Minister says Britons fighting with Daesh are ‘legitimate targets’

A file photo of Daesh fighters (AFP)
Updated 07 December 2017
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Minister says Britons fighting with Daesh are ‘legitimate targets’

LONDON: British nationals who left to fight for Daesh abroad should be “eliminated,” said newly appointed UK Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson.

The senior Cabinet minister suggested in an interview with the Daily Mail that armed forces were deliberately targeting British militants in Syria or Iraq.

“I do not believe that any terrorist, whether they come from this country or any other, should ever be allowed back into this country,” he said. “We should do everything we can do to destroy and eliminate that threat.”

Williamson said militants in Libya, Iraq and Syria were plotting attacks in the UK. It is believed that more than 800 UK citizens have gone to fight for Daesh, including teenagers, women and young families.

In response to Arab News, a spokesperson for the Defence Ministry said that British nationals who left to fight with Daesh have made themselves “a legitimate target” and should be “brought to justice, in the UK or within the region”

Other ministers also share the same view. In October, International Development Minister Rory Stewart also said “Their deaths (British Daesh fighters), like that of executioner Jihadi John, will protect the UK.”

However, Associate Professor of Criminology at Birmingham City University, Dr. Imran Awan, told Arab News that this is not the solution and instead would bread more extremists.

“It’s all about rehabilitation,” Awan said, explaining how the UK should follow Denmark’s program of rehabilitation, which has been successful in the past.

Denmark, with the second-highest number of foreign fighters per capita, decided on a policy of not penalizing citizens who have returned from abroad after engaging in militant or extremist activity. The program offers counselling and assistance instead of jail time.

Like other criminals, Awan says that suspected militants should have the right to a fair trail and be prosecuted within the British legal system.

“Anyone who commits a crime must be arrested and imprisoned, but there are programs that the government could follow to deradicalize these individuals and insure that they are no longer a threat to society,” he said.


French audit warns 840 bridges may face risk of collapse

Updated 19 August 2018
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French audit warns 840 bridges may face risk of collapse

  • The audit says says a third of the 12,000 government-maintained bridges in France need repairs
  • About 7 percent, or about 840 bridges, present a “risk of collapse” in the coming years if spending is kept at current levels

PARIS: An audit commissioned by the French government says about 840 French bridges are suffering from serious damage and at risk of collapse in the coming several years.
President Emmanuel Macron’s government had already promised new infrastructure spending, but is coming under new pressure after Tuesday’s bridge collapse in neighboring Italy that killed 43 people.
The audit, published Sunday by the Journal du Dimanche newspaper, says a third of the 12,000 government-maintained bridges in France need repairs. About 7 percent, or about 840 bridges, present a “risk of collapse” in the coming years if spending is kept at current levels, the audit says.
The audit doesn’t address thousands of other French bridges maintained by private companies or local authorities, which have seen budget cuts in recent years.
The government released a summary of the audit last month, blaming previous administrations for inconsistent and inadequate road funding, and saying the growth of traffic and increasing episodes of extreme weather have worsened the problem.
The Transport Ministry didn’t respond to requests for comment Sunday. Transport Minister Elisabeth Borne told broadcaster Franceinfo last week that bridge “maintenance is our priority” and announced plans for a 1 billion-euro (($1.14 billion) plan to “save the nation’s roads,” including bridges and tunnels. She reiterated plans for a new infrastructure law after the summer holidays.
The Genoa bridge collapse has shined a spotlight on road maintenance in Italy. Italian investments in roads sank most dramatically among the top five European economies after the 2008 economic crisis, never fully recovering, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.