Top Dem: Destroy ‘sanctuary’ for ISIS overseas (The Hill)

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) admitted Monday that eliminating the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) requires re-capturing its physical territories.

“Ultimately, it is going to require us to eliminate that sanctuary in Iraq and Syria,” he told host Steve Inskeep on NPR’s “Morning Edition.”

“As long as that sanctuary exists for ISIS, they will continue to attack us,” said Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee.

“The longer they hold ground the longer we’re at risk,” he added. "Something is going to have to change the dynamic.

“I don’t think the airstrikes alone or the small numbers of so-called moderate Syrian rebels are going to be enough to evaporate this scourge in these countries in a reasonable period of time”


Schiff’s remarks follow last week’s massacre of about 130 people across Paris in coordinated attacks across the French capital. ISIS has since claimed responsibility for the massacre and is threatening Washington, D.C. with similar bloodshed.


Schiff said Monday that the terrorist organization’s recent actions in France and other nations show their strategy is evolving.


“I think in their first year of existence they were really concentrated on forming their caliphate, building their caliphate and defending their caliphate,” he said of ISIS’s genesis in 2014. "In their second year, they are very much opening up a second front in their war against the West.


“They are lashing out at anyone who attacks them,” he added. "Clearly, they are trying to bring their fight to other countries around the world.”


Schiff then argued that the U.S. is between a rock and a hard place on how it counters the extremist organization in the future.


“I don’t think the answer is another massive American ground presence in either Iraq or Syria,” he said.


“I do think we’re going to have to explore things we didn’t want to embark upon such as a buffer zone or safe zone which allows the opposition to ISIS to be trained and equipped.”


French fighter jets began pounding ISIS’s stronghold of Raqqa, Syria on Sunday as punishment for last week’s violence.


President Obama announced Monday that using ground troops against the extremist group would be “a mistake” for the U.S. military.


Critics say that Obama’s strategy of containment has failed by letting ISIS plot new and more devastating attacks from their self-styled caliphate.

Source: The Hill