Peter Brookes: Success of ISIS Created 'Perfect Storm'

Friday, 29 Aug 2014 02:34 PM

By Wanda Carruthers

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The success of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) created a "perfect storm" in recruiting violent Islamists to their cause, said Peter Brookes, senior fellow for national security affairs at the Heritage Foundation.

"They're big. They're bad. They're rich. They're controlling territory. They can plan, train, and operate. They're using social media really well," Brookes told Fox News' "Happening Now" on Friday. "This is a perfect storm, unfortunately."

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In addition, Brookes said that ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was "much more charismatic" than the head of al-Qaida, Ayman al-Zawahiri, which could offer a greater appeal in recruiting new members.

"Everybody loves a winner, quote, unquote. ISIS has done very well. If you're a violent Islamist, these are people you may want to ally yourself with," he said.

As countries around the world responded to the threat of ISIS, Brookes said the British government did not raise their terror threat level "just wantonly," but most likely based the decision on "solid information."

"Britain is no stranger, unfortunately, to terror attacks," Brookes said. "They've thought this through,"

In addition, British Prime Minister David Cameron announced on Friday he would introduce new laws to seize passports of suspected British jihadists to prevent them from traveling to or from Syria and Iraq. Brookes explained the difficulty in tracking potential terrorists once they left their home country.

"The problem here is that these people, if they have a legitimate passport and it's not known they travel to these battle areas, can move pretty freely between Europe, Britain, and the United States," he said.

Brookes said that other countries in the Middle East region might be hesitant to engage in fighting ISIS, for fear the terrorist organization could "become a major threat to them," but warned they remained at risk.

"Some of these countries, such as Saudi Arabia, may not want to come into what I call the 'strategic headlights of ISIS,' and ISIS become a major threat to them. They are coming for these countries and these cultures. So they'd better work with the United States and the international community," he said.

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