NBC News: Iraq an al-Qaeda safe haven, threat to U.S. targets ‘extremely high’

posted at 4:41 pm on June 30, 2014 by Noah Rothman

“This country,” NBC’s foreign correspondent Richard Engel reported on Monday live from Baghdad, “parts of it, anyway – are now undeniably safe havens for terrorists.”

As disconcerting as this revelation is, Engel’s dispatches from Iraq on Monday were far more disturbing than that.

The reporter added that Iraq’s security forces are in a “standoff” with ISIS militants after an offensive aimed at retaking the city of Tikrit failed to achieve that objective. The capacity of Iraq’s military to dislodge ISIS from Iraqi territory, even with the aid of questionable allies like Iran, is now in doubt.

Worse, as many intelligence officials warned earlier this month, the threat to the United States posed by ISIS is growing by the minute.

Engel reported that ISIS has secured the support of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s top bomb maker, Ibrahim al-Asiri. He will assist in ISIS’s quest to develop more powerful improvised explosive devices.

The NBC News reporter added that American and British officials are deeply concerned about the number of foreign fighters joining ISIS’s ranks. He added that U.S. officials say that the terror group is crafting weapons and training foreign fighters with the express design of attacking targets in the United States and Europe.

What’s more American officials confirmed to Engel that approximately 70 American citizens have passed through Syria and are now currently working with ISIS. “Multiple US intelligence officials tell NBC News that he current terror that against US targets from ISIS is ‘extremely high,’” Engel wrote on his Twitter account.

Meanwhile, the political debate in the United States has been consumed over the Supreme Court’s decision to invalidate the Affordable Care Act’s contraception mandate for businesses like Hobby Lobby case and President Barack Obama’s announcement that he will pursue immigration reforms via executive order.

Take a look at how America’s rated the issues of abortion and immigration on a list of priorities in an annual Gallup survey conducted in January:

Priorities

Sooner or later, the ISIS threat will demand Americans’ attention. Hopefully, it will be on America’s terms.


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Thank obama!!!

Schadenfreude on June 30, 2014 at 4:43 PM

Look at this schwein

Schadenfreude on June 30, 2014 at 4:43 PM

As Sheriff Beauford T. Justice would say, “No Shiite”.

ConstantineXI on June 30, 2014 at 4:44 PM

Sooner or later, the ISIS threat will demand Americans’ attention. Hopefully, it will be on America’s terms.

Wishful thinking, I’m afraid. Our decisions to ignore border security will almost guarantee it.

Midas on June 30, 2014 at 4:44 PM

Where is AllahP on a day like today?

Schadenfreude on June 30, 2014 at 4:44 PM

The open borders will be devastating to the US.

obama will have lots of blood on his hands. All amnesty shills will too.

Schadenfreude on June 30, 2014 at 4:45 PM

Look at this schwein

Schadenfreude on June 30, 2014 at 4:43 PM

You misspelled “swine”.

VegasRick on June 30, 2014 at 4:48 PM

Iraq an al-Qaeda safe haven

So is Syria, Libya, and Yemen.

sharrukin on June 30, 2014 at 4:51 PM

What a mess. I’m guessing it’s all Bush’s fault.

John the Libertarian on June 30, 2014 at 4:52 PM

But…but…but…the Obamassiah said that AQ was decimated and on it’s heels!

GarandFan on June 30, 2014 at 4:56 PM

The open borders will be devastating to the US.

obama will have lots of blood on his hands. All amnesty shills will too.

Schadenfreude on June 30, 2014 at 4:45 PM

I look at it this way :
Hussein is funding the caliphate for muzzies and the aztlan for meheecans, the planet is healing my friends….

burrata on June 30, 2014 at 4:58 PM

Where is AllahP on a day like today?

Schadenfreude on June 30, 2014 at 4:44 PM

Probably having a very important research meeting with Samuel Adam’s (Boston Lager).

oscarwilde on June 30, 2014 at 4:59 PM

But…but…but…the Obamassiah said that AQ was decimated and on it’s heels!

GarandFan on June 30, 2014 at 4:56 PM

He said they were on the run……………………..and he was right!…………………

VegasRick on June 30, 2014 at 5:00 PM

This is no biggie. Wait until it spreads to Europe in 2035.

