Top Democrat breaks with Obama on Islamic State (Yahoo News)
Breaking with President Obama, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee called Wednesday for creating a “safe zone” inside Syria as part of an escalated campaign to thwart potential Islamic State attacks on the United States.
“We see ISIS branching out in places around the world, and it is a growing menace,” Rep. Adam Schiff of California told Yahoo News in an interview broadcast on Sirius XM, using another name for the terrorist army.
“Until we successfully evaporate that sanctuary they have in Syria and Iraq, they will have the time and the space and the resources to plot against us,” Schiff said. “And even the best intelligence agencies — and we have the best — aren’t going to be able to stop every plot.”
“We have to put an end to that sanctuary if we’re going to dramatically reduce the risk to our country,” the congressman said.
Obama, who recently deployed 50 elite U.S. commandos to Syria, has ordered expanded information-sharing with allies in the aftermath of the massacres in Paris late last week, while France has escalated its airstrikes on IS targets. But the president has rejected calls to send U.S. ground troops into Syria or to carve out areas of Syria that would be protected from attack by IS or by government forces loyal to strongman Bashar Assad.
Schiff said the White House’s plans were not enough.
“We’re going to have to do something to change the dynamic on the ground,” he told Yahoo News. “I don’t think that merely additional air sorties or a handful of special operators are going to change the dynamic that much.”
Instead, Schiff said, the U.S. should talk with allies like Turkey and Jordan about the possibility of creating “a safe zone, or buffer zone, that would be policed on the ground by Turkish or Gulf nations and from the air by the United States and the coalition.” The goal would be to ease the humanitarian catastrophe in Syria while creating an area where anti-IS forces could be trained.
Schiff said a Paris-style attack “could happen here” in the U.S. but said it was somewhat “unlikely.”
Still, he warned, there could be a threat from radicalized Americans who traveled to Syria and Iraq and fought for IS before returning to the U.S.
But only a small number of the roughly 100-200 Americans who fought with IS are known to have returned to the U.S. – “a manageable number for us to keep our eye on,” Schiff said.
It’s a far bigger problem in Europe, which has “far more people to watch and far fewer resources to watch them with,” he said.
Source: Yahoo News
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