Via The Washington Times
The al Qaeda-linked army now conquering territory in Syria and Iraq ultimately wants its new Islamic state to be a launching pad for attacking the U.S. homeland, says a new congressional report.
Four experts at the Congressional Research Service (CRS) make that assessment, citing intelligence assessments and the words of Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
The CRS report, delivered to members of Congress, stresses that ISIL is a well-organized, well-funded terrorist group with definite goals to take territory and kill people it considers non-believers.
“Several leading representatives of the U.S. intelligence community have stated that [ISIL] maintains training camps in Iraq and Syria, has the intent to attack the United States, and is reportedly recruiting and training individuals to do so,” says the June 20 report.
It quotes al Baghdadi as threatening the U.S.: “Know, O defender of the Cross, that a proxy war will not help you in the Levant, just as it will not help you in Iraq. Soon, you will be in direct conflict — God permitting — against your will.”
What makes ISIL even more dangerous is its ability to raise and steal money. Wealthy Sunni sheiks in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar have funneled money to ISIL to help it bring down the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad, an Alawite Muslim. Mr. Assad aligns himself with Iran, and its proxy in Lebanon, Hezbollah. They are Shiites deemed a threat to Sunni-dominated Gulf oil states.
ISIL alsois coercing money from businesses in cities it conquers. Media reports say it may have stolen hundreds of millions of dollars from banks in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul.