Speaking to the NATO Channel TV, Marc Pierini discussed the threat posed by Islamic State militants on the Turkish-Syrian border and the steps that Western nations and Turkey should take in response.
“When [the Islamic State] took Mosul, this was a quantum leap in terms of funding and in terms of weaponry,” Pierini said. “We now have an organization which is not a state (despite the name), which is a terrorist organization, but which has tactical depth: it has territory and it can move fighters, hostages, training camps, and military assets.” He added that the group’s technical capabilities could be seen in its ability to conduct a dual attack on both Baghdad and the Kurdish Syrian town of Kobanê.
Pierini believes that the jihadists’ aim is to show the ineffectiveness of the anti–Islamic State coalition. The insurgency is “basically a homeland security threat,” Pierini argues, and the West and Turkey should respond jointly with counterterrorism measures and enhanced border control. “It’s not a military operation, but it’s a very big challenge,” he concluded.