(CBSNews/Associated Press), RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — The king of Saudi Arabia has warned that extremists could attack Europe and the U.S. if there is not a strong international response to terrorism after Islamist extremists seized a wide territory across Iraq and Syria.
While not mentioning any terrorist groups by name, King Abdullah’s statement appeared aimed at drawing Washington and NATO forces into a wider fight against the [Sunni Muslim terrorist group] Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, and its supporters in the region. Saudi Arabia openly backs rebels fighting Syrian President Bashar Assad, but is concerned that the breakaway al Qaeda group [ISIS] could also turn those very same weapons on the kingdom.
“If we ignore them, I am certain that after a month they will reach Europe and, after another month, America,” he said at a reception [to welcome new] ambassadors on Friday, [including U.S. Envoy Joseph Westphal and British Ambassador John Jenkins].
Official Saudi media carried the king’s comments early Saturday.
“These terrorists do not know the name of humanity and you have witnessed them severing heads and giving them to children to walk with in the street,” the king said, urging the ambassadors to relay his message directly to their heads of state. [“It is no secret to you, what they have done and what they have yet to do,” Abdullah said, according to a story in the newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat. “I ask you to transmit this message to your leaders: ‘Fight terrorism with force, reason and (necessary) speed.’ ”]
CBS News correspondent Julianna Goldman reports from Washington that President Obama didn’t talk military planning Friday night when he met with Democratic donors, but he said that he understands that Americans are anxious about the growing threat of ISIS, and he acknowledged that it’s a dangerous time in the Middle East.
A day after the president said that he doesn’t have a strategy yet for confronting ISIS, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, in Syria, White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Mr. Obama is waiting for his defense secretary to present a plan.
“There are some who probably would make the case that it’s OK to not have a formulated, comprehensive strategy but, just as one pundit I know recently suggested, that we could just go drop some bombs and see what happens,” Earnest told reporters Friday. “That is not what the president believes is a smart approach.”
Echoing that message, Pentagon spokesman Adm. John Kirby said the Defense Department doesn’t have binders full of plans at any given moment.
“Planners down in Tampa and planners here in the Pentagon continually refine and change and update planning options for potential military activity,” Kirby told reporters Friday. “It is an ongoing effort.”
The U.S. military campaign against ISIS is so far limited to targets in Iraq, but President Obama is considering expanding the mission to also include Syria, where this week he ordered surveillance flights.
ISIS has been fighting moderate rebels, other extremists and Assad’s forces in Syria for nearly three years. Iraq has faced an onslaught by the Sunni extremists and their supporters since early this year, and the country continues to be roiled by instability.
While providing arms and support to Sunni militants in Syria, [and known as the largest state to fund terrorist groups], Saudi Arabia has denied directly funding or backing ISIS.
British officials raised the country’s terror threat level Friday to “severe,” its second-highest level, because of developments in Iraq and Syria, but there was no information to suggest an attack was imminent. The White House has said it does not expect the U.S. to bump up its terrorism threat warning level.
Saudi Arabia, a major U.S. ally in the region, has taken an increasingly active role in criticizing ISIS. Earlier this month, the country’s top cleric described ISIS and al Qaeda as Islam’s No. 1 enemy and said that Muslims have been their first victims. State-backed Saudi clerics who once openly called on citizens to fight in Syria can now face steep punishment and the kingdom has threatened to imprison its citizens who fight in Syria and Iraq.
A decade ago, al Qaeda militants launched a string of attacks in the kingdom aimed at toppling the monarchy. Saudi officials responded with a massive crackdown that saw many flee to neighboring Yemen. In the time since, the kingdom has not seen any massive attacks, though it has imprisoned suspected militants and sentenced others to death. …
Reprinted here for educational purposes only. May not be reproduced on other websites without permission from CBSNews. Visit the website at cbsnews .com.
1. What warning did King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia give the new ambassadors to Saudi Arabia, including U.S.Ambassador Joseph Westphal, during a reception on Friday?
2. What does the reporter imply is the reason for King Abdullah’s warning?
3. a) Define justified.
b) Do you think King Abdullah’s warning about ISIS is justified?
c) Ask a parent if he/she thinks the U.S. should take Abdullah’s warning seriously and to explain his/her answer.
4. a) Why doesn’t President Obama have a strategy for dealing with ISIS yet?
b) American journalist James Foley was beheaded by ISIS on August 19. It was reported on Tuesday that a second American reprter, Steven Sotloff, was beheaded. The U.S. has the best military in the world and the best military intelligence. Do you think the U.S. should have taken action against ISIS by now, or is it best to give the White House more time to come up with a plan? How much time do you think it should take? Explain your answer.
