House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Mike McCaul just made a sobering trip to the Middle East, where he gained some unfortunate updates about the fight against ISIS. He shared his findings at George Washington University Thursday afternoon, hours after the downing of EgyptAir flight MS804, which has been rumored to be terrorism.
“A worldwide terrorist exodus is underway and we are woefully unprepared to deal with it,” Chairman McCaul said during his remarks at GWU.
“We have entered a new phase in Islamist terror,” he continued. “Fifteen years after 9/11, our enemies have regained their momentum.”
The resurgent radicalism ISIS is engaged in is escalating to a frightening level, reaching major cities around the globe, such as Brussels and Paris.
“We are not winning this war,” McCaul concluded. ISIS, he said, is not on the run as President Obama suggested this fall – “they are on the march.”
In fact, today the world holds more terror sanctuaries than we’ve ever seen.
So, what is the world doing to stop the death march?
McCaul noted how sixty-six countries have joined a collation to fight terror in Syria. Jihadists, however, have gained the support of more than 120 different countries. Perhaps the scariest part about ISIS’ expansion is that the terror cell is using advanced technology to expand its reach.
Terrorists are using crowdsourcing on social media to launch attacks. Operatives in Syria are breaching our borders digitally to recruit Americans. It’s a “lethal evolution,” McCaul warned. What’s worse, it may only be the tip of the iceberg. One of the largest problems is that these terrorists are operating in the “dark” and we can’t detect them. McCaul has introduced legislation in the House to address this very issue.
While in the Middle East, McCaul did witness a counter ISIS campaign and said he was “proud” of the efforts, but “not encouraged” by the progress. He was likewise grieved by our lackluster U.S. leadership, which has failed to commit resources necessary to win the fight.
“Obama is dedicated to a ‘drip, drip’ doctrine,” McCaul said. “The changes are too little, too late.”
The White House’s inaction on Libya will have “deadly consequences” and her neighbors are also woefully unprepared, he continued. The U.S. must continue to provide government assistance to nations like Tunisia. In Egypt, ISIS has 1,500 fighters in Sinai with the intent of conducting external operations – we must work to clear the hotspot. Oh and let’s not forget about Al Qaeda – they are also bolstering their own territory, he noted.
After sharing his bleak report, McCaul offered steps to confront the terror menace.
“We need a military strategy to defeat terrorists on the ground,” McCaul offered – a strategy not of containment, but rollback. Then, we need a political strategy to deny terrorists the chance to reemerge. Finally, we need a “counter narrative to defeat them in the war of ideas.”
“We are really failing” in this last initiative, McCaul said. We need more than bullets and bombs – we need to combat radical Islamist ideology.
“Terrorists are killing with a purpose,” he said. “We should empower real Muslims to speak out against murderous hijacking.”
If we put our resources to use, the chairman insisted, “we can degrade ISIS in a matter of months.”