Europe and US on ISIS Hit List, Saudi King Says; US Lawmakers Concur

By Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Reporter
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. and world news. He is based in Maryland.
September 2, 2014 Updated: September 2, 2014

The king of Saudi Arabia has warned that ISIS will attack Europe and the United States within the next two months if the jihad group isn’t stopped.

The group ISIS, Islamic State of Iraq and Sham, is also known as ISIL, or The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

The Council of Foreign Relations says that the group “is a predominantly Sunni jihadist group, seeks to sow civil unrest in Iraq and the Levant (region spanning from southern Turkey to Egypt and including Syria, Lebanon, Israel, the Palestinian territories and Jordan) with the aim of establishing a caliphate — a single, transnational Islamic state based on sharia.”

It added: “The group emerged in the ashes of the U.S.-led invasion to oust Saddam Hussein as al-Qaida in Iraq (AQI), and the insurgency that followed provided it with fertile ground to wage a guerrilla war against coalition forces and their domestic allies.”

Now King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia says that the group sweeping through the Middle East will target the West directly unless there is “rapid” action.

“If we ignore them, I am sure they will reach Europe in a month and America in another month,” he said in remarks quoted on Saturday by Asharq al-Awsat daily.

“Terrorism knows no border and its danger could affect several countries outside the Middle East,” he told new ambassadors at a ceremony, including a new envoy from the U.S., a Saudi ally.

The king said lack of action is “unacceptable” while noting the “cruelty” of the group.

“You see how they (jihadists) carry out beheadings and make children show the severed heads in the street,” he said. “It is no secret to you, what they have done and what they have yet to do. I ask you to transmit this message to your leaders: ‘Fight terrorism with force, reason and (necessary) speed’.”

This week, U.S. lawmakers said that they also believe that ISIS is eyeing cities in the United States and Western Europe.

ISIS has claimed responsibility for the beheadings of American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff and have threatened to behead a British citizen soon.

The group is under attack by U.S. forces, Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, and rebels in Syria, but are also in Iraq and other surrounding countries.

Without offering specifics on any threats or suggestions on how to confront them, the leaders of the Senate and House intelligence committees on Sunday prodded the White House to work to prevent the Islamic State extremists from launching attacks on U.S. soil. The bipartisan pair of lawmakers shared a dire warning about the Islamic State group, which now has control of vast swaths of Syria and Iraq, has killed civilians from that region and beheaded American journalist James Foley.

“This is a group of people who are extraordinarily dangerous,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the California Democrat who leads the Senate intelligence panel. “And they’ll kill with abandon.”

Epoch Times Photo

Iraqi security forces and Shiite militiamen chant anti-terrorism slogans after breaking the siege on 15,000 Shiite Turkmens stranded in the farming community town of Amirli, following U.S. airstrikes against Sunni Islamic State group positions, 105 miles (170 kilometers) north of Baghdad, Sunday, Aug. 31, 2014. The Islamic State extremist group has seized cities, towns and vast tracts of land in northeastern Syria and northern and western Iraq. It views Shiites as apostates and has carried out a number of massacres and beheadings — often posting grisly videos and photos of the atrocities online. (AP Photo)

Epoch Times Photo

In this Aug. 9, 2014, photo, President Barack Obama speaks on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, about the ongoing situation in Iraq. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Epoch Times Photo

This Dec. 21, 2012 file photo shows Senate intelligence committee chair, Sen. Diane Feinstein, D-Cal., left, speaking at a Capitol Hill news conference in Washington. Feinstein and the chair of the House intelligence committee prodded President Barack Obama on Sunday, Aug. 31, 2014, to take decisive action against the growing threats from Islamic State militants on U.S. soil. (AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt, File)

In a separate TV interview, the leader of the House Intelligence Committee warned the leaders of the Islamic State, sometimes called ISIL or ISIS, are looking for a spectacular attack that would help them raise money and recruit more fighters.

“ISIL would like to have a Western-style attack to continue this notion that they are the leading jihadist group in the world,” said Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich.

The pair of lawmakers, who have access to some of the nation’s most sensitive secrets and receive regular detailed briefings from the nation’s spy agencies, offered dire predictions of an attack on the United States or its European allies if the militants are not confronted.

“They have announced that they don’t intend to stop,” Feinstein said. “They have announced that they will come after us if they can, that they will, quote, ‘spill our blood.'”

The threat, Rogers said, could include Americans who have trained with Islamic State fighters. He said there are hundreds of Islamic State-trained Americans who can return to the U.S. with their American passports.

“I’m very concerned because we don’t know every single person that has an American passport that has gone and trained and learned how to fight,” Rogers said.

Rogers said U.S. intelligence agencies were tracking the Americans who are known to have traveled to the region. If they helped Islamic State fighters, he said, they should be charged under laws that prohibit Americans from aiding terrorists.

The top Democrat on Roger’s intelligence panel, Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger of Maryland, was more skeptical. He said more needs to be known before judging whether Islamic State extremists plan to commit terrorist acts in the U.S. any time soon. The group’s priority now seems to be to hold on to territory it has gained rather than export violence.

“It is extremely urgent, but you don’t just rush in,” he said.

It was a view shared by Rep. Adam Smith, a Washington state Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee: “We can’t simply bomb first and ask questions later.”

Feinstein spoke to NBC’s “Meet the Press.” Rogers appeared on “Fox News Sunday.” Ruppersberger was on CNN’s “State of the Union.” Smith was interviewed on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. and world news. He is based in Maryland.