U.S. official says Britain must step up anti-ISIS fight
A top U.S. intelligence official called on the United Kingdom to step up its fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria militants as they continue to advance through Iraq towards the capital city of Baghdad, the Sunday Times reported.
Republican Congressman Mike Rogers, chairman of a committee overseeing 17 U.S. intelligence agencies, called upon British authorities to increase their efforts in the fight against the militant group.
According to reports in the U.S., ISIS’ arsenal of weapons now includes armored vehicles, tanks, surface-to-air missiles and, helicopters, most of which believed to have been captured from Iraqi forces during the group’s August-July offensive through western Iraq and Syria.
“This is a terrorist organization that now has an army. That makes them incredibly dangerous. They want more territory. So this romantic notion that we can just contain them to what they have is a bit Pollyanna-ish,” Rogers said.
“What we know is that the areas which they have raided and taken control of have a host of weapons which are deadly on a field of combat,” he told the Sunday Times.
Although he estimates a third to half of the Iraqi army capable to fight ISIS, Rogers said the group’s advancement could be blocked off with “limited support from western forces.”
“We are going to have to leverage up the capabilities of the Peshmerga, of Iraqi forces, of rebel groups in Syria, and one of the best immediate ways is to have our special capability soldiers and intelligence officials down range with them,” he said.
Rogers also addressed the sensitivity that clouds sending soldiers to fight on the ground, calling the debate a “complete waste of time.”
“We’re not talking about brigades and divisions and battalions. Nobody’s called for that, and if we do this right, up front, we won’t need those.”
“We need Britain”
“We’ve all decided that this is a national security threat for our home countries. Now let’s try to find a way to strategically defeat it. We need Britain participating in the Syrian piece of this, this is where the nest of Daesh [Arabic acronym for ISIS] is.
These remarks follow reports of a massacre of more than 300 members of the Abu Nimr tribe in Iraq where fighters for weeks tried but failed to defend their town against ISIS militants.
Separately, fighting continues in the Syrian-Kurdish town of Kobane between Kurdish fighters and ISIS militants trying to take control of the city.
Tens of thousands of Syrian Kurds have fled their homes in Kobane, where Peshmerga and Free Syrian Army fighters arrived in recent days to reinforce the Kurdish People Protections Units’ (YPGs) defense of the strategic border town.