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US terror alert irresponsible: Samnet

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A terror alert released by the U.S. embassy in South Africa is vague and extremely irresponsible, according to Dr. Faisal Suliman of the South African Muslim Network (Samnet). A warning was issued by the embassy on Tuesday that radicals may be targeting US interests in South Africa, and that information providing such are “specific and credible”.

But the alert is provoking skepticism amongst commentators, who feel the embassies failure to detail those specifics, including what interests are at risk and from which radical groups, will prove to have undue negative implications for the country. These include possible knocks on the investment sector, the rand/dollar exchange and overall public image.

“Even if it is down to the group that they are alluding to, or the type of threat they are actually talking about. I mean there are cyber threats, chemical warfare, and the more generalised bombings and shootings etc. I think given the implications, it would have been much more responsible from the U.S. government to be more specific,” said Suliman.

With the American government rarely shying away from publicising any information on ‘terrorist’ activity it may have, he said the threat was bordering on the realms of speculation. It also comes at a particularly opportunity time, with revelations that the ANC may seek to curb the trend of South African citizens serving as part of the Israeli Defence Force (IDF), of which the U.S. are allies.

The alert does not mark the first such potential ‘terrorist’ threat to the country, with longstanding claims that some radical groups may be running recruitment and training programmes in the country. Suliman said that it would be expected that with the scale of local and foreign intelligence agencies operating in South Africa, there would have much more information in these allegations.

“As far as local home-grown terrorism, there have been one or two self-styled experts that have been predicting these things, but they’ve not materialised. In fact SAMNET has raised this with the ministry of intelligence, the possibility of a false-flag operation and this is something that has been done all over the world for millennia,” he said, further suggesting that such a threat was playing on the hope of public hysteria.

Whilst highly skeptical, he stressed that the reality of the potential terrorist activity in S.A. should not be discounted. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)

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