Oil Can on June 30, 2014 at 5:01 PM

But…but…but…the Obamassiah said that AQ was decimated and on it’s heels!

GarandFan on June 30, 2014 at 4:56 PM

He said they were on the run……………………..and he was right!…………………

VegasRick on June 30, 2014 at 5:00 PM

Oh, and that GM was exploding!……………and he was right about that too!………

VegasRick on June 30, 2014 at 5:01 PM

GarandFan on June 30, 2014 at 4:56 PM

He said they were on the run……………………..and he was right!…………………

VegasRick on June 30, 2014 at 5:00 PM

Sigh… He usually is… Just not the way he means…

oscarwilde on June 30, 2014 at 5:02 PM

Obama is such an effing disaster for the US I’m certain he could stroll alone in alqaeda held territory and not worry about being killed much less injured

Doyle Hargrave on June 30, 2014 at 5:02 PM

Sorry Mr. Engel. Valery is picking up the phone. Maybe you can get a job at Fox.

crankyoldlady on June 30, 2014 at 5:02 PM

This is no biggie. Wait until it spreads to Europe in 2035.

Oil Can on June 30, 2014 at 5:01 PM

Bro, you are an optimist.

VegasRick on June 30, 2014 at 5:02 PM

So basically it is now in the same status as it was before we went in? Good job, Obama.

Cindy Munford on June 30, 2014 at 5:03 PM

Obama is such an effing disaster for the US I’m certain he could stroll alone in alqaeda held territory and not worry about being killed much less injured

Doyle Hargrave on June 30, 2014 at 5:02 PM

He should try………….

VegasRick on June 30, 2014 at 5:03 PM

But, I thought Beckel, Juanito and Skelator said we were safe from those terrorists.

Kissmygrits on June 30, 2014 at 5:03 PM

You misspelled “swine”.

VegasRick on June 30, 2014 at 4:48 PM

Because the plagiarist pig hates Jews.

Schadenfreude on June 30, 2014 at 5:04 PM

It’s pretty clear we are going to suffer another 9/11 within a year, probably much sooner.

And yes, it will be Bush’s fault.

Tard on June 30, 2014 at 5:04 PM

How do you spell SCUM….FAREED!!

Deano1952 on June 30, 2014 at 5:07 PM

This is no biggie. Wait until it spreads to Europe in 2035.

Oil Can on June 30, 2014 at 5:01 PM

See the ABC news link above, regarding Five year plan and accompanying map.

parke on June 30, 2014 at 5:08 PM

What’s more American officials confirmed to Engel that approximately 70 American citizens have passed through Syria and are now currently working with ISIS. “Multiple US intelligence officials tell NBC News that he current terror that against US targets from ISIS is ‘extremely high,’” Engel wrote on his Twitter account.

(1) Call them jihadists or traitors, NOT American citizens. In fact most are probably converts or probably Muslims who came to America from…drum roll…Iraq. Why? Because bless their hearts they were refugees from Saddam’s evil rule or some other “oppressive” tyrant who was preventing they or their forefathers from practicing their faith like it said in the Quran.

(2) How will they get back to good old America…well they could take a plane considering our government is so incompetent, or they could go to the Mexican border and walk over. Either one…then they can start blowing up stuff. In reality it is not like they had to go to Syria or Iraq to do that. They could stay right here and do that too.

Sooner or later, the ISIS threat will demand Americans’ attention. Hopefully, it will be on America’s terms.

Probably, but all the nation building and dopey CIA schemes in Iraq and Syria that involve helping Muslims won’t do much good in stopping them from blowing up stuff here.

I think the best analogy for those wanting a robust American response to this is you remind me very much of gun control activist after a shooting. Which is…We need a new gun control law, without any clue how that new law will do anything to stop the next shooting. Marco Rubio’s last speech on this subject was for Jihadism what Bloomberg is for stopping violence in America. In other words…stupid.

Same for Iraq…Which is they want us to intervene, but do what? Bomb some ISIS tents, if we can find them? Maybe one of their Toyota pickup trucks (boy those trucks last forever). That will result in us siding with Iran. So do we bomb them to? How do we stop Arabian funding of ISIS? Maybe that would be more fruitful.

The point is we need to let this play out so we can see who is truly winning, see if they can actually build a state so we can have something useful to bomb, etc. I also know that you could not possibly want boots back on the ground in large numbers…that is political suicide and strategically stupid.

