Now that it has been confirmed that yet again the tactics of the terror organizations and their sponsors have used a suicide bomber to create carnage against innocent civilians including children, I believe that it is time to awaken the world and especially Jews to the fact that each and every one of us is a potential target. This statement is not one that is intended to create panic and fear or even one of relaying a message of paranoia but one of serious concern.
It is known that Jewish communities throughout the world have been and probably will always be targets of cowardly terror attacks. Through various safety and security methods that have been put in place over years and upgraded constantly to deter the threats we face, we have been almost always fortunate in preventing so many more brutal attempts at taking Jewish lives.
Yes, the security and emergency services in Bulgaria are certainly lacking in their resources to effectively cope with an event of terror that is so overwhelming that only those of us who have unfortunately witnessed them can understand but the very complacency and perhaps even ignorance of their preventative security procedures and programs are certainly something that need to be closely looked at.
With the knowledge that only in February this year they were provided with credible information about an imminent terror attack and in fact I believe that it was thwarted should not have allowed them to let their guard down. Having said this there are always holes in the layers of security procedures we create to stop these vicious attacks and the terror organizations have again seen and learned that the suicide bomber is a tactic that is certainly stealth and it works. It allows the bomber to get to within the range of his or her target and basically attack and destruct at will whereas an improvised explosive device (IED), sniper or hand-held rocket launcher is always easier to detect.
We must also accept that the “Arab Spring” has and will not produce any flowers apart from those that are commonly placed on graves and that the dangers of Syria and their chemical weapons are real and gravely dangerous.
It was only this morning that the Jerusalem Post’s Jacob Katz used the word “WAR” in his article and I analyze this and come to the conclusion that he knows that all the dots are being connected and the terror picture we have again tragically seen painted in blood in Burgos, Bulgaria have the potential to lead to war as they have the signature of Iran and or their terror offspring.
The Syrian regime is on its last legs. The Iranians are working around the clock with a specially assigned group of 60 scientists to make sure that they achieve a nuclear bomb as quickly as possible. The Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood who is now firmly in control of Egypt will no doubt pose a major threat to Israel in different forms in the near future; at first using Hamas again to escalate the violence with their rockets and missiles and let us not forget the other terror organizations who all certainly see the obvious weakness of The United States as a platform and an opportunity to achieve their goals.
It should be noted that an American passport and Michigan driver’s license was found at the scene of the blast and this certainly leads to speculation as to if an American citizen carried out this attack or if the documents found were fraudulent?
Today we will see Israeli’s returning from a vacation that they never had the opportunity to enjoy. We will see yet again bodies of Jews being returned from abroad in coffins and we will see funerals and heartache all over again. We will see the morale of so many being lowered if only for a few hours or days but for the few that have family or friends who were killed or injured this is a lifetime blow.
With 50,000 missiles pointed directly at Israel and the majority of them with no doubt at soft targets like schools, malls or large built up areas so typical of the cowards who plan these attacks. With the knowledge of the threats posed against Jews globally and the determination of these terrorists to succeed, I openly write and pose a question to my fellow Jews all over the world:
What response will this terror event lead to? What response should this terror event lead to and should there be a response at all?
From the perspective of local, state or federal law enforcement officers here in the US, should this terror attack in Bulgaria that only targeted Israeli citizens concern us? Absolutely!
According to a 2010 article published in the Jerusalem Post, Boston University researchers found that 6.5 million people in the US are Jewish by religion or self-identify as being Jewish.
This incident should have been a primary topic of conversation in EVERY law enforcement agency today but I doubt that it was. It was only 5 months ago on March 19th when a lone Muslim jihadist named Mohammed Merah attacked the Ozar Hatorah Jewish School in Touluse, France, murdering 3 children and the school’s rabbi.
In the Middle East and other parts of the world, the enemies of Israel call them the “Little Satan” and the United States the “Big Satan,” for our support of the state of Israel since its’ founding in 1948. Israel is the only true democracy in the Middle East and their enemies our out to destroy that. Simply put, Israel’s struggle is our struggle.
