NBC’s Engel: ISIS’s ‘Level of Sophistication’ Took the ‘Obama Admin by Surprise’

Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Pres,” NBC News’ chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel said ISIS’s “level of sophistication” has taken the Obama administration by surprise.

Host Chuck Todd said, “Now to the key diplomatic problem. Although there seems to be global consensus that ISIS needs to be wiped out, why is it so hard to build a coalition to do just that? Our chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel has been looking into angle to answer that question.”

Engel said, “The day the French now call black Friday was ISIS’ terrifying breakout moment. The moment the world realized that the group is a global threat. It’s a level of sophistication that took the Obama Administration by surprise.”

William McCants of the Brookings Institution said, “Well, I think there was a widespread belief that it was just another violent jihadist group. And that these groups were brutal and because of their brutality they failed.”

Engel said, “ISIS turns out to be the most successful terrorist organization in recent history. Francois Heisbourg says security forces are struggling to keep up with the group he calls by the Arab name Daesh.”

On of Frances top advisors, Francois Heisbourg said, “We have yet to build up a skill base and a number of people need it to keep track of an organization as professional and as competent as dash. Daesh leaves Al Qaeda until the dust.”

Engel continued,  “But after claiming responsibility for the Russian plane, the Beirut bombings and now Paris, ISIS has put itself in almost everyone’s cross hairs. France intensified its bombing of the ISIS capital Raqqa and moved an Eric carrier into the region. Russia is attacking ISIS, launching more cruise missiles, President Obama promised to punish the group relentlessly. Washington has been attacking ISIS for over a year and Iran and Hezbollah have been at it longer than that. Why can’t so many powerful nations and groups beat a terrorist army? One reason is obvious — critics say there’s no coordination and no war can be won without a plan. But what’s worse, there are rivalries over the future of the land ISIS currently occupies, especially in the Middle East.”

McCants said, “Saudi Arabia and many of the United States’ other allies don’t like the Islamic state but its destruction is not their top priority, it’s third or fourth down the list. Turkey, for example, is more worried about the Kurds establishing their own state. Saudi Arabia is more worried about Iran and so on down the list. There are very few countries who share the United States’ desire to destroy the Islamic state as a first order priority.”

Engel concluded,  “Many are wondering whether what happened in Paris will be enough to shock the world into finding some sort of consensus, or will it take yet another terrorist massacre to do that? And ISIS is now threatening attacks in the United States.”

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