In December 2012, Al Jazeera asked an elite forum, the “International Security Forum” (ISF), to answer some questions about the world’s most powerful terrorist organisation.
The forum has been around since the 1980s and has a strong presence on Twitter and other social media.
In the following interview, Aljazeera spoke to some of the ISF’s top experts and analysts to learn more about the forum.
Aljaneem Al-Amin: Why are the top security experts, like Sir Richard Dearlove, the former British counter-terrorism chief, and the head of the UK’s National Security Council, warning about a rise in ISF members?
What are the ISFs top priorities and how will they be able to deal with a potential spike in ISM members?
David Leigh: The main agenda for ISF meetings is to determine what is the most effective way to confront terrorist threats.
In recent years, it has become increasingly clear that there is a large increase in the numbers of foreign fighters and foreign nationals joining the ISM.
Many are disillusioned with the jihadist narrative, and they are seeking alternative narratives, so that they can leave their homelands and join ISM, a group that does not necessarily align with the IS narrative.
There are also reports of a growing number of ISM sympathisers and foreign fighters returning to the UK from countries such as Syria, where they are not officially recognised as citizens.
In addition, the number of foreign nationals entering the UK, including those returning from Syria, has increased in recent years.
We have seen a number of incidents involving foreign nationals who are attempting to enter the UK on false documents.
We are also seeing an increasing number of people trying to travel from countries where ISM is not recognised.
It is clear that foreign fighters, foreign nationals and ISM supporters are increasingly taking up arms to fight the IS, so we need to focus on strengthening our defences and our capacity to detect, identify and track these individuals.
What is the ISRF’s role in counter-terror?
Is it a global organisation?
Are its activities limited to foreign fighters?
David Aylward: The ISRF has a global mission.
It aims to promote a peaceful, democratic and tolerant world.
However, we recognise that some of our members are members of international terrorist organisations and are not necessarily aligned with the extremist ideology.
We also recognise that a rise of foreign jihadists and foreign sympathisers into the UK and the rest of Europe is a very serious concern.
We want to make sure that we are doing everything possible to protect the British public, to identify the individuals who are potentially dangerous and to take action against those who are.
Al Jazira: How will ISF officers work with local police and other agencies?
David Al-Bassam: We will be providing advice and advice on how best to respond to individuals who pose a threat to public safety.
We will also liaise with local authorities and relevant government bodies to advise on how we can assist them in their ability to do so.
David Leigh : In addition to our own officers, we are currently working with the National Police Chiefs Council, as well as the Counter Terrorism Command, to help them identify individuals and counter the threat posed by foreign fighters.
We hope that we can build upon this work over the next few years.
Al Ail: What are some of their biggest challenges?
David Lacey: One of the biggest challenges is that many of the people we are dealing with are young men and women.
The majority of them are from areas of conflict or conflict-affected regions of the world, so they are highly susceptible to extremist ideology, and often are not even aware of the threat that they pose.
The challenge is also in terms of their ability and willingness to co-operate with the authorities, because they are often unwilling to speak to police, or are not willing to talk to the police.
We cannot have that.
We need to identify and co-ordinate a lot of resources, and we need the best intelligence on the individuals and their motivations to identify them and try and stop them.
Al-Jazira : How do you ensure that those who do not comply with the law and are actively involved in IS activity are not punished?
David Denny: The first priority of the police is to find them, to arrest them and bring them to justice.
We must also be vigilant and alert in our response to any individual that we believe may be acting as an IS recruiter or is providing material support to IS.
It can be very difficult to establish the identities of those who may be involved in terrorism, but we do need to do everything possible so that we identify them, and take appropriate action.
Al Jazeera: Do you have any recommendations for other countries, especially those who have not had the experience of a terrorist attack, to take into account?
David Jolyon: It is a matter of time before someone is able to carry out a successful attack against the British people, and that will