October 21st, 2014
04:39 PM ET

How big a threat does ISIS pose?

Watch "Fareed Zakaria GPS," Sundays at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN

Fareed speaks with Admiral James Stavridis, former supreme allied commander at NATO and author of The Accidental Admiral, and Daniel Benjamin, a former coordinator for counterterrorism at the State Department and now director of The Dickey Center for International Understanding, about the threat posed by ISIS. Watch the video for the full interview.

Jim, it does feel like they've got their hands full, ISIS that is, between Iraq and Syria and all the forces that are battling them.

Stavridis: I think that this is a kind of a short-term/long-term set of constraints for us.

In the short-term, I completely agree, they've got their hands full. They've got Peshmerga coming from the north, they've got Iraqi security from the south, they've got bombing in the west. They're very busy. They're going to be in the middle of a three-front war very soon.

Long-term, there's not only, as Dan mentioned, I think ultimately the threat to the homeland – they have said they intend to fly the black flag of ISIS over the White House, I don't know how more direct they can be. But it is long-term.

You said, though, “it’s only a matter of time before a wave of EU-passport-bearing jihadists will be headed back home to wreak havoc.” So that sounds…

Stavridis: It's a matter of time. How long will that be? I don't know. Will it be different with individuals, different countries, different cultures? Absolutely. But that threat is building. It's a looming tower, as one person said about 9/11 a few years back.

Dan, one of the things they seem to be doing is goading the United States and the West. Presumably that is the point of these executions? That is the point of talking about raising the black flag. How seriously should we take this? People say one should have read Mein Kampf to understand Hitler's aims. So when they say all this stuff, how seriously do you take it?

Benjamin: Well, there's no question that they're no great fans of the United States, Fareed. I think that they were surprised a bit by the reaction to the decapitations. I think they probably miscalculated there. I think it's also important to calculate in here how much their presentation of themselves as hating the West, as being violently anti-American, is really aimed at selling themselves to potential recruits.


They’ve gone out of their way to prove that they are the most brutal group anyone has seen. And this has really worked for them. It's attracted an awful lot of people to their cause.

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Topics: GPS Show

soundoff (278 Responses)
  1. Katey

    Raypes are a celebration of hinduism in India. It is the very fabric of Indian hindu culture.
    It has been going on for 5000 years.

    This cancer is now spreading into neighboring countries. It is also being exported to western nations where hindus migrate to.

    October 23, 2014 at 9:56 am | Reply
    • Pat

      Katey, Your attempt to smear Fareed by going off topic on Hindus is pandering to the lowest common denominator: ignorant Muslims.

      October 28, 2014 at 3:44 am | Reply
  2. Rooster

    ISIS is definitely a threat.

    But what has happened in India is very similar to the raype culture in Congo and Rwanda and the terrible loss of lives that could have been avoided. It is apathy at work, a perfunctoriness of sorts. A neglect to celebrate human life and respect women. Perhaps embedded in the preachings of hinduism such concepts are contrary to the underpinnings of civilized religions such as christianity.

    October 23, 2014 at 10:05 am | Reply
  3. Rooster

    We will never allow ISIS to succeed in our country. They can fight their battles in India in the Middle East. Never in North America.
    We will never be intimated.

    October 23, 2014 at 10:26 am | Reply
  4. Ctesiphon

    How dare ISIS employ the lone wolf strategy in our great country. We are the bastions of democracy. We will defeat you just by the sheer power of our love for justice for all.
    In god we trust. Those who worship deities shame on you. Jesus is your saviour.

    October 23, 2014 at 10:30 am | Reply
  5. rupert

    Be quiet Blue Saffron. I know it's u.

    October 23, 2014 at 10:32 am | Reply
  6. rupert






    October 23, 2014 at 11:14 am | Reply
  7. rupert



    October 23, 2014 at 11:21 am | Reply
    • rupert

      Here goes another clown here, stealing my name!

      October 23, 2014 at 12:18 pm | Reply
  8. Blue Saffron

    As I read through these forums it is humbling to see so many clones model themselves after my avatar. Blue this Blue that. It is an honor that many consider me as their hero. Thank you. I promise you I will keep you current with my take on world politics. I assure you that in the past my comments will be based on parity and fairness. No holds barred though.

    I am, however, developing my own blog that I will unveil to you well wishers soon.

    October 23, 2014 at 12:08 pm | Reply
    • Jacklyn

      Will it feature the same boring posts over and over?

      October 23, 2014 at 1:08 pm | Reply
      • Blue Saffron

        If my insights are beyond your intellectual comprehension then please forward them to another party. Thanks a bunch.

        October 23, 2014 at 1:14 pm |
      • Jacklyn

        Your posts were mildly interesting at first. After the 12,000th time saying the same thing, not so much. You've become boring. It doesn't take a brainiac to notice that you have nothing interesting left to say. Insights? Ha. Repetition? You've got that down.

