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LIGNET's Ruth: Arming Syrians Against ISIS Is a Bad Idea

By    |   Monday, 22 September 2014 12:01 PM

Arming moderate Syrians against the radical Islamic State assumes that such moderates even exist, and risks putting still more U.S. weapons into the hands of anti-American extremists, says former CIA analyst Lisa Ruth.

Ruth, of LIGNET, a private intelligence analysis firm, told "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner on Newsmax TV on Monday that President Barack Obama's plan to identify, arm and train rebels in Syria could backfire by boosting another U.S. enemy: Syrian dictator Bashar Assad.

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Ruth said that Obama's strategy — U.S. airstrikes combined with ground forces drawn from the rebel ranks in Syria's civil war — has no foundation because the president has yet to spell out what he wants to accomplish beyond degrading and destroying the Islamic State, also known as ISIS.

"We need to clearly articulate our foreign policy goals . . . and then you can get a strategy," said Ruth, arguing that "flooding a region already awash with weapons . . .  doesn't make sense."

She said that if the U.S. wants two things at once — ISIS gone, and Syria free of Assad's rule — it may have to work with Assad in the near term.

She said the U.S. could, if it hasn't already, offer to help Assad rid Syria of ISIS in exchange for a ceasefire in the civil war and a promise by Assad to hold free and open national elections.

Otherwise, she said, "what I'm fearful of in Syria is we're going to have another Libya," alluding to the factional violence that has erupted there since Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi was overthrown with U.S. assistance.

Whatever course the U.S. chooses, "there is universal agreement we can't airstrike our way out of this," said Ruth.

Earlier Monday, Ruth told "America's Forum" on Newsmax TV that the man who scaled a White House fence over the weekend is evidence that security in the capital, and around the country, is too lax.

"At the point when you have to solve a crime or stop a crime, we're already behind," she said. "We have to set up situations to stop it before it happens, and it is distressing to me, after 9/11, there were things that were not put in place, there were recommendations that were made, not just at the White House, but throughout the country that weren't happening, and this is just a really strong indication of areas that we need to step up.

"We have to take security at home much more seriously," she said.

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Ruth joined former NYPD detective Wally Zeins to discuss domestic security and the Islamic State's recent video calling for Muslims to kill civilians in the United States and other nations who have joined a coalition to destroy the violent terror group.

"If you can kill a disbelieving American or European, especially the spiteful and filthy French, or an Australian, or a Canadian, or any other disbeliever, then rely upon Allah, and kill him in any manner or way however it may be," an ISIS spokesman says in the video, according to ABC News.

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Ruth said she's not surprised by this development, because ISIS has been clear from the beginning that it operates as a rogue group with no moral conscience about who will be in its cross-hairs.

"The people [ISIS] beheaded are not combatants, they're not soldiers, these are journalists, aid workers," she said. "ISIS has made it very clear they're going to go after whoever they want.

"Now, in terms of the threat here in the United States, people point to the fact that there has not been a terrorist attack yet, and say so we don't have to worry. That is incredibly naïve. It is, frankly, far easier to carry out a terrorist attack, even a limited one, than it is to take territory in Iraq. It is a real danger, it is still a real danger, and we need much better intelligence as well as much better security in order to afford it."

The NYPD, says Zeins, is working closely with state and federal agencies to protect one of ISIS,' and all terrorists,' "automatic targets": Times Square.

In addition to 360-degree camera angles of the crowded tourist attraction and other parts of New York City, there are more than 400 counter-terrorism uniformed officers there in addition to numerous undercover operations, as well as "city, state and federal and the National Guard," the latter of which was brought in over the weekend, he said.

Terrorists, Zeins explained, look for targets that share three common denominators:
money, manpower and media.

"They use all three," he said. "For example, during the Munich Olympics, during the World Trade Center, they were able to raise a lot of money because of that because they had all the media there to broadcast the theater of terror," Zeins said.

"Times Square is like a theater of terror, so it's a real hot spot, and that's something that's very, very important, and we have to share intelligence and we have to work together, not just with law enforcement or city, state or federal, but everyone. All of us as a package, see something, say something.”

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio's push to give ID cards to illegal immigrants — which provides for free or reduced-price admission to 33 cultural institutions such as the Bronx Zoo, the New York City Ballet, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Carnegie Hall for a year — is a "ridiculous idea" that invites potential terrorists, Zeins said.

"ISIS has about 100 wolfs running around even possibly in the United States, and for them to get one of these cards without any background checks, and [de Blasio] admits that they're not going to have any background checks except bring in a utility bill, show me that you're living somewhere and we're going to take a picture," said Zeins.

"So, you can't give I.D. cards to people whose names in history you can't I.D. or verify so someone walks in and says, my name is John Smith, but it really isn't. He's really a terrorist somewhere and he's going to have access to getting into some of the most vulnerable places, to get the best bang for the buck, no pun intended, but we're going to have mass casualties simultaneously, they can do this, to go into cultural locations at the same time throughout the five boroughs. It's ridiculous.”

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The man who scaled a White House fence over the weekend is evidence that security in the capitol, and around the country, is too lax, former CIA analyst Lisa Ruth said Monday on "America's Forum" on Newsmax TV.
CIA analyst, homeland security
Monday, 22 September 2014 12:01 PM
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