Thursday, May 25, 2017

Soldiers on UK Streets












British troops take on duties to guard high profile buildings. Photo credit: Eddie Mulholland for The Telegraph

Terror attacks are becoming almost routine – these have occurred in major cities around the world: Berlin, Brussels, Cairo, Istanbul, Jakarta, London, Paris, Stockholm. A long list. 
 
And the latest is Manchester, UK on Monday night.
 
A suicide bomber had targeted the Ariana Grande concert at the Manchester Arena. Twenty-two people died in addition to the man responsible for the attack. And fifty-nine other concert goers were injured.
 
By Wednesday, almost one thousand soldiers were deployed on UK streets.
 
This is Operation Temperer – the government plan to put thousands of soldiers on the streets in response to a major terrorist threat. [Note: It was devised in 2015 and had been a secret until it was accidentally leaked to a newspaper].
 
A terror attack in the UK has been highly likely since August 2014. Now the country has been put on ‘critical’ alert – meaning an attack is expected imminently.
 
Prime Minister Theresa May (left) made the bold decision to deploy up to 5,000 armed troops to guard key strategic sites – in a resolute show of force.
 
This put May at odds with her predecessor David Cameron who was reluctant to use the controversial power.
 
Cameron was fearful that implementing the said plan would provoke comparisons to the violent troubles in Northern Ireland, when British soldiers patrolled the streets for decades.
 
He was also worried that it might give the impression that the government had lost control and was imposing martial law.
 
The only other Prime Minister in recent times to deploy soldiers in mainland Britain in response to a terrorist threat was Tony Blair, who sent tanks and 450 members of the armed forces to guard airports in 2003 after warnings of a plot to bring down an airliner.
 
He was strongly criticized for risking undue panic, and military chiefs have since warned that once soldiers are deployed, it is difficult to justify pulling them back without also lowering the terrorist threat level.
 
The fact of the matter is the global jihadist insurgency is flourishing. And its evil tentacles are spreading in every direction.
 
Time to get the soldiers out of the barracks.

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