        October 23, 2014 at 2:20 pm |
      • Hank

        Really? I find it very original and interesting!

        Since you don't have anything intelligent to say just shushhhh up and read what others give you.

        October 23, 2014 at 4:36 pm |
  9. Blue Saffron

    Fareed Zakaria, read my lips. Your biased bigotted reporting has been met with disdain. Your logic is flawed. Your facts are wrong. Your journalism is unethical. You are the epitomy of His Master's Voice.

    October 23, 2014 at 12:12 pm | Reply
    • Pat

      Fareed Zakaria is one of the most well read people in today's media, he is the Walter Cronkite of the 21st Century.

      October 28, 2014 at 3:52 am | Reply
  10. rupert

    I'm getting sick and tired of the same two or three people posting the same stupid comments on this web page without saying anything themselves and stealing names of those who have something to say here. This is getting awfully old!!!!!!

    October 23, 2014 at 12:16 pm | Reply
  11. Blue Saffron

    Ebola-India is a virus that came about since Modi emerged on the national political scene. Researchers believe that the Ebola virus lives in a hindu deity host that is native to the Indian continent.

    October 23, 2014 at 12:24 pm | Reply
    • Jacklyn

      If your "blog" is going to feature outright lies, you may want to title it "Blue Saffron's Weekly World News."

      October 23, 2014 at 1:11 pm | Reply
      • Blue Saffron

        My PR firm has suggested a few names. I will let all know as soon as my BOD selects one. Thank you for your interest.

        October 23, 2014 at 1:19 pm |
      • Jacklyn

        I'd rather actually read the WWN. It was more truthful.

        October 23, 2014 at 2:21 pm |
      • Hank

        Would you know the difference? You people engage in i ncests don't ya! Ain't that the truth.

        October 23, 2014 at 4:31 pm |
  12. chri§§y


    October 23, 2014 at 12:38 pm | Reply
    • Blue Saffron

      Yes, you certainly are. Glad we agree.

      October 23, 2014 at 1:15 pm | Reply
      • Jacklyn

        How do you know she was talking about you? Guilty conscience?

        October 23, 2014 at 2:25 pm |
      • Hank

        How do you know he was talking to IT, Idiot! Guilty?? .. . You have no conscience. Lol

        October 23, 2014 at 4:33 pm |
  13. Blue Saffron

    We all know that like Greece, India has one of the highest GDP to Debt ratios. When rates go up, India will default on its financial obligations. The country will collapse. It is already in serious economic turmoil.

    ISIS has figured it out and is positioning itself to take a big chunk of India away for its Caliphate if not the entire swathe.

    October 23, 2014 at 1:12 pm | Reply
    • Peter Brown

      Excellent analysis. I have always enjoyed your posts. Thank you for providing an aura of intellectualism to these forums. Much appreciated.

      October 23, 2014 at 1:57 pm | Reply
      • Blue Saffron

        Thank you @Peter Brown. I will continue to impart decorum to these forums.

        October 23, 2014 at 2:12 pm |
    • Pat

      Little boy blue, your geographic prowess regarding the Islamic state location and India's location is unbelievable.
      I believe that ISIS may take Brazil first though.

      October 28, 2014 at 3:59 am | Reply
  14. Blue Saffron

    Listen, ISIS \ Syria\ India are piece of the same puzzle and no discussion of one can take place without discussion of the other. Get that Fareed? Of course not. Your script does not provide that, does it?

    October 23, 2014 at 1:52 pm | Reply
  15. Blue Saffron

    Just go to Fort Bragg et al and see the cemeteries full of our dead ones. Go to Walter Reed and watch the maimed. Go to Veteran’s Hospital and witness the sick die waiting for help. Enough.

    Bush needs to stand trial alongwith his team.

    October 23, 2014 at 2:10 pm | Reply
    • Jacklyn

      Didn't the commenter "Hannah" say this? Are you stealing her material? Yes.

      October 23, 2014 at 2:23 pm | Reply
      • Sabrina

        That would be Fareed. He plagiarizes from these forums.

        October 23, 2014 at 3:40 pm |
      • Blue Saffron

        I always knew you had reading disability.

        October 23, 2014 at 4:42 pm |
  16. Blue Saffron

    It is time to stand up Modi of India and send him to The Hague to face trial of murders and genocides in Gujarat et al, India ..... committed against the minorities.

    We shall never forget.

    October 23, 2014 at 2:38 pm | Reply
  17. Sabrina

    Rabindranath Thakur said it best. The hindus are small minded people with oats of a lttle old man. I say oats of raypists. Then again he was a bengali whose women were rayped by hindus in the millions

    October 23, 2014 at 2:50 pm | Reply
    • Hank

      That's just too bad.

