Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff of California, who leads his caucus in the House Intelligence Committee, called for creating what he called a “safe zone” inside Syria to provide aid to those fleeing the violence unleashed by Islamic State terrorism. In this he both contradicted President Barack Obama and he may lent some credence to a similar proposal made earlier by leading Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. In an interview released by Yahoo News on November 18, Schiff said “We see ISIS branching out in places around the world, and it is a growing menace.” Schiff used one of the various acronyms to refer to the Muslim terrorist army; Obama prefers “ISIL”.
“Until we successfully evaporate that sanctuary they have in Syria and Iraq, they will have the time and the space and the resources to plot against us,” said Schiff. “And even the best intelligence agencies — and we have the best — aren’t going to be able to stop every plot.” Furthermore, Schiff said “We have to put an end to that sanctuary if we’re going to dramatically reduce the risk to our country.”
Schiff appeared to dismiss Obama’s bombing strategy that has been bolstered by sending 50 special operations personnel to Syria. “We’re going to have to do something to change the dynamic on the ground,” he told Yahoo News. “I don’t think that merely additional air sorties or a handful of special operators are going to change the dynamic that much.” So far, Obama has rejected calls for additional ground forces.
Among the benefits of creating a safe zone, said Schiff, would be the easing of the critical humanitarian situation coupled with providing a training area where forces opposed to the Islamic State can be trained.
As to the horrific terrorist attack in Paris, Schiff expressed concern that such action could happen in the United States. One threat that the United States faces, said Schiff, is from America radicals who have fought for the Islamic State and have returned to the United States. According to Schiff, only a few of the approximately 200 U.S. citizens known to have become IS combatants are known to have returned. For its part, said Schiff, Europe has a much bigger problem.