Supreme Allied Commander Europe of NATO Allied Command Operations, General Philip Breedlove, says ISIS is using the Syrian refugee crisis to ‘mask the movement’ of terrorists infiltrating Europe and the United States. While testifying to the Senate armed services community, the four star general said the Islamic State was ‘spreading like cancer’ amongst the flow of migrants from the Middle East. The group’s members are “taking advantage of paths of least resistance, threatening European nations and our own”, he added, reported The Guardian.
Breedlove also had harsh words for Russia, saying their indiscriminate bombing of civilians is intended to ‘get them on the road’ to Europe, where they can weaken the European Union and NATO with violence and division. The general said Russia is ‘weaponizing’ the Syrian refugees.
Breedlove says at least 1500 ISIS fighters have returned to Europe. “I’m not going to talk to you about intelligence,” he said at a news conference, adding that “many [countries] are saying they see planning happening” for a terrorist attack.
The Obama administration has said that Syrian refugees entering the United States are no threat as they are vetted over a long process. Republican president candidates have repeated over and over that this stance is incompetent and dangerous for Americans. Donald Trump has created a firestorm saying that Muslims should be temporarily banned until the vetting process can be verified and law enforcement can be sure that no terrorists are entering the country.
General Breedlove’s statements appear to support Donald Trump’s position. Intelligence professionals have stated that the ability to vet Syrian refugees, where there is no controlling legal authority to identify these refugees, is an impossible task.
National security has become a significant issue in the 2016 presidential campaign. As the general election draws closer, the issue will be front and center in the debates and media.