      October 23, 2014 at 4:26 pm | Reply
    • Hank

      Tell me in their entire existence have these hindu India people achieved anything? Nada ! Oh yes, Kama Sutra. That I forgot. And bestiality, too.

      October 23, 2014 at 4:29 pm | Reply
  18. Blue Saffron

    In many Hindu temples there are sculptures depicting men having sayx not only with other men but also cows. What is the meaning of this? Is not the cow sacred? If it is, then it should be worshipped not sayxually assaulted!

    October 23, 2014 at 4:40 pm | Reply
  19. Blue Saffron

    ISIS: where did they learn all the bad stuff?

    This goddess was married to five brothers. Which one would become the legitimate father of his child should she have one? Dr Charles (renowned author and an authority on India) says that instances of incest are common in Hindu scriptures.

    October 23, 2014 at 4:44 pm | Reply
    • Better Tomorrow

      Appalling! Shocking. What is with these hindoo people!

      October 23, 2014 at 4:55 pm | Reply
  20. Joey Isotta-Fraschini ©

    The ISIS folks are bad but not disgustingly macabre.

    The tourist who used to travel to India’s many temples is often shocked by wall art that depicts s odomy, child s ex, o rgies and bestiality of the grossest kind. Yet, all this is part of what lies at the core of Hinduism.

    The same shock is received when tourists see Hindus drinking urine from animals and humans and smearing dung in their hair and on their body. The smell that emanates from the gurus, monks and holy men of Hinduism is enough to warn us that Hinduism is rotten to the core.

    October 23, 2014 at 4:51 pm | Reply
    • Better Tomorrow

      I will take the ISIS people anyday. They are gentle compared to Indians.

      October 23, 2014 at 4:57 pm | Reply
  21. chri§§y

    Suffice to say that plebiscite must and should be held in Indian Occupied Kashmir in accordance with the mandate of UN. Nothing more nothing less.
    This is a matter of principles.

    October 23, 2014 at 5:01 pm | Reply
  22. Blue Saffron

    What do ISIS have in common with hindus? HINDUTVA! That is ISIS manifesto.

    Although related, Hinduism and Hindutva are different. Hinduism is a cult while Hindutva is a fascist political ideology idiolized by majority of Hindus (Hindu Talibans). As related to Nazis, everyone is well aware that Indian Hindu leader Gandhi was a buddy of Hitler and encouraged him to undertake the holocaust against Jews. Hinduism is an extremist and violent cult whose manifesto is so medieval and barbaric that it is causing all the terrorism
    In the region.

    October 23, 2014 at 5:18 pm | Reply
  23. chri§§y

    You have alot of nerve talking about principles when youve just stolen a name to post under!!

    October 23, 2014 at 6:03 pm | Reply
    • Frontenac

      Don't you have any self respect indulging in ID theft. You are pathetic.

      October 23, 2014 at 7:23 pm | Reply
  24. Blue Saffron

    The western world and Americans support a separate state for the Muslims in India. A state based on democratic principles , capitalism, a belief in the unity of god .

    USA and rest of World support a separate state for the people of Jammu and Kashmir who have been living under occupation of the Indian Army for the past Century
    No More !!

    These are all matters of International law and principles of basic human rights.

    October 23, 2014 at 6:14 pm | Reply
    • Frontenac

      You know what...you are one of the few persons who talks sense. I may not agree with you always but I commend you for educating the public.

      October 23, 2014 at 7:21 pm | Reply
  25. Blue Max

    If it wasn't for @Blue Saffron this board would be a wrinkled prune not the cherry it is now.

    October 23, 2014 at 7:31 pm | Reply
  26. rupert

    I'm hungry. Think I'll have some cereal

    October 23, 2014 at 11:15 pm | Reply
    • Cristobal

      Cow dung pancakes. Om Om Om

      October 24, 2014 at 1:27 am | Reply
  27. chri§§y

    Frosted FLAKES right? Or is it FRUIT loops? Lol

    October 23, 2014 at 11:25 pm | Reply
    • Cristobal

      Go raype some young un in Madras

      October 24, 2014 at 1:26 am | Reply
  28. deniz boro


    October 25, 2014 at 6:33 pm | Reply
  29. chri§§y

    Thats called insanity. Doing the same thing and hoping for different results.

    October 25, 2014 at 7:58 pm | Reply
  30. Benedict Barau

    It's gonna take a lot more than talk to say that they will raise their black flag over the roof of the White House!!!. However, ISIL should remember that when backed into a corner,"a rat will fight an elephant"!!!. They can only terrorize for so long because a time will come when their victims will become immune to anything that ISIL will dish out and a vicious backlash will occur!!!!.

    October 27, 2014 at 4:42 am | Reply
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