Daesh planning more terrorist attacks in West: CIA chief
John Brennan, the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, has acknowledged that the US-led campaign against Daesh (ISIL) has failed to reduce the group’s terrorism capability, saying the group is planning more attacks in the West.
Brennan told the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday that the Takfiri group continues to move forward despite losing territory in Iraq and Syria, acknowledging that the US-led efforts “have not reduced the group’s terrorism capability and global reach.”
However, the CIA chief said his agency has not been “able to uncover any link” between Orlando shooter Omar Mateen and Daesh, despite the gunman’s alleged allegiance to the terrorist group.
Brennan said the terrorist group’s Internet propaganda has influenced men like Mateen, but the CIA has not found a direct link between him and any foreign terrorist group.
Mateen, armed with assault weapons, stormed the Pulse Club on Sunday, killing 49 people and injured 53 others at the gay club, marking the worst ever mass shooting in US history. The suspect, identified by US media as an alleged Daesh sympathizer, is a US citizen of Afghan descent from Port St. Lucie, Florida.
The Daesh Takfiri group, which was initially created and funded by the US and its regional allies to destabilize the Middle East region, particularly Syria, has reportedly claimed responsibility for the Orlando shooting.
US warplanes have been conducting airstrikes against ISIL in Iraq since August of 2014. Some Western states have also participated in some of the strikes in Iraq.
Since September 2014, the US and some of its Arab allies have been carrying out airstrikes against Daesh inside Syria without any authorization from Damascus or a UN mandate.
The US-led coalition has done little to stop the Daesh’s advances in parts of Syria and in Iraq.
Some analysts have criticized the US-led military campaign, saying the strikes are only meant to benefit US weapons manufacturers.
The CIA chief, however, claimed that the US-led campaign has reduced the total number of Daesh terrorists from 32,000 both in Iraq and Syria last year to about 22,000.
“The resources needed for terrorism are very modest, and the group would have to suffer even heavier losses of territory, manpower and money for its terrorist capacity to decline significantly,” he said.
“To compensate for territorial losses, ISIL will probably rely more on guerrilla tactics, including high-profile attacks outside territory it holds,” Brennan said, using an acronym for the terrorist group.
“A steady stream of attacks in Baghdad and Damascus, [Syria], demonstrate the group’s ability to penetrate deep inside enemy strongholds,” he stated.