Top US officials say President Barack Obama wants to decide American strategy for combating extremist group Islamic State’s strongholds in Syria. Yet the administration is still scrambling to understand the goals and limits of potential military action.
In its desire to topple Syrian President Bashar Assad, the US channeled arms and funds to the Syrian rebels, many of whom splintered off and formed the Islamic State, which is now giving the US far more problems than it had bargained for.
By hook or by crook or by carrots or sticks, the US and its NATO and regional allies will not stop targeting Syria and Iran until they vanquish both. The crisis in Iraq is just a new phase in those objectives.
The United States government is tracking as many as 300 Americans supposedly fighting with Islamic State, the jihadist group with a heavy presence in parts of Syria and Iraq, according to senior US officials.
The number of Islamic State recruits is much higher than that estimated by foreign observers – around 100,000, says one of Iraq’s foremost security experts with unique access to intelligence. The terrorists are swallowing up other insurgent groups.
Islamic State militants are holding a third American hostage, a 26-year-old humanitarian worker kidnapped last year in Syria. The jihadist group is demanding a ransom of $6.6 million and the release of a Muslim woman from a US prison.
Five men who left Britain in October last year have been shown on CCTV footage leaving the UK to join the Islamic State under the guise of taking a vacation in Turkey. One of the men could now be the key to identifying James Foley’s murderer.
Britain should refrain from a reactionary legislative overhaul sparked by an unproven domestic threat of British militants fighting in Iraq and Syria, warns a former MI6 director of global counter-terrorism.
The father of the man suspected to be ‘Jihadi John,’ who beheaded journalist James Foley, is awaiting trial in New York for the bombing of two US embassies, which killed a total of 224. He is also accused of being a top lieutenant for Osama bin Laden.