Overblown Fears of Foreign Fighters

In a NY Times Oped, two scholars in Arab Studies debunk the myth that ISIS is coming after the West. They say homegrown terrorists are a bigger threat than foreign fighters returning from Syria.

...Contrary to what many counterterrorism experts believe, however, ISIS has so far shown no interest in Western targets. The group’s overarching objective is to consolidate its dominion in the Levant, a place of great religious significance.

What could change this dynamic?

The one thing that might change the attitude of foreign fighters is the United States’ launching military action against them.


Airing tonight on PBS's Frontline: Losing Iraq.

In a special developing report, FRONTLINE examines the unfolding chaos in Iraq and how the U.S. is being pulled back into the conflict. Drawing on interviews with policymakers and military leaders, the investigative team behind The Lost Year in Iraq, The Torture Question, Endgame and Bush’s War traces the U.S. role from the 2003 invasion to the current violence — exploring how Iraq itself is coming undone, how we got here, what went wrong and what happens next.

ISIS, meanwhile, is not slacking off. Today it took down a bridge between Tikrit and Samarra. Samarra is just 70 miles north of Baghdad.

The destruction of the bridge, just south of the city of Samarra, cuts a vital supply line for the Iraqi army and will further dampen its hopes of retaking the city of Tikrit, further north.

ISIS claims it has captured the towns of Al-Awja and Owaynat, between Tikrit and Samarra.

Also today, ISIS released a gruesome video of a new massacre of about 100 soldiers. And, of course, a lot of photos of ISIS giving out toys to children.

The U.S. doesn't want to give up on Iraq. The State Dept. has signed off on a $700 million deal for the Pentagon to send the largest shipment yet of hellfire missiles to Iraq to help the Iraqi army.

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    I made a comment the other day about (none / 0) (#1)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Jul 29, 2014 at 05:52:33 PM EST
    ISIS not having a reason to exist without attacking us.  

    What I meant by that is exactly this-

    What could change this dynamic?

    The one thing that might change the attitude of foreign fighters is the United States' launching military action against them.

    Does any one think we won't launch some kind of military action against them?
    I hope we don't.  I don't think we should.  But we will.

    It's very possible we won't attack ISIS directly (none / 0) (#2)
    by Jack203 on Tue Jul 29, 2014 at 06:10:42 PM EST
    We seem content with the current policy of shipping arms to the Iraqi government.  I don't foresee that changing.

    I, unfortunately, think it will probably get worse before it gets better for the Iraqis.


    Hope you're right (none / 0) (#3)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Jul 29, 2014 at 06:20:13 PM EST
    I do.  "Directly" seems sort of an operative word.