Tags: Al-Qaida | America's Forum | Iraq in Crisis | ISIS/Islamic State | Syria | Airstrikes | ISIS

Gen. Hayden: US Attacks Not Sufficient Yet, Obama 'Restrictions' Undermine Effort

By    |   Wednesday, 24 September 2014 01:51 PM

The U.S.-led coalition fighting the Islamic State (ISIS) shot "easier" targets during Monday evening's air campaign, but intelligence will be the challenge as the terrorists become harder to find, Gen. Michael Hayden told NewsmaxTV's "America's Forum."

"These are probably the easier targets to identify. These are the ones that you had good intelligence on," the retired Air Force general said Wednesday.

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"You're going to run out of those, and the enemy is going to get smarter, and they're going to go underground and blend in with the civilian population. So, to keep this up, and we have to keep it up, we're going to need a lot more very exquisite intelligence, and it's going to be hard to come by. So, we've got a challenge here," he added.

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Hayden, who was the former director of the National Security Agency and the CIA, said he was surprised that no NATO nations joined in Monday's airstrikes. Of the five Arab nations that did participate, he said it would be unwise to "underestimate" the importance of the Sunni-Arab coalition they represented.

Hayden said he understood the hesitation of Great Britain to participate after last year's refusal to join the U.S. in bombing Syria over President Bashar Assad's use of chemical weapons.

He said France had only indicated they "may bomb in Iraq, but they won't bomb in Syria." The real focus needed to be on Turkey, Hayden said, where there was a "hundreds of kilometers-long border" with Iraq and Syria.

The airstrikes on Monday also included attacks on a terrorist organization called the Khorasan group, with links to al-Qaida. There are reports that its leader, Mushin al-Fadhli, may have been killed during the attack.

Hayden said al-Fadhli, was "somebody we've known for a long time" and was considered somewhat of a "rock star" among terrorist organizations.

"As a teenager he was in [Osama] bin Laden's inner circle. According to press accounts, he was actually one of the few who knew about 9/11 before 9/11," he said.

White House official Tony Blinken said Iran was alerted prior to Monday's airstrikes,
and Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes said U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power informed Syria as well about the impending attacks, USA Today reported.

Hayden explained he wasn't "quite sure why [Iran] needed prior notice," but said officials probably informed Syria to prevent them from attacking the coalition planes.

"My sense is that we were trying to inform them that these are what they are, and you would be well advised to stay away from the area and not even begin to suggest any kind of response to what we intend to do here," he said.

President Barack Obama has continually stressed there would be no U.S. ground forces as part of the campaign against ISIS, and Hayden said he didn't anticipate combat action by American troops, unless the president "dramatically changes his mind."

Despite that, the actions Obama has already taken with airstrikes in Iraq and Syria put the effort "in a far better place than we were two weeks ago."

"I don't think it's sufficient stuff yet, because of some of the restrictions (Obama's) placed on us. And, no one I know is calling for American maneuver battalion brigades out there in the Syrian or Iraqi dessert. But, he has put some artificial restrictions that's going to make it harder to do this," he said.

Because of those restrictions, Hayden said some countries in the region "still have to question the depth of American commitment, because we spend an awful lot of time telling them and our own citizens all the things we're not going to do."

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The U.S.-led coalition fighting the Islamic State (ISIS) shot "easier" targets during Monday evening's air campaign, but intelligence will be the challenge as the terrorists become harder to find, Gen. Michael Hayden told Newsmax TV's "America's Forum."
Airstrikes, ISIS, Islamic State, Hayden, CIA
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2014-51-24
Wednesday, 24 September 2014 01:51 PM
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