Have Western Leaders Committed Another Deadly Blunder?

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Western intelligence analysts concerned the terrorist army they created and funded will soon turn sights on home nations.

By Richard Walker —

The decision by President Barack Obama and his allies in Britain, France and Germany to arm and train Sunni radicals in the Syrian conflict has created a dangerous threat from a new wave of young terrorists born in the West, trained by the West and sent to the East to wage terrorism.

Britain is now scrambling to stop young British Muslims from going to Iraq and Syria to join the hundreds of other Britons who are there fighting with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the al Qaeda affiliate, known for its brutality and its recent invasion of parts of Iraq.

Two years ago, British Muslims flocked to Syria when Washington and London publicly supported the overthrow of the Syrian government of Bashar al Assad. There was so much euphoria surrounding calls for weapons to be sent to Sunni militias, Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron ignored the fact that young American and British Muslims were gearing up to answer a Sunni Arab call to join the fight. Washington and its allies appeared oblivious to the fact the Sunni militias they had just begun training at bases in Jordan and Turkey were dominated by groups linked to anti-Western radical terrorists.

In June 2013, the so-called Friends of Syria—Britain, France, Germany, Turkey, America and Saudi Arabia—promised Syrian opposition groups heavy weapons. Prominent among those groups was ISIS. It was an amalgam of extreme terror organizations infamous for carrying out beheadings and large-scale killings. Secretary of State John Kerry at a meeting of the Friends of Syria in Qatar announced “all materiel” would be provided to the Syrian opposition.

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Since that time, ISIS has expanded its fight to include Iraq, exposing the foreign policy mistakes of Washington and its allies in believing it could contain and control the group. Washington and London had consistently ignored reports ISIS was also acquiring funding by selling antiquities it looted from Syrian museums and oil it had seized.

With the help of the Saudis, ISIS was building a considerable arsenal and attracting many young Westerners to its ranks. In January 2014,Washington and London ignored a warning from the Kurds that ISIS was preparing to take the city of Mosul in Iraq before moving on to Baghdad.

The Western marriage with ISIS has produced a devilish problem for Obama and his European partners, especially the British. According to the latest reports, there are as many as 450 Britons prominent in ISIS, and some of them have posted videos online encouraging other young Muslims to join them. The biggest fear is many of these young Muslims, males and females, will soon turn their sights on the West. The belief this will happen has rattled British intelligence.

A British counterterrorism expert,who agreed to talk to this writer on condition of anonymity, had an ominous warning of the dangers ahead.

“Putin was right when he warned Obama we would be getting into bed with the wrong people in Syria,” he said. “That is what happened and we have unleashed a newer version of al Qaeda with young men, who can easily blend back into Western society, having been radicalized and well-trained in terror. Everyone in the intelligence community in Britain knows our backing of ISIS and the al Nusra Front has come back to bite us. We have effectively given terror a new lease on life.”

He also said Britain’s Scotland Yard told the British government it lacked the manpower to monitor growing numbers of potential threats from people linked to ISIS.

The source had this warning for America: “This is a real threat to the West, and we all know America is always the preferred target of jihadists. What we have done is train the terrorists, who will come for us. This is a rerun of Western leaders engaging with the wrong people. We backed Osama bin Laden when the Soviets were in Afghanistan and we got al Qaeda. Now we have ISIS.”

Richard Walker is the pen name of a former N.Y. news producer.