Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said February 9 the Sunni terrorist threat “has been on an upward trajectory since the late 1970s and has more groups, members and safe havens that at any other point in history.”
Defense Intelligence Agency Director Lt. Gen. Vincent R. Stewart also testified and his assessment wasn’t rosier.
More than 36,500 foreign fighters have gone to Syria, including at least 6,000 from Western countries, since 2012, said Stewart. Within the U.S., the FBI arrested some five dozen Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) supporters last year, a 500% increase from 2014.
“ISIL will likely increase the pace and lethality of its transnational attacks as infrastructure and capabilities mature. It will purposely attempt to stroke sectarian conflict between Shia and Sunnis and between the West and Islam to create the chaotic environment in which it thrives,” Stewart said.
The Islamic State will hold onto Mosul in Iraq through at least the end of the year, Stewart believes. It is the centerpiece of the caliphatein Iraq and has enormous ideological value to the group. The reason is that the Iraqi Security Forces, Kurdish