Belgian-born French national Salah Abdeslam, who allegedly drove ISIS terrorists to the Bataclan Concert Hall during the Paris Attacks on November 13, might be in Syria, despite earlier reports that Belgian police arrested him. The UK’s Metro described the hunt for Abdeslam, dubbed “public enemy number one,” as one of the largest manhunts in European history. The theory that he’s in Syria comes from French intelligence, while Belgium remains unsure (via CNN):
A source close to the investigation said Monday that Abdeslam had purchased 10 detonators from a fireworks shop on the outskirts of the city before the November 13 attacks.
The detonators cost 10 euros (about $10.60) each at the Saint-Ouen l'Aumone shop, Les Magiciens du Feu or "Fire Magicians." He also bought batteries.
Investigators have been looking for the Belgian-born French national since shortly after the attacks, which killed 130 people.
French intelligence services say they think he's escaped to Syria, according to the source close to the investigation and a counterterrorism source.
Belgian officials aren't so sure, however. Security services there have seen no indications Abdeslam has made it to Syria, although they've always thought he might be headed there, a Belgian security analyst in touch with Belgian security officials told CNN on Monday.
The store manager at Les Magiciens du Feu alerted authorities after Abdeslam's name and photograph were released to the public, the French newspaper Le Parisien reported.
CNN added that he also could have driven the suicide bombers to the Stade de France, as his fingerprints were found in one of the cars. There was also a chance to capture Abdeslam and his two associates when they decided to head for Brussels, but French police didn’t zero in on the culprits–ISIS–at the time and were allowed to exit the country.
While our European allies deal with finding Abdeslam, our embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan has received information of an imminent attack on the capital within the next two days, according to Reuters. Our embassy, staff, or any other American weren’t specifically listed as targets, but surely it’s a cause for concern.
It’s certainly wasn’t the best of days for the good guys, and the situation is further compounded with a president who is focused on a) not being like Bush (though in some regards he is) and b) his refusal to trust or listen to military and intelligence assets feeding him information on the current situation with ISIS.
President Obama has already mocked Republicans for their stance of the Syrian refugees, even though some on the left have characterized this position as out of touch. This is a cause for concern to anyone who is of rational thought because terrorists have feigned refugee status to enter this country. Maybe that’s why the American Security Against Foreign Enemies (SAFE) Act passed the House with a veto-proof majority before the Thanksgiving holiday since there really isn’t anything controversial in the legislation other than making absolutely sure that we don’t allow terrorists into the country.
Guy has written about the alleged intelligence scandal over ISIS, how CENTCOM was told to “cut it out” over negative reports on the Islamic State, and how the reports that reached Obama’s desk only ended with the administration “kicking the can down the road.” Today, he touched upon the former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, Michael Flynn, who said that the rise of ISIS is due to “willful decisions” by the Obama White House to ignore sound reports, which has led to bad policy.
The president had resorted to calling ISIS the “JV team” and said they were “contained” until they proved they had global reach when they murdered 130 Parisians earlier this month. Even knowing the threat ISIS poses, the president refuses to do anything different, noting at the G20 summit that he isn’t interested in narratives about “pursuing some notion of American leadership or America winning;” narratives that happen to be part of his 2015 national security strategy, but that’s for another time.
We did finally go after the source of ISIS’s income: oil. And destroyed close to 500 tanker trucks, which weren’t targeted for fear of civilian casualties. In one of the two airstrikes, our aircraft actually ran out of ammunition and was unable to complete the mission.
To make matters more maddening, Justin wrote about how former CIA director Michael Morrill reportedly said he was hamstrung by the Obama administration from going after the oil wells or the transport trucks that they knew were under ISIS control due to environmental concerns. Leah adds that ISIS is consolidating a fallback capital in Libya. The current ISIS capital of al-Raqqa, Syria is under air attack from France, while Russia has targeted the city with cruise missiles.
Shouldn’t we be quarterbacking this effort? Not with Obama as president.
Oh, and add Libya to the list of failures this administration has reaped for us abroad.