Ed Royce on Islamic State: ‘Leading From Behind Is Not Going to Work’

Ed Royce (Chip Somodevilla / Getty)
Chip Somodevilla / Getty

Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA) told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Wednesday that President Barack Obama has no plan with which to defeat the Islamic State terrorist organization, also known as ISIS. (or Daesh, or ISIL).

Speaking in the wake of the Brussels terrorist attacks on Tuesday, Royce said that the United States needs to take the lead. “Leading from behind is not going to work for us here,” he said, referring to a label the Obama administration once used for its own foreign policy. “We need to have the United States lead on this.”

Royce added that Americans will continue to be targets for terrorists.

Tuesday’s grisly double suicide bombing was carried out by at least three radicalized Muslims. Two were brothers who were born and lived in Molenbeek, a Brussels suburb located in the nation’s northwest region, and a known “no-go zone” and recruitment hotbed for terrorists. Both men were also French citizens.

Royce pointed out that the Europeans are having a very difficult time keeping up with the sheer numbers of terrorists who have trained with the Islamic State and who have entered their countries. He called for a “comprehensive strategy” to defeat Islamic State and to end its ability to target Europe.

Molenbeek Mayor Françoise Schepmans told CNN’s Erin Burnett in Belgium on Wednesday that she had no information that the Brussels bombers were radicalized. “Concerning those people, who became terrorists, I didn’t have any information about them. We didn’t know that they [had] become radicalists,” Schepmans said.

In the absence of a comprehensive U.S. strategy, Royce noted that the Islamic State is now expanding into Libya, Afghanistan and around the globe. He said the most expeditious way to destabilize ISIS would be to defeat it in Raqqa, the capital of the group’s so-called Islamic “caliphate,” and itsrecruitment center.

Follow Adelle Nazarian on Twitter @AdelleNaz.


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