WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) — The House Intelligence Committee chairman warns that the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria are looking to expand its territory across the Middle East, including Israel.
Speaking to CBS News’ “Face the Nation,” Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., said that ISIS head Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi could lead his group into several countries.
“He wants the Levant. He wants Lebanon. He wants Jordan. They talk about Israel,” Rogers told CBS News. “They want to expand their Islamic caliphate. They believed that because they have a piece of Syria and a huge piece of Iraq now that they are well underway to do that.”
CBS News national security analyst Juan Zarate believes that ISIS has the potential to become a “new global terrorist movement.”
“There is no question that ISIS presents a regional threat and is forming the platform for a new global terrorist movement. The antecedents to ISIS envisioned a broader regional and global agenda – and launched attacks into Jordan and attempted to influence in Lebanon,” Zarate said.
Al-Arabiya reported earlier this month that ISIS wants to create a state combining territory in Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon and Israel.
“ISIS has networked with people from dozens, scores of countries,” Tom Sanderson of the Center for Strategic and International Studies told CBS News. “It gives them the potential to travel to operate in these countries where they have people they know, they trust, who have the skills to operate.”
Sanderson feels that ISIS’ influence could travel into North Africa.
“As far as North Africa is concerned, I think they would find a lot of welcoming and open hearts and hands because they’re fielding tons and tons of fighters from Morocco and Tunisia in particular, as well as Libya,” Sanderson explained to CBS News.
Zarate warns that ISIS could become a bigger threat to the U.S.
“To allow terrorist movements with global aspirations to fester, regroup, gain resources, and strategize is a prescription for disaster in the 21st century,” Zarate told CBS News. “That’s what we’ve seen in Syria and Iraq for a few years now.”
Secretary of State John Kerry traveled to Baghdad on Monday to meet with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. CBS News reports that the Obama administration has not asked al-Maliki to step down amid the ongoing violence.
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