By Efrem Graham
CBN News – New intelligence suggests the Islamic State may be three times the size of initial reports of 10,000.
The news comes as congressional leaders begin to debate President Barack Obama’s plan to target the jihadist army.
The strategy to “degrade and defeat” ISIS calls for arming and training rebels in Syria, increasing airstrikes in Iraq, and expanding those strikes to Syria.
It’s a plan some presidential supporters call aggressive. But others, like House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, question whether the president’s actions are enough.
“An F-16 is not a strategy, and airstrikes alone will not accomplish what we’re trying to accomplish,” the speaker said. “Somebody’s boots have to be on the ground.”
Meanwhile, intelligence officials estimate the terror organization can muster as many 20,000 to more than 31,000 fighters across Iraq and Syria.
With an enemy that large, the head of House Intelligence Committee says it could take more than a decade to defeat ISIS.
“This is not just bombing a mountainside or securing a dam,” Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y.,told reporters.
In the meantime, Secretary of State John Kerry is on a whirlwind tour of the Middle East, lining up support for a coalition to take on ISIS.
But Kerry says the U.S. is not at “war” with ISIS, opting instead to call the fight a “significant counterterrorism operation.”
“This is a moment for all decent countries to come together and stand up and say to the world that we’ve had enough of these individual groups,” Kerry said.
Report via CBN News