In an interview this weekend with MSNBC’s Steve Kornacki, Shadi Hamid, a fellow with the Brookings Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World, said that while “ISIS is very much consumed in Iraq and Syria right now,” “they could and probably will be a threat to the homeland at some later point” because “they’ve been quite clear they do have designs on attacking the U.S. and U.S. interests.”
Appearing on the program with Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.), Hamid also noted that President Obama’s remarks at the recent NATO summit that we will deal with ISIS “the same way we’ve gone after al-Qaeda” raised some red flags because, Hamid explained, ISIS “is a fundamentally different beast than al Qaeda is.”
If ISIS is a kind of proto-state then we can’t treat it as we would a terrorist group. And that means that there has to be a broader vision that looks at the root causes of ISIS’s rise, which is a failure of governance; which is the brutal policies of Bashar al-Assad in Syria. So a major component has to be boosting the mainstream rebel forces in Syria. And there’s been some rhetoric about that from Obama and Secretary Kerry, but no real new initiatives. There has to be a third force in Syria that can counter both ISIS and the Assad regime. But we haven’t been serious about that.
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