The U.S. government is currently collecting information after reports that 300 Americans joined in combat hand-in-hand with the so called “Islamic State in Iraq and Levant” (ISIS) and are poised to become a major threat to the homeland, according to the Washington Times.
The Washington Times quoted an anonymous senior U.S. official who says that the U.S. government is ‘doing its best’ to keep monitoring about 300 American citizens, who have been traveling to Syria and Iraq in order to fight with ISIS.
The senior U.S. official is quoted saying:
“We know that there are several hundred American passport holders running around with ISIS in Syria or Iraq,” the official said, offering a figure well above widespread reports of about 100 such fighters. “It’s hard to tell whether or not they’re in Syria or moved to Iraq.”
Analysts said those ‘fighters’ are a serious threat to the US. They could potentially come back to US and execute ‘terrorist attacks’ with skills obtained in the countries they are fighting in now.
Last Week, American ISIS ‘Terrorist’ Killed in Syria
General anxiety increased after it came out that a Californian man was killed in Syria in a battle against the Syrian army, alongside ISIS fighters. But the US State Department did not reply to the Washington Times’ requests to comment on the participation of many Americans in the war in both Iraq and Syria.
The body of Douglas McAuthur McCain, 33, was found after a harsh battle against the Syrian army (or members of a separate opposition group – not clear exactly). He was recognized based on the U.S. passport he had in his pocket, U.S. officials and family members verified.
Abdirahmaan Muhumed is another American who apparently died fighting alongside the ISIS, and actually died in the same battle that took McCain’s life. They were reportedly friends in high school near Minneapolis.
ISIS has Threatened the US Before
A little earlier, an ISIS supporter threatened– via his Twitter – to achieve a terrorist attack against Chicago. Later, another ISIS supporter circulated threats against Charlotte, North Carolina.
More threatening Twitter messages have been posted recently, after the beheading of US Journalist James Foley, to US and its allies warning of taking revenge over US air strikes in Iraq.
An ISIS supporter wrote:
“We will kill you”, while another added: “You are the target of every Muslim in the world wherever you are.”
The following photo were posted on Twitter on Saturday August 9, 2014, by ISIS supporter, shows a cellphone screen with a clear photo of the black flag, that ISIS used, being held up so the White House is seen in the background.
ISIS is Using ‘Special Strategy’ on Social Media
John Osborne was a follower of Twitter accounts which were promoting ISIS propaganda, including killing, beheadings and public executions. According to Osborne, ISIS used ‘social media strategy’ to establish an online presence that makes it seem much larger than it actually is.
US is “Aware” of Threatening Posts
The Secret Service is investigating the photo near the White House.
National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said officials were “aware” of McCain’s presence in Syria and admitted that the White House had been tracking his location before his death, saying:
“We continue to use every tool we possess to disrupt and dissuade individuals from traveling abroad for violent jihad and to track and engage those who return.”
The White House press secretary, Josh Earnest, claimed that the ‘coming back’ jihadists won’t be able to execute large attacks, and that their assaults will be limited.
Aaron Miller, a national security analyst who has served as adviser to Republican and Democratic secretaries of state, said that fighters of ISIS group are projected to range between 10,000 to 15,000 — a figure that does not pose a serious threat to the United States and should not spark a scare campaign. He said:
“We love scaring ourselves, I mean, we’ve become masters at it. We did it during the Cold War and we did it in the wake of 9/11. And while our response to Afghanistan was extremely appropriate, look what we did in Iraq.”
Other quotes say that ISIS members are more than 50.000.
US Supported So-Called “Anti-Assad” Syrian Rebels Before
It’s not a secret that US foreign policy in the Middle East has given the chance for the terrorists to do what they are doing in Syria and Iraq.
The US administration admitted to supplying what they called “moderate Syrian rebels” with both lethal and non-lethal aid. There’s no proof yet that this “aid” didn’t land in the hands of what became the ISIS.
Obama is Preparing a “New Strategy” to Combat ISIS
Official sources inside the US claimed that President Barack Obama wants to apply a new American strategy to stop the terrorist group of ISIS. Most likely this will be military operations in Iraq and eastern Syria, as American airstrikes continue to take place against ISIS bases in Iraq, where the jihadist group controls large swaths of the west and north.
The Daily Beast reported that President Obama may finish his plan by the end of the week depending on the presence of American intelligence on ISIS-controlled regions in Syria. It’s not clear yet what the targets and limits of this plan would be; and if the US will work ‘with the Syrian government” to achieve such plan.
But according to The Wall Street Journal, US has already flown surveillance aircraft over Syria earlier this week, in order to get more intelligence, noting that there was “no coordination” with the Syrian government.