UK spy chief Alex Younger believes the terrorism threat will persist for many years, a side-effect of “deep-seated global trends” such as the information revolution and globalization. It will remain even if Islamic State loses the territory it seized.
Speaking at a conference at the George Washington University in Washington, DC, Younger noted the security challenge posed by radical Islamists will not abate easily.
“Regrettably this is an enduring issue which will certainly be with us for our professional lifetime,” he said, adding that terrorism is a “flip side to some very deep-seated global trends, not least of all globalization, the reduction of barriers between us.”
Besides the globalization and information revolution, which has facilitated the “traveling” of extremist ideas, the economic and demographic factors as well as sectarian divide in the Middle East also serve as the foundation for terror and cannot be eradicated overnight, he said.
“Whilst it is wholly desirable to remove territory, you will have a persistent threat representing some of the deep fault lines that still exist in our world,” Younger stated. He acknowledged that while advances against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) in Syria and Iraq will deprive the jihadists of “ideological succor,” it requires “patience” and “long-term partnership” to fight the terrorism threat.
Although, there is still long way till the international community can resolve the issue, the intelligence exchange and enhanced cooperation between the security services of different countries are “doing a great deal to mitigate the threat.”
In order to successfully deal with the rising terrorism threat in the era of easy access to all sorts of information on the web, MI6 will hire extra 1,000 people by 2020 to add to the existing 2,500 staff to enhance security of its agents and operations, according to BBC Newsnight citing Whitehall sources.