US Intelligence Aware of Increasing Capabilities of Islamic State Radicals

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SHAFAQNA – The intelligence that the United States has gathered on Islamic State radicals points to their growing strength in the Middle East, CIA Director John Brennan said in an interview with CBS, adding that the rise of ISIL should be countered with both military and political means.

The recent advances that the militants made in Iraq and Syria show that the fight against the group that has ceased vast areas in both countries will be a long one, Brennan claimed on Sunday.

“But I must say that there has been a fair amount of intelligence about the growing capabilities of ISIS, as well as the challenges that beset the Iraqi government, the sectarian tensions that continue to fuel a lot of these problems.”

Brennan stressed that a successful strategy for countering the rise of ISIL both in Iraq and Syria would be to combine military and political tactics.

“I believe firmly that we’re not going to resolve this problem on the battlefield. We have to keep the pressure on them but at the same time there has to be a viable political process that’s able to bring together the actors inside Iraq and Syria and for them to be able to decide how they’re going to have a peaceful future.”

The United States formed an international coalition to fight against ISIL militants in Iraq and Syria in September, 2014. The coalition has been conducting airstrikes against ISIL positions in Syria, also continuing the air attacks on the group in Iraq, first launched by the United States in August, 2014.

The United States has claimed some successes in the fight against the Islamic State. However, in recent weeks the militants made advances, capturing the city of Ramadi in central Iraq and Palmyra in Syria.

ISIL-affiliated groups also operate in Yemen, Libya, Pakistan and Afghanistan and are known to have been behind several terrorist attacks in Europe.

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