are high-priority theatres for the resurgence of Da’esh, Jürgen Stock, Secretary General of the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL), highlighted the three axes of INTERPOL’s counter-terrorism work- biometrics, border security and battlefield information.

According to him, the biometrics mission in Somalia captured data on nearly 300 terrorist suspects via mobile devices. “It is in the darkness that Da’esh is most dangerous,” he stressed, cautioning against any false sense of security about the group’s waning

Da’esh remains a formidable adversary, despite its setbacks in Iraq and Syria, it may seize on opportunities to metastasize by taking advantage of the volatility and conflict in the Middle East, in West Africa and the Sahel.

Though the Russian Delegation accused the Western powers of committing grave violations under the pretext of counter-terrorism in Afghanistan, Libya, Iraq and Syria as well as during the many years of the French military presence in the Sahel.

It added that, “It will not be possible to eradicate terrorism as long as terrorists and extremists are used by a number of Western States to overthrow regimes that have fallen out of favor.”

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