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Operation Gallant Phoenix

In March 2015 Sean Naylor reported on a "U.S.-led multinational effort named Operation Gallant Phoenix, aimed at tracking the foreign fighter flow into Iraq and Syria. Begun as an initiative under Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), which controls the military’s most elite special operations units, and JSOC’s higher administrative headquarters, U.S. Special Operations Command, it has expanded to include participation by U.S. Central Command and U.S. European Command... Although sometimes referred to as the “foreign fighter task force,” Gallant Phoenix doesn’t have troops of its own to send out on raids or direct assaults and instead passes on the information it receives to allied countries. "

In November 2016 Thomas Gibbons-Neff and Dan Lamothe, writing in the Washington Post on November 25, 2016, reported that "The Obama administration was giving the elite Joint Special Operations Command .... expanded power to track, plan and potentially launch attacks on terrorist cells around the globe, a move driven by concerns of a dispersed terrorist threat as Islamic State militants are driven from strongholds in Iraq and Syria ... Known as the “Counter-External Operations Task Force,” the group will be designed to take JSOC’s targeting model — honed over the last 15 years of conflict — and export it globally... the task force ... will initially draw on an existing multinational intelligence operation in the Middle East that tracks foreign fighters, called Gallant Phoenix..."

Breaking Defense contributor James Kitfield spoke with Gen. Joe Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, June 16, 2017. Dunford spoke of "a broad intelligence and information sharing network that we have established with the members of the anti-ISIS coalition, who all share a common view of this threat of ISIS foreign fighters. A critical part of that effort is Operation Gallant Phoenix, an intelligence sharing arrangement that started out with eight or so countries, and has since expanded to 19 nations who have committed to sharing this intelligence. We’re in the process of trying to expand that initiative to even more countries. Gallant Phoenix allows allied nations not only to share intelligence on the foreign fighter threat, but also to get that information back to their law enforcement and homeland security agencies so they have visibility on the movement of foreign fighters in order to deal with this challenge.

" .... commanders on the ground have tried to meet that goal of annihilating the enemy in order to mitigate the risk of these terrorists showing up someplace else."

Germany's Federal Intelligence Service (BND) is participating in a US-led covert operation against Daesh militants, according to German magazine Der Spiegel. German officers have reportedly been involved in Gallant Phoenix since October 2017. The initiative includes 21 countries and is controlled from the US military base in Jordan.

The purpose of the mission is to collect information about Daesh militants by analyzing documents and examining their DNA traces and fingerprints have been found in the group's former strongholds in Syria and Iraq. The magazine reported that the BND considers the operation extremely important for countering Daesh and preventing possible terrorist attacks in Europe.

The German government and the intelligence agency have not yet commented on the magazine's revelation. In late 2017, Daesh suffered an overwhelming defeat in Syria and Iraq, with the terrorist group being driven out from over 96 percent of the territory it once held and failing to reach its goal to establish a caliphate in the region.

In an attempt to mask its losses in Syria and Iraq, Daesh has started to increasingly commit terrorist acts beyond the Middle Eastern region, raising more and more security concerns among European politicians. In 2017, Islamist terrorism has assumed new dimensions in Europe, as a series of vehicle rampages and stabbing massacres hit its largest cities.

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Page last modified: 05-02-2018 13:09:20 ZULU