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Europe’s cities have got used to increased security threat

Europe’s cities have had to get used to the fact that, of late, the terror threat they face has increased both in size and complexity. The atrocities in Barcelona and Cambrils1 are the latest examples of this. The continent’s police and security agencies have long known that the demise of the so-called Islamic State would signal an increase in the tempo of attacks, and definitely not an end to the threat of Islamist extremists. Three attacks in the UK in as many months were the first indication of the nightmare scenario they feared; that the leaders of this rapidly disintegrating so-called caliphate would compel their footsoldiers to launch attacks across the West. After all, the model for this kind of scenario played out more than a decade ago, when the most feared terror group at that time, al Qaeda, felt the full wrath of coalition airstrikes and ground operations.

Al Qaeda’s leaders urged their followers to strike back – and they duly did, launching attacks in London in 2005 and here in Spain in the capital, Madrid, a year earlier. For the security services, the complicating factor this time around is not just that IS has fully trained killing machines who have trodden the battlefields of Syria and Iraq. The terror group has an even larger army of “sleeper” extremists in towns and cities across the European continent and beyond. Most of these radicalised individuals – 3,500 in the UK alone – have never even been to the Middle East . They learned their deadly craft online. And increasingly they have turned to a less sophisticated, but just as deadly, mode of attack. What do we mean by less sophisticated ?

Vehicles and knives . Essentially everyday items that were never meant to murder or maim. Security sources have told me that they face a two-pronged threat. Alongside those battle-hardened jihadis are the violent wannabe jihadis who lack the skills, but are just as determined to inflict their brand of misery – often on their own communities. Authorities here in Spain and elsewhere in Europe have noticed an alarming increase in the number of those who seem to choose the path of violence.

Most of these plots get disrupted before they have a chance to kill and injure innocent civilians, but sadly some slip through the net.

The unfortunate truth here, is that a net increase in plots will result in a net increase in successful attacks.

References

  1. ^ Barcelona and Cambrils (news.sky.com)

Europe’s cities face threat of ‘sleeper’ extremists

Europe’s cities have had to get used to the fact that, of late, the terror threat they face has increased both in size and complexity. The atrocities in Barcelona and Cambrils1 are the latest examples of this. The continent’s police and security agencies have long known that the demise of the so-called Islamic State would signal an increase in the tempo of attacks, and definitely not an end to the threat of Islamist extremists. Three attacks in the UK in as many months were the first indication of the nightmare scenario they feared; that the leaders of this rapidly disintegrating so-called caliphate would compel their footsoldiers to launch attacks across the West. After all, the model for this kind of scenario played out more than a decade ago, when the most feared terror group at that time, al Qaeda, felt the full wrath of coalition airstrikes and ground operations.

Al Qaeda’s leaders urged their followers to strike back – and they duly did, launching attacks in London in 2005 and here in Spain in the capital, Madrid, a year earlier. For the security services, the complicating factor this time around is not just that IS has fully trained killing machines who have trodden the battlefields of Syria and Iraq. The terror group has an even larger army of “sleeper” extremists in towns and cities across the European continent and beyond. Most of these radicalised individuals – 3,500 in the UK alone – have never even been to the Middle East . They learned their deadly craft online. And increasingly they have turned to a less sophisticated, but just as deadly, mode of attack. What do we mean by less sophisticated ?

Vehicles and knives . Essentially everyday items that were never meant to murder or maim. Security sources have told me that they face a two-pronged threat. Alongside those battle-hardened jihadis are the violent wannabe jihadis who lack the skills, but are just as determined to inflict their brand of misery – often on their own communities. Authorities here in Spain and elsewhere in Europe have noticed an alarming increase in the number of those who seem to choose the path of violence.

Most of these plots get disrupted before they have a chance to kill and injure innocent civilians, but sadly some slip through the net.

The unfortunate truth here, is that a net increase in plots will result in a net increase in successful attacks.

References

  1. ^ Barcelona and Cambrils (news.sky.com)

Cisco’s security business revenue misses estimates, shares drop

(Reuters) – Cisco Systems Inc’s (CSCO.O1) quarterly revenue in its closely-watched security business missed analysts’ estimates, raising concerns about the world’s largest networking gear maker’s efforts to transform into a software-focused company.

The company’s shares fell about 2.5 percent in after-hours trading on Wednesday.

With its traditional business of making switches and routers struggling, Cisco, like other legacy technology firms, has been focusing on high-growth areas such as security, the Internet of Things and cloud computing.

The security business, which offers firewall protection and breach detection systems, has been Cisco’s fastest growing, until the last two quarter.

Revenue growth at the business slowed to 3 percent in the latest fourth quarter from 16 percent a year earlier and 9 percent in the previous quarter.

Chief Executive Chuck Robbins, the architect of Cisco’s transformation plan, said he had “zero concerns” about the security business, while Chief Financial Officer Kelly Kramer forecast an uptick in revenue in the next quarter.

Analyst Patrick Moorhead of Moor Insights & Strategy said the next two quarter would indicate the health of the security business.

“I’m not concerned yet with Cisco’s security numbers as many of their security innovations are linked to other businesses like switching,” he said.

Cisco’s switches and routers businesses easily its two biggest have been struggling due to sluggish demand from telecom carriers and enterprise customers.

Revenue in each of the two businesses fell 9 percent in the quarter, missing analysts’ expectations, according to financial and data analytics firm FactSet.

While security business revenue of $558 million fell short of analysts estimates of $580.5 million, according to FactSet, Cisco’s overall revenue was supported by its data center business and wireless business, which is now is fastest growing.

Cisco’s overall revenue fell for the seventh straight quarter, but the near 4 percent decline to $12.13 billion was in line analysts’ estimates of $12.1 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Cisco’s net income fell 13.8 percent to $2.42 billion, or 48 cents per share .

Excluding one-time items, it earned 61 cents per share, matching analysts’ estimates.

The company expects revenue to fall 1 percent to 3 percent in the current quarter .

That was in line with Wall Street’s expectations, as was Cisco’s adjusted earnings forecast.

Cisco’s stock has gained about 7 percent so far this year, well below the near 24 percent gain in the S&P 500 technology index .SPLRCT and a 10.2 percent increase in the S&P 500 .SPX2.

Reporting by Laharee Chatterjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D’Souza

References

  1. ^ CSCO.O (uk.reuters.com)
  2. ^ .SPX (uk.reuters.com)