Tags: Brookes | ISIS | Iran | Al Qaeda

Experts Review Terror Threats — Part II

By    |   Wednesday, 03 Sep 2014 07:48 AM

Having completed his presentation to the 6th Annual Freedom Conference at the Steamboat Institute, in Steamboat, Colo., Frank Gaffney, president and founder of the Center for Security Policy, turned the stage over to Peter Brookes, national security affairs senior fellow at The Heritage Foundation, and assured the audience that Brookes had some really bad news for them.

Brookes characterized the current state of the world as "unsettled" and the seriousness of the national security threats to U.S. interests is the greatest in a generation. He called the Islamic State "an army of 10,000 to 15,000 militant jihadists," one that is growing as a result of recent successes in Iraq and includes "foreign fighters" from as many as 50 to 70 countries, more than ever before, including pre-9/11 Afghanistan.

Unlike Gaffney, Brookes seemed to give credence to the notion that this army is "so bad that Al Qaeda has disavowed them." He warned that the Islamic State "has America in its crosshairs," and he cited press reports that ISIS has training camps in Iraq, and especially in Syria, to train foreign fighters to return to terrorize their home countries. He took ISIS at its word for its stated attention "to raise [its] flag over the White House."

He placed the center of the threat in Syria, "a magnet for terrorist wannabes," with the FBI tracking a hundred Americans who have gone to Syria to fight, and the British are following at least 400 of their citizens to Syria, and it is estimated that there may be at least 3,000 Europeans fighting in Syria and Iraq.

Brookes named another group, Al Nusra, which he said Al Qaeda has not disavowed (again giving credence to the notion that Al Qaeda has disavowed ISIS, a proposition with which Gaffney disagrees, as responsible for 60 terrorist threats. Some of these reportedly involved placing explosives in cell phones and computers of people who would board aircraft, including the "underwear bomber," who was operating out of Yemen, with the group already having failed in an attempt to kill a Saudi prince with a suicide bomb. He named other elements from the list provided by Gaffney, including Iran and Hezbollah.

According to Brookes, the Iranians are fighting in both Iraq and Syria, and he pointed out that Iran is a Shi'a country whereas ISIS is composed of Sunnis. He stressed that control over Syria and Iraq are key objectives for the Iranians, and he warned that the Iranians have produced enough enriched uranium to fuel several nuclear bombs, and they are working on vehicles that would be capable of delivering these weapons, including an intercontinental ballistic missile that could reach the United States by 2015.

They already have the capability to put a satellite into space and have been assisting the North Koreans with their nuclear and missile programs, so that these countries are developing the capability to put a warhead anywhere on the earth's surface, such as the Russians achieved when they launched Sputnik in 1957.

Further, Brookes sees the conflicts in Syria and Iraq spreading to Afghanistan, where the United States already has 30,000 troops. President Obama has announced plans to reduce the U.S. presence in Afghanistan to 10,000 troops and to remove them entirely by 2016. He predicted that Afghanistan will revert to its pre-9/11 state as a safe haven for terrorists, and he warned that the Taliban can operate in Pakistan and threaten that government.

Not much is said about the fact that Pakistan itself has an arsenal of about 100 nuclear weapons whose security is uncertain. He blamed an offshoot of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, along with Ansar al-Sharia for the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, in 2012.

Brookes expressed further concern about Somali Americans who have gone to Africa to fight. He could have mentioned Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., as a representative of the Somali community in Minnesota and a speaker, along with Jimmy Carter, at a convention in Detroit of a group identified as a front for Hamas.

Brookes concluded that the United States must take proactive steps to meet the challenges from Islamic Jihad and growing threats from Russia, North Korea and China.

(Archived video can be found here.)

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Robert-Feinberg
At the 6th Annual Freedom Conference at the Steamboat Institute, the Center for Security Policy's Frank Gaffney turned the stage over to Peter Brookes, national security affairs senior fellow at The Heritage Foundation, and assured the audience that Brookes had some really bad news for them.
Brookes, ISIS, Iran, Al Qaeda
705
2014-48-03
Wednesday, 03 Sep 2014 07:48 AM
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