The best strategic move is the one that best helps America. Right now that is staying out. That might change, nothing lasts forever, but right now that is the best option. Oh….guard our borders and airports.

William Eaton on June 30, 2014 at 5:09 PM

When the ISIS/ISIL threat demands America’s attention, it will be on America’s terms. We’ll get to choose whether we risk another U.S. ambassador to run them more guns, or will merely airdrop them more humvees.

This president is the worst thing happening in the world today.

ROCnPhilly on June 30, 2014 at 5:10 PM

So basically it is now in the same status as it was before we went in? Good job, Obama.

Cindy Munford on June 30, 2014 at 5:03 PM

Oh no no no noooo…it is NOT in the same status, this time Hussein has weaponized , trained and funded them with our money, it is much better
:(

burrata on June 30, 2014 at 5:11 PM

How do you spell SCUM….FAREED!!

Deano1952 on June 30, 2014 at 5:07 PM

You can’t spell “deafer” without fareed!

VegasRick on June 30, 2014 at 5:12 PM

When the ISIS/ISIL threat demands America’s attention, it will be on America’s terms. We’ll get to choose whether we risk another U.S. ambassador to run them more guns, or will merely airdrop them more humvees.

This president is the worst thing happening in the world today.

ROCnPhilly on June 30, 2014 at 5:10 PM

I’m hoping we get to choose which US cities we get to fight in because it will be HERE!

VegasRick on June 30, 2014 at 5:14 PM

So is Syria, Libya, and Yemen.

sharrukin on June 30, 2014 at 4:51 PM

And…Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nigeria, Dearborn in Michigan…

William Eaton on June 30, 2014 at 5:15 PM

Americans in #isis. US officials say about seventy US fighters have passed through Syria and about a dozen are currently active there.

Cue the Liberals and “Libertarians” crying these 70 Traitors be read Miranda Rights before any act of Self Defense taking, no matter the context.

jp on June 30, 2014 at 5:15 PM

Sooner or later, the ISIS threat will demand Americans’ attention. Hopefully, it will be on America’s terms.

Well, just as long as ISIS doesn’t refuse to bake a gay wedding cake then they are apt to fly under the radar of leftist outrage. And, of course, libertarians and other members of the fifth column.

Happy Nomad on June 30, 2014 at 5:18 PM

So basically it is now in the same status as it was before we went in? Good job, Obama.

Cindy Munford on June 30, 2014 at 5:03 PM

No, it’s actually worse, for they have seized the weapons that we left behind.

onlineanalyst on June 30, 2014 at 5:20 PM

I’m not a fan of Rothman’s style. Not ‘bloggy’ enough. Short paragraphs, little emphasis on his opinions… its almost like an uncanny valley between a blog post and actual articles.

I don’t mean to sound like a jerk, but I just totally gloss over when I read his stuff, and its been bugging me for quite a while now.

DominusNovus on June 30, 2014 at 5:20 PM

Recently promoted Lt. Col. Bowe Bergdahl has expressed an interest in opening a dialogue with ISIS. He and State Dept. spokesindividual Jen Psaki would make a good team to build bridges, initiate a “win-win” situation, etc.

I’d move away from Manhattan and Tel Aviv now if I were you.

spiritof61 on June 30, 2014 at 5:24 PM

I’m hoping we get to choose which US cities we get to fight in because it will be HERE!

VegasRick on June 30, 2014 at 5:14 PM

Hell, we’re being invaded now (not that that’s a story or anything) and those tasked with defense are changing diapers and putting gang members on buses to major metro areas across the country. Ain’t gonna be any shooting unless it’s your dog being shot by an illegal alien.

ROCnPhilly on June 30, 2014 at 5:25 PM

So basically it is now in the same status as it was before we went in? Good job, Obama.

Cindy Munford on June 30, 2014 at 5:03 PM

No, it’s actually worse, for they have seized the weapons that we left behind.

onlineanalyst on June 30, 2014 at 5:20 PM

We might as well have a block on customs forms so the terrorists can declare how much explosives they are bringing in to the country.

Happy Nomad on June 30, 2014 at 5:25 PM

The crazy thing, this is like 5 safe haven. We need to figure out what to do with these parts of world.

