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 UK’s most senior counter-terrorism officer said “significant progress” is being made in the hunt for James Foley’s killer, while the number of arrests of would-be British jihadists and their supporters has increased fivefold.
People around President Obama, his ambassadors, politicians, the State Department, are saying they are unwilling to work with Syria, and obviously prepping the ground for airstrikes, journalist and foreign policy analyst Michael Hughes told RT.
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.
The US and the UK face a dilemma in battling the Islamic State, because it would likely mean siding with Assad in Syria against an enemy they helped create and against wishes of their allies in the region, political analyst Chris Bambery told RT.
The US has already began surveillance flights over Syria, American officials say, as Washington contemplates airstrikes against Islamic State targets and confirms there are no plans to coordinate anti-terror attacks with the Syrian government.
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.
The ISIS militia wouldn’t have got anywhere if they were not promoted as enemies by the West, and the West was not bombing them, supporting them at the same time in Syria and in Libya, activist and journalist Sukant Chandan told RT.
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.