Personal Liberty Poll
As Americans continue to try to understand how Iraq, a nation the U.S. occupied for more than a decade, is so rapidly becoming a playground for brutal Islamic extremists, defense and intelligence experts say that an American response to the extremist threat will be difficult to formulate because the necessary intel is lacking.
U.S. officials realize that the Islamic threat currently growing in Iraq could have direct implications for U.S. security, a notion demonstrated by the Navy’s mobilization of the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush and two other U.S. Navy ships to the Persian Gulf Sunday. But as lawmakers and pundits discuss the prospect of a U.S. airstrikes with the goal of stalling the forward advances of brutal militants in the nation aligned with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), top defense experts say that the recent rapid withdrawal of U.S. forces from key Iraqi assets makes it almost impossible to discern where the strikes are needed the most.
If forces inadvertently strike areas of Iraq where large-scale collateral damage is possible with minimal success in weakening the ISIS threat, there is a risk that the bombing could make matters worse in the country by making it easier for ISIS to radicalize Iraqis who were formerly possible U.S. allies.
“We don’t have boots on ground providing intelligence and we don’t have confidence in information that the Iraqi government provides, because they’ve [been] so heavy-handed in the use of force against Sunni villages,” Representative Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), a senior member of the House Intelligence Committee, explained to The Daily Beast.
One fact that officials in the U.S. have not been overly excited to note, however, is that the United States’ national security apparatus has been aware of the growing ISIS threat for years.
Via The New York Times:
With just a few thousand fighters, the group’s lightning sweep into Mosul and farther south appeared to catch many Iraqi and American officials by surprise. But the gains were actually the realization of a yearslong strategy of state-building that the group itself promoted publicly.
The Times’ article goes on to note the existence of several pieces of ISIS propaganda, including a 2007 pamphlet that cited “trends in globalization as well as the Quran in challenging modern notions of statehood as having absolute control over territory.”
In other words, ISIS leaders believe that the actions they’re currently carrying out in Iraq could be similarly reproduced throughout the entire world. And reports indicate that the brutal extremists are already laying the groundwork to challenge the Western world’s power to defend itself.
Police in Spain on Monday said that they have detained as many as eight people in connection with an ISIS-linked terror cell led by a former Guantanamo detainee.
“It should be highlighted that the leader of this cell lived in Spain after passing through the Guantanamo military base, having been arrested in Afghanistan in 2001,” the Spanish ministry said, according to AFP.
The danger that similar cells are being formed in the United States is real, according to many officials watching the situation unfold in Iraq.