Tags: America's Forum | ISIS/Islamic State | Phares | ISIS | US

Walid Phares: US Late in Focusing on Would-Be Jihadists

By    |   Thursday, 09 Oct 2014 10:49 AM

The United States waited too long to focus on Americans traveling overseas who may be doing so to become jihadists, Middle East expert Walid Phares said Friday on Newsmax TV's “America’s Forum.”

“We have been also briefing Congress on this issue for the last five years, even more than that, about the radicalization and indoctrination that leads those individuals to join either al Qaida in the past and now of course the successful jihadists and that would be ISIS,” Phares said.

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“We would have now to deal with in a much wider way than five or six or even 10 years ago so definitely that's the direction to follow, but as you said, we are late and there's always a price when you act late in the process.”

In response to the English-speaking man and others shown in a propaganda video released in September by the Islamic State (ISIS), the FBI is now urging the public to leave tips online and to report suspects to the agency.

FBI Director James Comey spoke out on CBS News’ “60 Minutes” to address the subject.

"These homegrown violent extremists are troubled souls who are seeking meaning in some misguided way," Comey said. "And so they come across the propaganda and they become radicalized on their own independent study, and they're also able to equip themselves with training again on the Internet, and then engage in jihad after emerging from their basement."

According to Phares, law enforcement believes the masked man in the video has a North American accent with a Midwestern or Canadian dialect.

“The fact that he was masked and at the same time showing soldiers from the regime digging their mass grave is very, very scary,” said Phares. “This is an indication that, not just himself, but dozens of other North Americans or Americans, could be involved in mass killings. That's what the government is concerned about now.”

On the subject of the Syrian border city of Kobani, the Obama administration needs to defend the city and keep it from falling under ISIS control, Phares said. American officials’ position that defending the Syrian border town is “not a strategic objective” means that the city will suffer “ethnic cleansing followed by massacre,” according to Phares.

“So defending the civilian populations from being confronted with these two threats is basically a priority, an international priority, a human rights priority, and should be,” he said. “As we have done in Mt. Sinjar and in Nineveh Plains in Kurdistan, we should do the same in northern Syria to defend these populations who are fighting alone.”

Should ISIS wrest control of Kobani, it would mean the terror group would control a 62-mile stretch between Syria and Turkey, including ISIS’s self-declared capital, Raqqa.

Turkey also needs to step up, Phares said.

“The Kurds inside Turkey are now demonstrating. It's going to create a mass crisis for the Erdogan government, so the government in Turkey will have to make a choice. Either have a crisis to deal with on the inside of Turkey or take action to save the Kurds of Syria and in both ways it's a big political problem for that government in the Middle East.”

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The United States waited too long to focus on Americans traveling overseas who may be doing so to become jihadists, Middle East expert Walid Phares said Friday on Newsmax TV's “America’s Forum.”
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Thursday, 09 Oct 2014 10:49 AM
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