The U.S. military could move against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Syria once its militants are determined to have become a direct threat to the U.S. homeland or Europe, but not before, U.S. Gen. Martin Dempsey has said.
Right now, the insurgent group is still more of a regional threat and is not plotting or planning attacks against either the U.S. or Europe, said the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Speaking on a military plane en route to Afghanistan, Dempsey provided more detail into his thinking about the militants who have stormed across Iraq, operating out of safe havens in Syria.
So far, the Obama administration has restricted its military action against the militants to specific operations within Iraq, but concerns have increased as ISIL extended its reach, taking control of a swath of land stretching from Syria across the border and deep into western and northern Iraq.
Dempsey also told reporters traveling with him that he believes that key allies in the region – including Jordan, Turkey and Saudi Arabia – will join the U.S. in quashing the militant group.
“I think ISIS has been so brutal, and has wrapped itself in a radical religious legitimacy that clearly threatens everybody I just mentioned, that I think they will be willing partners,” said Dempsey, expressing optimism for the first time that Arab nations would join in the conflict. ISIS is an acronym for the militant group.