Catch21 - Our Charity ArmCatch21 is a charitable production company set up in 2005 which trains young people to make videos and engage with their communities.Catch Creative - Our Video Production ArmCatch Creative offers a complete video production service, from Conception to Distribution.Catch EngagementCatch Engagement is the new video interaction platform from Catch21 which allows you to run a campaign using both user generated films as well as professionally shot ones which are displayed via Video 'Walls'. Catch Engagement is all about using films to build an online community - welcome to the future of video.

We shoot cutting edge videos and provide a forum to give people a voice.
Engagement. Discussion. Empowerment.


All content featured on our charity site is produced by young volunteers with the support and mentoring of our professional production team.

Blog no image

Published on November 23rd, 2011 | by Dave Rublin
Image © [caption id="attachment_5775" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Flickr.com. All rights reserved by Ashnag"]Flickr.com. All rights reserved by Ashnag[/caption] Around the same time as American military researchers were testing the world’s most innovative drone technology on a military base in Ohio, Sheik Hassan Nasrallah—the leader of Hezbollah—appeared on Lebanese television in June to announce the dissolution of a CIA network operating within the terror organisation. After months of silence, American officials corroborated Nasrallah’s claims on Monday, a major reverse in the espionage struggle between the West (particularly the US and Israel) and Iran and its allies. While disconcerting, the news is far from surprising. Indeed, the recent revelations mark the continuation of an on-going trend of Western intelligence setbacks against these foes, for a simple reason: Western intelligence collection methods have evolved since 9/11 to counter dispersed and loosely organised terror networks, a development poorly suited to infiltrating the cohesive and geographically concentrated forces in Iran and Lebanon. Indeed, while Iran and Hezbollah possess a relatively unambiguous array of threats (and can thus minimise their disadvantages in technology and resources by devoting their efforts to counterintelligence operations), the West’s constantly evolving threat matrix in the past decade demanded trade-offs between the short-term necessity of interdicting transnational al-Qaeda operations and the long-term need to curtail Iran’s regional influence. Although the Western powers understandably decided to shift their intelligence focus to counterterrorism operations and the accompanying reliance on communications intelligence and remote surveillance, the quality of Western human intelligence has suffered. However, the rise of well-organised Islamist blocs during the Arab Spring, the declining potency of al-Qaeda, and the increasing menace of Iran’s nuclear programme points to a shift back towards the greater threat posed by well-structured hierarchies in the Middle East, with the West needing to adjust its strategic approach to intelligence collection if they hope to turn the tide in the shadow war.

0

Spy Games: Western Intelligence Collection and Evolving Threats in the Middle East

Flickr.com. All rights reserved by Ashnag

Flickr.com. All rights reserved by Ashnag

Around the same time as American military researchers were testing the world’s most innovative drone technology on a military base in Ohio, Sheik Hassan Nasrallah—the leader of Hezbollah—appeared on Lebanese television in June to announce the dissolution of a CIA network operating within the terror organisation. After months of silence, American officials corroborated Nasrallah’s claims on Monday, a major reverse in the espionage struggle between the West (particularly the US and Israel) and Iran and its allies. While disconcerting, the news is far from surprising. Indeed, the recent revelations mark the continuation of an on-going trend of Western intelligence setbacks against these foes, for a simple reason: Western intelligence collection methods have evolved since 9/11 to counter dispersed and loosely organised terror networks, a development poorly suited to infiltrating the cohesive and geographically concentrated forces in Iran and Lebanon. Indeed, while Iran and Hezbollah possess a relatively unambiguous array of threats (and can thus minimise their disadvantages in technology and resources by devoting their efforts to counterintelligence operations), the West’s constantly evolving threat matrix in the past decade demanded trade-offs between the short-term necessity of interdicting transnational al-Qaeda operations and the long-term need to curtail Iran’s regional influence.

Although the Western powers understandably decided to shift their intelligence focus to counterterrorism operations and the accompanying reliance on communications intelligence and remote surveillance, the quality of Western human intelligence has suffered. However, the rise of well-organised Islamist blocs during the Arab Spring, the declining potency of al-Qaeda, and the increasing menace of Iran’s nuclear programme points to a shift back towards the greater threat posed by well-structured hierarchies in the Middle East, with the West needing to adjust its strategic approach to intelligence collection if they hope to turn the tide in the shadow war.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


About the Author

Dave is a recent graduate from the London School of Economics and Political Science, where he received his MSc in Comparative Politics -- Conflict Studies stream.



Back to Top ↑