Tags: America's Forum | Exclusive Interviews | ISIS/Islamic State | Ground troops | Iraq | Syria | ISIS

AEI's Fred Kagan: Ground Troops Needed in Iraq and Syria

By    |   Thursday, 25 Sep 2014 11:21 AM

To effectively degrade and destroy the Islamic State (ISIS), the United States needs to send ground troops into Iraq and Syria to get an accurate, comprehensive picture of the mindset of the various factions inside the region, Fred Kagan, director of the Critical Threats Project for the American Enterprise Institute, said Thursday on "America's Forum."

"We need to recognize that the problem is within the Sunni Arab community, within Iraq and Syria, and the solution also has to come from the Sunni Arab community within Iraq and Syria," Kagan said.

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"We have worked with Sunni Arabs in Iraq before to fight against al-Qaida in Iraq those groups' predecessor. We need to find out whether those tribes or other tribes there and whether Sunni Arabs in Syria are willing and able to stand with us. We're not going to be able to find that out from 30,000 feet. We need to send Special Forces into the Sunni Arab lands in Iraq and Syria as quickly as possible to make contact with the people who could have a decisive effect on this effort and see whether there is a strategy there that could be successful. That's got to be the priority."

Kagan appeared on Newsmax TV with former CIA analyst Fred Fleitz, who voiced concerns that the airstrikes thus far have been on "easy targets," the result of inadequate intelligence on the ground.

"I've been concerned that the president telegraphed to ISIS that attacks were coming and they may have evacuated some of these buildings," Fleitz said. "So I agree with former CIA Director [Michael] Hayden that we need to get better intelligence on the ground to hit the best targets. Now hitting these oil facilities was very important, you know that Newsmax President Christopher Ruddy has long called for an attack on the oil facilities to cut off ISIS's finances. This is a good move to starve in this organization of resources."

There is a "significant presence" of al-Qaida affiliates in the region that has surged in strength and influence and its ability to operate," Kagan pointed out, saying the United States has no strategy to deal with these affiliates.

"This is something we really need to look at and be concerned about as well while not get too fixated on ISIS as being the only al-Qaida problem that we have," he said.

The beheading of a French tourist in Algeria is indicative of a "broad radical Islamist movement" with groups that may not agree on everything, but are in sync on hating the West, according to Fleitz.

Terrorists kidnapped Hervé Gourdel Saturday, just a day after he arrived for a 10-day hiking trip. The group videotaped Gourdel's beheading, calling it "A Message in Blood for the French Government."

"We don't know whether this was actually an ISIS group in Algeria or whether it was directly linked or not, but we've seen this kind of thing happen before," Fleitz said. "We know that al-Shabaab in Somalia had executed a French hostage it kicked off a violence in Algeria. We're going to see similar actions like this because although these groups have some internal differences they are at war with the West and they support that as their primary goal."

He noted that having the United Arab Emirates' first female fighter pilot participate in the airstrikes sent an important psychological message to ISIS and the Middle East.

"ISIS's fanatical view central to this is a medieval view which involves the oppression and exploitation of women," he said. "Here we have a woman bombing ISIS in an F16 jet, but on another level this sends a message to the entire Middle East that women have rights, women should be allowed to drive, which is a big issue in Saudi Arabia, and it helps counter this radical Sharia ideology. It's a small step in that direction but an important one."

Fleitz advised all Americans to be on high alert for similar attacks coming to the United States.

"Obama officials are trying to say there's no evidence ISIS wants to attack the U.S. They just tried to stage beheadings in Australia. We have to assume they're coming here especially after the airstrikes."

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To effectively degrade and destroy the Islamic State (ISIS), the United States needs to send ground troops into Iraq and Syria to get an accurate, comprehensive picture of the mindset of the various factions inside the region, Fred Kagan, director of the Critical Threats...
Ground troops, Iraq, Syria, ISIS, Airstrikes
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2014-21-25
Thursday, 25 Sep 2014 11:21 AM
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