Despite repeated assurances from key members of Team Obama that the world is a safer, more “tranquil” place on the president’s watch, along comes Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel with a dire warning about an extraordinary threat: The Islamic State.
Hagel didn’t mince words or try to sugarcoat the situation when he spoke at a gathering of defense officials. From Reuters:
The sophistication, wealth and military might of Islamic State militants represent a major threat to the United States that may surpass that once posed by al Qaeda, U.S. military leaders said on Thursday.
“They are an imminent threat to every interest we have, whether it’s in Iraq or anywhere else,” Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told reporters at the Pentagon.
Hagel’s assessment of Islamic State, which gained strength during Syria’s civil war and swept into northern Iraq earlier this summer, sounded a note of alarm several days after the group posted a video on social media showing one of its fighters beheading an American hostage kidnapped in Syria.
Asked if the hardline Sunni Muslim organization posed a threat to the United States comparable to that of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Hagel said it was “as sophisticated and well-funded as any group we have seen.”
“They are beyond just a terrorist group. They marry ideology, a sophistication of … military prowess. They are tremendously well-funded. This is beyond anything we’ve seen.”
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