5. Secretary of State John Kerry says the US will use an upcoming NATO summit on September 4-5 to push for a coalition of countries to beat back ISIS incursions in Syria and Iraq. He wrote in an opinion piece in The New York Times
“With a united response led by the United States and the broadest possible coalition of nations, the cancer of ISIS will not be allowed to spread to other countries.” Is this too late? Explain your answer.
ISIS/ISIL renames itself ISLAMIC STATE:
- ISIS, an offshoot of Al-Qaeda which has captured territory in Iraq and Syria has declared itself an Islamic “caliphate“* and called on factions worldwide to pledge their allegiance, a statement posted on Islamist websites and Twitter said on June 29. [*Caliphate is a Muslim world government ruled according to sharia (Islamic law)]
- The move poses a direct challenge to the central leadership of Al-Qaeda, which has already disowned it, and to conservative Gulf Arab rulers.
- The group, previously known as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), has renamed itself “Islamic State” and proclaimed its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as “Caliph” – the head of the state, the statement said.
- “He is the imam and khalifah (Caliph) for the Muslims everywhere,” the group’s spokesman Abu Muhammad al-Adnani said in the statement, which was translated into several languages and read out in an Arabic audio speech.
- “Accordingly, the “Iraq and Sham” (Levant) in the name of the Islamic State is henceforth removed from all official deliberations and communications, and the official name is the Islamic State from the date of this declaration,” he said.
- The Sunni Muslim militant group follows Al-Qaeda’s hardline ideology but draws its strength from foreign fighters, battle-hardened from Iraq.
- It seeks to re-create a medieval-style caliphate erasing borders from the Mediterranean to the Gulf and deems Shi’ite Muslims to be heretics deserving death.
- “It is incumbent upon all Muslims to pledge allegiance to (him) and support him…The legality of all emirates, groups, states, and organizations, becomes null by the expansion of the khalifah’s (Caliph’s) authority and arrival of its troops to their areas,” the statement said.
- Charles Lister, Visiting Fellow at the Brookings Doha Center, saw considerable significance in the group’s declaration. “… (the) announcement that it has restored the Caliphate is likely the most significant development in international jihadism since 9/11. The impact of this announcement will be global as al-Qaeda affiliates and independent jihadist groups must now definitively choose to support and join the Islamic State or to oppose it.”
- Gulf Arab states such as Saudi Arabia are likely to be alarmed by the open declaration of a caliphate that challenges their power and the dynastic system on which it rests. Saudi Arabia fought Al-Qaeda militants for several years, finally crushing their campaign in 2006.
- Fighters from the group overran the Iraqi city of Mosul last month in a lightning action and have advanced towards Baghdad. In Syria they have captured territory in the north and east, along the frontier with Iraq.
- The group crucified eight rival rebel fighters in Syria, a monitoring group said on Sunday, and it has frequently fought with Al-Qaeda’s Syrian wing and other armed Islamist groups.
- Such infighting has killed around 7,000 people in the country so far this year and complicated the three-year uprising against Syrian President Bashar Assad. (from a June 29 report at Israel’s haaretz.com)
From wikipedia’s entry “State Sponsored Terrorism”:
Saudi Arabia is said to be the world’s largest source of funds for Salafi jihadist terrorist militant groups, such as al-Qaeda, the Afghan Taliban, the Pakistan Taliban, ISIS and Lashkar-e-Taiba in South Asia, and donors in Saudi Arabia constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide, according to [former Secretary of State] Hillary Clinton. According to a secret December 2009 paper signed by the US secretary of state, “Saudi Arabia remains a critical financial support base for al-Qaida, theTaliban, LeT and other terrorist groups.”
Read a recent commentary “Destroy ISIS Now” at: studentnewsdaily.com/editorials-for-students/destroy-isis-now
and a recent Daily News Article “What Kind of Risk Does ISIS Pose to the US” at: studentnewsdaily.com/daily-news-article/what-kind-of-risk-does-isis-pose-to-the-u-s
For an analysis “Why Obama Backed Off More ISIS Strikes: His Own Team Couldn’t Agree on a Syria Strategy” go to: dailybeast.com
Watch a CBS News report from Thursday (8/28):
Watch a CBS News report from 9/2/14:
Daily “Answers” emails are provided for Daily News Articles, Tuesday’s World Events and Friday’s News Quiz.