Ex-US Intelligence Chief on Islamic State’s Rise: ‘We Were Too Dumb’
Without the Iraq war, Islamic State wouldn’t exist today, former US special forces chief Mike Flynn openly admits. In an interview, he explains IS’ rise to become a professional force and how the Americans allowed its future leader to slip out of their hands.
Michael Flynn, 56, served in the United States Army for more than 30 years, most recently as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, where he was the nation’s highest-ranking military intelligence officer.
In an interview, Flynn explains the rise of the Islamic State and how the blinding emotions of 9/11 led the United States in the wrong direction strategically.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: In recent weeks, Islamic State not only conducted the attacks in Paris, but also in Lebanon and against a Russian airplane over the Sinai Peninsula. What has caused the organization to shift its tactics and to now operate internationally?
Flynn: There were all kinds of strategic and tactical warnings and lots of reporting. And even the guys in the Islamic State said that they were going to attack overseas. I just don’t think people took them seriously. When I first heard about the recent attacks in Paris, I was like, “Oh, my God, these guys are at it again, and we’re not paying attention.” The change that I think we need to be more aware of is that, in Europe, there is a leadership structure. And there’s likely a leader or a leadership structure in each country in Europe. The same is probably similar for the United States, but just not obvious yet.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: You mean something like an emir or regional leadership?
US General Mike Flynn: The Iraq war “was a huge error.”
Flynn: Exactly. In Osama bin Laden’s writings, he elaborated about being disperse, becoming more diffuse and operating in small elements, because it’s harder to detect and it’s easier to act. In Paris, there were eight guys. In Mali, there were 10. Next time, maybe one or two guys will be enough.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: Can an attack of that scope even take place without being coordinated and authorized by the IS leadership in Syria?
Flynn: Absolutely. There’s not some line-and-block chart and a guy at the top like we have in our own systems. That’s the mirror imaging that we have to, in many ways, eliminate from our thinking. I can imagine a 30-year-old guy with some training and some discussion who receives the task from the top: “Go forth and do good on behalf of our ideology.” And then he picks the targets by himself, organizes his attackers and executes his mission.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: Islamic State’s leader is the self-proclaimed Caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. What kind of leader is he? Full Story
Interesting interview, and worth reading to the end. It highlights the many mistakes the U.S has made. Mistakes might be too polite a word, a more apt word would be retarded manoeuvres that pushed the U.S to being despised by a host of nations. The only reason they tolerate us is because of the big guns we have, but that advantage is being cut down to size by Russia and China. And now that China and Russia have joined forces, the US has basically put the last nail in its own coffin. China will soon become the largest economy on earth and Russia is coming out with a dizzying array of new weapons that in many cases out perform and rival many of the weapons the U.S has in its arsenal.
Russia Pounds ISIS With Biggest Bomber Raid in Decades
Putin’s air force just uses its nuclear bombers to lay waste to the capital of the “Islamic State.”
The Russian air force just pulled off one of the biggest and most complex heavy bomber missions in modern
history—sending no fewer than 25 Backfire, Bear, and Blackjack bombers on a coordinated, long-range air raid
against alleged ISIS forces in Syria.
Launching 25 bombers on one mission is an impressive undertaking. Russia
By comparison, on any given day 57 of the U.S. Air Force’s 77 B-52s, 35 of its 60 B-1s and nine of its 20 B-2 stealth bombers are even flyable, according to statistics from 2013.
In other words: This Russian attack was “shock and awe”—on steroids. Full Story
The Russians have experience fighting and dealing with terrorists. For years, they had to deal with the Chechens, and until Putin came into the scene, the Chechens dominated the war. After he had laid waste to their capital, the situation changed. This is the same strategy that is going to be used in Syria. The only difference is if there is any finger pointing to another Middle-East country, he is going to send his bombers to deal with them also. The story below illustrates just how serious Putin is and there is a good chance that some Middle-Eastern country helped these terrorist blow up the Russian plane. It is truly despicable that so many children and innocent adults had to lose their lives.
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