Tags: Emerging Threats | Homeland Security | ISIS/Islamic State | War on Terrorism | ISIS | vulnerable | syria

White House Official: Islamic State Is 'Not Invincible'

By    |   Wednesday, 03 Sep 2014 06:47 PM

A White House official on Wednesday said the savage ISIS militants can ultimately be defeated, in part, by a "political transition" in Syria to end the regime of President Bashar Assad, who rules "with no legitimacy."

Speaking at the Brookings Institution on Wednesday, Matthew Olsen, director of the National Counterterrorism Center, said the Islamic State, also known both as ISIS and as ISIL, is "not invincible."

"With a broad coalition of international partners, we have the tools to defeat ISIL," he said. 

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But in the long term, he said, the role of Syria will be important —  and it will mean "working to secure a political transition in Syria."

"As long as Assad is in that position, a rule with no legitimacy in his country, we have seen Syria is a magnet for extremism and extremists flow to that country, which obviously complicates the security picture from our perspective but provides resources and support for ISIL, Al-Nusra and other groups," Olsen said.

"So, you know, part of the broader strategy over the long term is a political transition in Syria."

In the near term, he said, there have been "over 120 airstrikes" in Iraq against ISIS, which has 10,000 fighters.

"ISIL is vulnerable to coordinated military action," Olsen said.

He said about that 100 Americans are known to have gone to Syria, but it's not clear whether they've joined ISIS or other extremist groups. He added there was "no credible information" that ISIS was planning to attack the United States.

"At some point in time . . . if left unchecked, they would turn their sights on the West," he conceded. "We are going to take the steps we need to take . . . to diffuse the threat."

ISIS "views itself as the new leader of the global jihadist movement," Olsen noted. 

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A White House official on Wednesday said the savage ISIS militants can ultimately be defeated, in part, by a "political transition" in Syria to end the regime of President Bashar Assad, who rules "with no legitimacy."
ISIS, vulnerable, syria, political, transition
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2014-47-03
Wednesday, 03 Sep 2014 06:47 PM
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