Oil Can on June 30, 2014 at 5:25 PM

Oh, and ISIS never has gay weddings. Do have crucifixions from time to time where gays are welcome.

spiritof61 on June 30, 2014 at 5:26 PM

Sooner or later, the ISIS threat will demand Americans’ attention. Hopefully, it will be on America’s terms.

Wishful thinking, I’m afraid. Our decisions to ignore border security will almost guarantee it.

Midas on June 30, 2014 at 4:44 PM

It will never be on “America’s Terms” as long as Obumbles, the BFF to islamic terrorists is the WH. And not before we see massive death and destruction on our soil again.

And it isn’t simple ignorance in border security. It is willful disregard to our Republic’s border security, along with aiding the invaders, to hasten its demise.

hawkeye54 on June 30, 2014 at 5:27 PM

We might as well have a block on customs forms so the terrorists can declare how much explosives they are bringing in to the country.

Happy Nomad on June 30, 2014 at 5:25 PM

No need. Our current administration insists on a “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Policy in regard to a select list of preferred terrorists entering our country.

hawkeye54 on June 30, 2014 at 5:29 PM

Somalis from Minnesota going to Iraq for the big kill off..

According to Wikipedia (i know it is wikipedia…not the best but still):

he Muslim population of the U.S. increased dramatically in the 20th century, with much of the growth driven by a comparatively high birth rate and immigrant communities of mainly Arab and South Asian descent. About 72% of American Muslims are immigrants or “second generation”.[10][11] In 2005, more people from Islamic countries became legal permanent United States residents — nearly 96,000 — than in any year in the previous two decades.[12][13] In 2009, more than 115,000 Muslims became legal residents of the United States.[1

So Bush fought them over there so they could come over here…

Seems like Obama is keeping that policy. So why are those so worried about this news want to go over there again…so we can bring more back with us? That seems to be the American way…

William Eaton on June 30, 2014 at 5:30 PM

Sooner or later, the ISIS threat will demand Americans’ attention. Hopefully, it will be on America’s terms.

No more Muslim visas.

Oil Can on June 30, 2014 at 5:32 PM

What’s more American officials confirmed to Engel that approximately 70 American citizens have passed through Syria and are now currently working with ISIS. “Multiple US intelligence officials tell NBC News that he current terror that against US targets from ISIS is ‘extremely high,’” Engel wrote on his Twitter account.

Please define “extremely high.”

I’m not being cheeky, but with the USA having myriads of viable targets, having them all at an “extremely high” risk pretty much guarantees something will be hit, and soon.

mankai on June 30, 2014 at 5:39 PM

Retweeted by zerohedge

Richard Engel ‏@RichardEngel 20m
US to send approximately 200 “additional U.S. Armed Forces personnel to Iraq to reinforce security”…

Oil Can on June 30, 2014 at 5:41 PM

I heard Richard Engels’ report Sunday on NBC. Shockingly honest and shockingly frightening.

He is basically saying we are at war, and they’re coming here.

Hope someone reads the paper to Bronco Bama so he can perhaps stop the bombers from coming here.

PattyJ on June 30, 2014 at 5:43 PM

Hope someone reads the paper to Bronco Bama so he can perhaps stop the bombers from coming here.

PattyJ on June 30, 2014 at 5:43 PM

He is going to be madder than hell.

VegasRick on June 30, 2014 at 5:49 PM

He is basically saying we are at war, and they’re coming here.

Hope someone reads the paper to Bronco Bama so he can perhaps stop the bombers from coming here.

PattyJ on June 30, 2014 at 5:43 PM

Bronco has decided to allow them to come here to save on shipping costs. He says republicans are attacking him for trying to save taxpayers some money.

ROCnPhilly on June 30, 2014 at 5:49 PM

No more Muslim visas.

Oil Can on June 30, 2014 at 5:32 PM

Muslims need visas to enter here? Do they know that!?

hawkeye54 on June 30, 2014 at 5:52 PM

Muslims need visas to enter here? Do they know that!?

hawkeye54 on June 30, 2014 at 5:52 PM

Hater. Theirs is a Religion of Peace. In fact, the Caliphate has already declared its peaceful intentions. Anyone who tries to deny this should be put to death.

spiritof61 on June 30, 2014 at 6:00 PM

Lessee, so that gives us Labia, Iraq, A-stan, and (to one degree or another) Iran.

