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Tags: ISIS | Islamic State | Christians | Iraq | Iran | Israel

Phares: ISIS Expanding Throughout Middle East

By    |   Thursday, 20 November 2014 11:52 AM EST

The Islamic State (ISIS) is expanding its reach throughout the Mideast, a concern both for the United States and the rest of the world, according to Middle East expert Walid Phares and former House Intelligence Chairman Pete Hoekstra, who appeared Thursday on "America’s Forum" on Newsmax TV.

"ISIS now is inviting affiliates including out of Libya, out of Benghazi, all the way to the Sahel," he said. "In Yemen, there are negotiations now that ISIS and other jihadi groups will merge. If you want to do a projection, the more successful ISIS is, that would be the less successful we are."

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The Islamic State currently has affiliates in 14 countries across the Middle East, Hoekstra said, reaching as far as North and Central Africa.

"Clearly they are the flavor of the month in terms of radical jihadists," Hoekstra said. "They share the same philosophy as what al-Qaida did. So the philosophy has not changed. Just the organization has changed. The threat remains consistent."

The ramped-up attacks in Israel, however, are likely linked to Hamas Islamic jihad that is part of an Iranian decoy, according to Phares, who said he has sources in the Middle East who tell him that "those pinpointed attacks against the Israelis are manipulated by Hamas, which is an associate of Iran."

It’s an "Iranian decision to flare up issues between Gaza and Israel so that the Iranian commitment to the international community won't become a priority," he explained. "It's a much bigger issue because there are no reasons for these attacks in Israel."

The "lone wolf" attacks are intended to destabilize the situation to Iran’s benefit.

"The Iranian leadership is taking advantage of the fact that we are busy with ISIS and our public opinion right now is putting pressure on us and, of course, our associates and allies in the region, want us to do strikes against ISIS and help them," Phares said. "We are so much focusing on ISIS that the Iranian regime is doing whatever it wants by passing the nuclear deal."

Meanwhile, the persecution of Christians throughout the Middle East, including Iraq, Syria, Egypt, and Lebanon, continues. The situation for the religious minority Yazidis in Iraq has not improved either, Phares said.

"We went to the United Nations and the Security Council and there we called very clearly on the UN to create a safe zone for the Yazidis and for the Christians in the Nineveh Valley, in the Sinjar Mountains," said Phares. "Unfortunately, it did not happen and now the Yazidis, there are a few thousand still resisting on that mountain, hundreds of thousands of Yazidis are now dispersed in Kurdistan and there is no real support for the Yazidis to form their own homeland or their own district and this is where the attention of the U.S. government should be, to help the minorities of Iraq, the weakest and the most targeted of all communities in Iraq at this point in time."

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The Islamic State (ISIS) is expanding its reach throughout the Mideast, a concern both for the United States and the rest of the world, according to Middle East expert Walid Phares and former House Intelligence Chairman Pete Hoekstra.
ISIS, Islamic State, Christians, Iraq, Iran, Israel
521
2014-52-20
Thursday, 20 November 2014 11:52 AM
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