The number of westerners joining the ranks of ISIS will continue to rise unless the administration takes swift action, Middle East expert and author Walid Phares said Wednesday on Newsmax TV's
"For every one volunteer who joins ISIS either from the United States or Europe, he or she would be one out of five who have been indoctrinated," Phares explained. "So the tip of the iceberg is sort of the basis of it is in the West and only a minority of those people have already joined. Now why would others join because of the success? The longer we let ISIS develop its strength on the ground, its propaganda, you're going to expect more."
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"What concerns me — not just those who are going and eventually coming back. Most experts are looking at this threat. I am concerned about the networks already present in the United States, on U.S. soil. Those who could be moved by ISIS and I have developed this idea, switching to ISIS, many jihadists who have been indoctrinated and radicalized and recruited here on our soil, we've seen many cases of attacks such as the Boston attack, the Arkansas attack, the Fort Hood attack, and 68 other attempts to attack. Most of these with time, and I see it on social media, are switching to ISIS. That's where the real threat is going to be."
Rooting out and neutralizing terror groups inside Syria
should be a key goal of the U.S., according to Phares, author of "The Lost Spring."
"Assad and his regime, the public sometimes forget, are on our list of terror-sponsoring regimes," Phares said.
"Hezbollah is a terrorist organization on our lis,t is operational inside Syria. So the issue is basically not just to strike at ISIS, and that is something that we need to do at one point. Making sure that when we strike and weaken ISIS in Syria, they're not replaced by the second-strongest force on the ground. That would be Hezbollah and the Iranian Pasdaran and the Special Forces of Assad. This is where the challenge is. So before we strike, we want to make sure that we have allies, partners on the ground and we have done a very poor job over the past three years in finding those moderates. Actually, ISIS rose because we were late in finding these allies."
Despite a sudden dearth of news coverage on the minority Yazidis,
who were chased atop Mount Sinjar by ISIS fighters trying to kill them, thousands remain stranded there, according to Phares.
"They are fighting attempts by ISIS and by other jihadists to go up and kill them," he said.
"They have light weapons and nobody seems to be interested in helping them. Neither extracting them to other secure locations or arming them or supporting them. So this is something very serious."
There are 450,000 Christian minorities living on the streets of Kurdistan and that region will be unable to sustain them for an extended period, according to Phares.
"These Christians should be brought back to their areas," he said. "Some of these areas have been freed by the Kurds, Kurdish forces, Peshmerga, but we need to have an intense international activity. If there is one place where we should have boots on the ground, it's to go to Kurdistan, organize them, and have them go back to their international-protected areas and I hope the United Nations with American action organize this kind of exodus back to their villages.
Phares recommends adequately arming the Kurds and forming organized battalions and a command for minority groups.
He suggested creating an internationally protected district, "by the United Nations or whomever wants to do so, so they are capable in defending their own areas. That is a project the United States should put priority on."
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