Yeah, I’d call that change.

PS If the Hispanics were smart, they’d get the Hell back to wherever they have a home before they start glowing in the dark like the rest of us.

formwiz on June 30, 2014 at 6:04 PM

Thank You GW Bush. Your war to avenge your daddy has cost us thousands of our young people, and created a safe haven for terrorists unlike any we have ever seen.

Thank You Barry Sotero, your ineptitude will cost thousands more American lives.

We deserve what we are about to get.

Hey Bushies, at least Thad Cochran still has his seat, right?

Exninja on June 30, 2014 at 6:07 PM

Can someone get a transcript of Richard Engel’s report and send it to the President? He’s gonna be p1ssed. Probably madder than anyone.

JusDreamin on June 30, 2014 at 6:16 PM

Thank You Barry Sotero, your ineptitude will cost thousands more American lives.

You think Barry cares. He wouldn’t care if it cost millions more American lives.

hawkeye54 on June 30, 2014 at 6:17 PM

Muslims need visas to enter here? Do they know that!?

hawkeye54 on June 30, 2014 at 5:52 PM

I know…depressing.

Oil Can on June 30, 2014 at 6:23 PM

It certainly seems like we are going to see another attack on US soil sooner rather than later. It is most likely that any attack will be in a major metro area which will, statistically, most likely be a deep blue voting area. Therefore, those most effected and most likely to be harmed are most likely to be those very people who voted for Obama and support other lefty policies, such as weak border security and “diversity” policies that leave us most vulnerable to those very attacks. You know, reap -> sow.

I say that now because if I say it after something goes *BOOM* I will be called insensitive, etc. Sometimes people don’t realize they have surrounded themselves with chicken sh** until the chickens actually roost. Unfortunately, I think the more likely response will be that they will scream and yell about how our 2A rights and American suburban/rural culture is somehow and nonsensically to blame.

deepdiver on June 30, 2014 at 6:47 PM

Obama’s Vietnam. Glad I’m too old for the draft.

Meople on June 30, 2014 at 7:45 PM

NBC News: Iraq an al-Qaeda safe haven, threat to U.S. targets ‘extremely high’

…do they have NBC’s correct address?

JugEarsButtHurt on June 30, 2014 at 7:51 PM

NBC News: Iraq an al-Qaeda safe haven, threat to U.S. targets ‘extremely high’

…do they have NBC’s correct address?

JugEarsButtHurt on June 30, 2014 at 7:51 PM

Jimbo is going to send them a list of Hobby Lobby locations.

slickwillie2001 on June 30, 2014 at 8:16 PM

“threat to U.S. targets ‘extremely high‘”

that’s like a synonym, for “on the run,” or “decimated”… right?

dpduq on June 30, 2014 at 8:56 PM

GM inches closer to the grave, The Caliphate moves closer to Baghdad.

Another Drew on June 30, 2014 at 8:57 PM

So much for the Obama canard that Al Qaeda is on the path to defeat. His decision to cut and run from Iraq is looking worse with each passing day.

charlesbird on June 30, 2014 at 10:00 PM

Yes, he’s gonna be mad! He’s going to have his team working day and night to get to the bottom of this!

PattyJ on July 1, 2014 at 1:03 AM

Open borders + al-Qaeda safe haven = It’s only a matter of time.

iceman1960 on July 1, 2014 at 8:10 AM

How is it that we have trained Iraqi troops for ten years, and they are STILL incapable of defeating ISIS? I think I’ve seen this picture before, like in Vietnam.

kjatexas on July 1, 2014 at 11:05 AM

He added that U.S. officials say that the terror group is crafting weapons and training foreign fighters with the express design of attacking targets in the United States and Europe.

Proof? We already knows how our government lies about pretty much everything and there is no reason to believe any of this. Engel calls these people “terrorists” right from the start so there is no reason to believe he is “reporting” rather than giving us his opinion.

It seems to me these fighters have enough of a challenge securing their new state rather than attacking us. I could be wrong, but this is a civil war, none of our business, Iraq was never any of our business, and we have meddled enough over there. We should withdraw all our troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, recognize the new Kurdish state and mind our own business.

earlgrey on July 1, 2014 at 1:03 PM