In 2011, President Obama’s top counter-terrorism adviser John Brennan dismissed the “absurd, feckless delusion” of Islamic terrorists trying to build a caliphate in the Middle East — promising “not to organize our counter-terrorist policies” around preventing what is now a reality in Iraq and Syria.
Brennan spoke at a John Hopkins event in the summer of 2011 about the Obama administration’s anti-terrorism strategy following the death of Osama bin Laden. “Our strategy is shaped by a deeper understanding of al-Qaida’s goals, strategy and tactics that we have gained over the last decade,” he said.
“I’m not talking about al-Qaida’s grandiose vision of global domination through a violent Islamic caliphate,” Brennan explained. “That vision is absurd, and we are not going to organize our counter-terrorist polices against a feckless delusion that is never going to happen.”
We are not going to elevate these thugs and their murderous aspirations into something larger than they really are,” the terrorist expert declared. (RELATED: ISIS Threatens America: ‘We Will Raise The Flag Of Allah In The White House’)
Beginning in the summer of 2013, fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria — the successor of al-Qaida and other jihadist movements — seized vast swathes of Syria and began pushing into Iraq.
Their offensive picked up speed in the early months of 2014, snowballing out of control after their capture of Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, in June.
At the end of June ISIS changed their name to Islamic State (IS) and announced the formation of an Islamic caliphate in the Syrian and Iraqi territory they controlled.
Under the leadership of Caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the group has cut a swath of death and devastation through northern Iraq, killing Christians and other religious minorities, forcing thousands more into hiding and assaulting key U.S. allies in the Kurdish region of northern Iraq. (RELATED: IS To Mosul Christians: Convert Or Face The Sword)
The United States did not begin bombing Islamic State positions and sending assistance to anti-jihadist forces until Aug. 8. (RELATED: US Aircraft Hit Islamic State Artillery In Iraq: Pentagon)
Brennan is now the head of the Central Intelligence Agency.