Jews are interwoven into the fabric of America for over a century. From small towns across the country to our major cities, Jewish-American citizens, leaders and institutions have been and will continue to be targets of homegrown and international terrorism. These institutions range from Jewish-owned business, community centers, private schools, universities and religious centers-all imbedded within our communities. What happened at the airport in Burgas, Bulgaria could have occurred at any US airport, school field trip, sporting or other civic event targeting Jews.
How would you and your agency respond to a suicide bombing? Does your agency have a terrorism policy in place? What terrorism training, if any has your department provided to your officers? If you or one of your officers were responding to a suspicious person call which upon arriving on-scene, turns out to be a potential suicide bomber, what measures are you prepared to take? Is your law enforcement facility target-hardened in the event of an attack? During your yearly firearms qualifications and training, are you training for terrorist scenarios such as VBIED’s, suicide bombers or multi-pronged active shooters attacks?
The above scenarios of attacks on police stations and training academies, schools, Christian, Jewish and other denominations religious facilities are playing out on a monthly basis namely in Nigeria, Egypt, Thailand, Iraq, Afghanistan, Europe, executed primarily by Muslim fundamentalist. Most of these terrorists are claiming responsibility for their attacks under the banner of their affiliated group like Hezbollah, al-Qaida, Boko Haram, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and so on. The names of these groups in reality mean little. It’s their message through fear, death, carnage that carries the meaning.
If you are patrol officer or investigator, do you think you could identify pre-operational surveillance of a target or identify once typical street crimes that now may have a nexus to terrorism? As a chief, sheriff, or senior commander, would you feel comfortable addressing your community, city, county or state leaders and tell them that your agency is prepared to handle the above incidents?
Does your agency have a working relationship with your Jewish, Christian and other religious, business and civic institutions? If not, you need to build a relationship with them and the sooner, the better.
After the March 19, 2012 Touluse, France attack, I was invited by the leaders of an educational institution to give a lecture to a large student body on security and terrorism. The first question
I asked the students was, “Who has ever heard of Touluse, France?” Every hand in the room went up. The questions I took from these kids were more in-depth than I get from most law enforcement officers on the topic of terrorism. At the age where they should only be concerned with good grades, sports and their friends, these kids acknowledged that they were a target and knew they had a role to play to be vigilant in their daily lives without living in unreasonable fear.
Overall, law enforcement agencies in the US are still operating with a 20th century mindset. Change comes hard in our profession but we’ve been given the warning signs for years now to move this profession forward. 21st century policing MUST have counterterrorism as one its main missions, no matter what the size of your agency. Not doing so is ignorance and unacceptable. The next attack is inevitably on the horizon and the clock is ticking.
By Marc Kahlberg and Brian J. Smith
Marc Kahlberg is an International security consultant specializing in perimeter protection. He is a professional advisor and trains both law enforcement and the private sector on issues of counter terrorism. Marc is a former IDF soldier and Israel National Police commander. During his career, he responded to and investigated many terror attacks and has been physically witnessed several of them. He is the founder and CEO of M.K. International Security Consulting, Ltd., one of Israel’s top homeland security solutions companies. Marc can be reached at [email protected] or visit the company websites at www.mkisc.com and www.iscIsrael.com
The co-author of this article is Brian J. Smith, a 16-year veteran officer and detective with a Boston-area police department. He is the agency’s intelligence and anti-terrorism officer and Terrorism Liaison Officer to the Department of Homeland Security. Brian is a DHS-certified antiterrorism instructor, firearms instructor, and specializes in dignitary/close-protection training. He is a former member of the US Army Military Police, where he began his counterterrorism training and law enforcement career. Brian is the president of BJ Smith Consulting, LLC and also serves as the U.S. Director of Operations for M.K. International Security Consulting, Ltd. Brian consults throughout the US and internationally on mass-casualty response, cultural/ethnic diversity, and counterterrorism for local law enforcement. Brian regularly brings US-based public safety professionals to Israel to train with the Israel National Police and security forces.
Brian can be reached at [email protected] or visit the company websites at www.mkisc.com and www.iscIsrael.com