As US Defense Secretary Hagel escalates the threat level the ISIS/IS Islamic State pose to US interests and security at home and internationally he puts airstrikes against IS inside Syria on the table.
“[Islamic State militants] are an imminent threat to every interest we have, whether it’s in Iraq or anywhere else,” he said, as quoted by Reuters.
Hagel also noted that “ISIL is as sophisticated and well-funded as any group that we have seen.” in reference to the threat level of Al Qaeda.
“They’re beyond just a terrorist group. They marry ideology, a sophistication of strategic and tactical military prowess. They are tremendously well-funded. Oh, this is beyond anything that we’ve seen. So we must prepare for everything,” he added.
“American air strikes and American arms and assistance helped Iraqi and Kurdish forces blunt ISIL’s advance around Arbil, where American diplomats and troops are working, and help the Iraqis retake and hold-Mosul dam,” he said.
At the same time, however, General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, cautioned that the Islamic State could not be defeated without international efforts aimed at its base in Syria.
“This is an organization that has an apocalyptic, end-of-days strategic vision that will eventually have to be defeated,” he said, according to the Huffington Post. “Can they be defeated without addressing that part of the organization that resides in Syria? The answer is no.”
Sources in Syria are split about allowing US airstrikes on its sovereign territory due to the previous support by the US and it’s allies for what the US called moderate groups that are today shown to be affiliated or merged with ISIS, while appreciating the necessity of striking ISIS hard at their base.
One source suggests that the “US also should seriously look into the continued financial and logistical support to ISIS still provided by some of its key allies in the region”.