As the Obama administration continues to weigh its options for dealing with the rise and spread of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, the deadly terrorist cell that has stampeded through Iraq and Syria, the situation in the Middle East is growing increasingly volatile.
In fact, the ISIS crisis has gotten to the point where U.S. officials are now taking precautions to defend against possible attacks on Baghdad’s so-called “green zone,” CNN’s Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr reported, citing sources familiar with the situation.
“What U.S. officials are telling us is when they looked at the intelligence assessment, it showed them that ISIS indeed had the capability, basically, to penetrate the international zone in Baghdad,” Starr said Thursday. “ISIS has the capability to potentially launch suicide attacks, bomb attacks, car bombs, bombers with suicide vests.”
She was careful to note that U.S. officials do not believe ISIS has grown powerful enough to “[storm] the gates” or “take the whole [U.S. embassy].” But as a precaution, administration officials have deemed the threat ISIS poses to the green zone serious enough to warrant ordering an additional 350 U.S. troops to the area.
“There isn’t a specific direct threat against the embassy complex,” the CNN correspondent said. “But we are in that post-Benghazi era when the U.S. has heightened concern for all embassy installations around the world.”