The Geo-Political Landscape
Following the recent rare speech by SIS Chief Alex Younger at St Andrews University, it comes as no surprise that Russia is on the agenda and clearly a focus. At a time characterised by the removal of physical boundaries brought about by the technological and internet evolution, some foes remain the same. Intelligence matters in Post-war Britain has been largely centred on the former Soviet Union, albeit at greater or lesser degrees depending on, frankly, economic factors. President Putin was once a senior member of the pre-FSB KGB and clearly still carries the torch passed down from an ex-military nomenklatura, still reminiscing over happier times. In an ideal world, the intelligence services, as with many civil service departments, should be a-political and continue with its job regardless of political persuasion. As the title suggest, Military Intelligence Section 6 also has a firm military footing and as with all the UK forces should be equally bipartisan. That said, the intelligence services have to remain acutely aware of the political environment in all areas across the globe and it is essential that specialists within the individual fields serves to map out the intricate and complicated links between opposing countries and forces.
The Terrorism Index
As one attack after another dominates international headlines – from Al Qaida's strike on the Ivory Coast to the Turkish city of Ankara, where at least 32 people have died in the second car bomb in under a month – 2016 already reflects the changing nature of global terrorism. The impact of terrorism has increased significantly since 2000, according to Vision of Humanity’s Global Terrorism Index 2015. There has been a more than ninefold increase in deaths from terrorism during this time – from 3,329 at the turn of the century, to 32,685 in 2014. From 2013 to 2014 alone, there was an 80% increase in deaths.
The year 2014 was the worst on record for terrorism across the globe. Terrorism remains highly concentrated in just five countries – 78% of deaths in 2014 were in Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Syria. However, the report argues that the impact of terrorism is spreading. In 2013, five countries experienced more than 500 deaths; in 2014 this number rose to 11. Sixty-seven countries experienced at least one death from terrorism last year – up from 59 the previous year.
The index includes an interactive map highlighting the impact of terrorism around the world. What does this tell us about the changing global situation?