Judging by the ghastly execution of James Foley, the US must have succeeded in slowing down or even repelling the advances of the terrorist from IS in Iraq, but not so for their efforts in Syria. In this dark but calm moment the US looks at what its next step should be and the UK is horrified to discover that possibly as many as 1,500 British Muslims have migrated to fight with the Islamic State.
In the US
General Martin Dempsey, current Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the US, spoke out yesterday about the impossibility of the Islamic State terrorists being defeated unless their base in Syria was attacked.
The US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel said US air strikes were responsible for halting the Islamist advance in Iraq, but they currently believe that the militants will regroup, adding “They are beyond just a terrorist group. They marry ideology, a sophistication of strategic and tactical military prowess, they are tremendously well-funded… this is beyond anything that we have seen.”
These warnings were given after the Islamic State uploaded a video of the beheading of American photojournalist James Foley. Announcing a formal criminal investigation by US security services into the murder, Attorney General Eric Holder warned that “the US has a long memory”
Meanwhile, Gen Dempsey, said the Islamic State was “an organisation that has an apocalyptic, end-of-days strategic vision and which will eventually have to be defeated”.
“To your question, can they be defeated without addressing that part of their organisation which resides in Syria? The answer is no. That will have to be addressed on both sides of what is essentially at this point a non-existent border.”
In the UK
A British Member of Parliament, told Sky News that many more than 500 Muslim youths have joined the Islamic terrorist group, claiming that more than 1,500 young Britons may have been recruited by extremists fighting in Iraq and Syria.
Khalid Mahmood MP said that the problem was much more serious than was previously realised and could mean that there would be significant problems for years to come. He said
I imagine fifteen hundred certainly would be the lower end. If you look across the whole of the country, there’s been a number of people going across [to Syria].
Originally you had the British Syrians settled here who wanted to go back and play a part, then you had the Kurdish community, then almost two years ago you had the young British Muslim community going across – so if you add all that up you’ve got serious figures that we need to look at. Those will come back – certainly more than we are saying at the moment – and we do need to look at that.
Some of them go out there for nine months, some go out there for a year, some will just go out for six months or so. So we need to look at exactly how this is happening, what our border controls are like and we really need to bolster those border controls in order to ensure that we see the people coming through and deal with them.
Video footage has been discovered of the infamous Saudi cleric Mohammed al Arifi whilst preaching at Cardiff’s Al Manar mosque, the same one that was attended by two brothers, Nasser Muthana, 20, and his brother Aseel, 17,before they left the UK with a friend, Reyaad Khan, 20, to go and join the insurgency in Iraq and Syria.. Al Arifi is banned from Switzerland because of his support for Islamic Fundamentalism.