During testimony this week before the Senate Armed Services Committee, two of the nation’s top Special Operations officials warned that the spillover effect from the growing number of radical Islamists in Syria would eventually threaten the American homeland.
Navy Adm. William McRaven, commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command, and Asst. Defense Sec. for Special Operations Michael Lumpkin, testified that if left unchecked, the growing number of extremists and the threat they pose to the region and the world was “only going to get worse”.
Watch the exchange:
Two days following this testimony, a new bill was introduced in Congress intended to severely restrict Americans from traveling to Syria and would carry penalties of up to 20 years for violators.
Known as the International Conflicts of Concern Act and authored by Rep. Frank Wolf (R., Va.), the bill is in response to a large influx of foreign fighters in Syria, including at least 50 Americans. Those who follow the Threat Journal Facebook or Twitter news stream will recall that last week we posted a video of a pair of Los Angles gang members in Syria talking snap and giving gang shout outs while engaging in the conflict.
If passed into law, the bill would designate Syria as a “country of conflict concern” and prevent Americans from traveling there without a license approved by the Treasury Department, as well as prohibit U.S. citizens from providing material support to any group operating in Syria, including both pro-government and anti-government forces.
The obvious overarching concern behind the officials testimony as well as this legislation is having American citizens, or those who can gain easy entry, learning battlefield trade craft, then returning to the U.S. and putting this skill set to use on U.S. soil.
Readers are reminded that on multiple occasions in the past (see this and this), AlertsUSA Threat Journal has reported on Obama Administration efforts to fund, train and arm Islamic militants and opposition forces, some of which are aligned with the al Qaeda terrorist organization, who are fighting against the Syrian military.