The New York Times quotes Rafik Hariri Center Senior Fellow Frederic Hof on underestimating the threat of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham:

Intelligence agencies were caught off guard by the speed of the extremists’ subsequent advance across northern Iraq. And the government as a whole was largely focused on the group as a source of foreign fighters who might pose a terrorism threat when they returned home, not as a force intent on seizing territory.

“I’m not suggesting anyone was asleep at the switch necessarily, but the organization definitely achieved strategic surprise when it rolled into Iraq,” said Frederic C. Hof, who previously handled Syria policy for the State Department under Mr. Obama and is now at the Atlantic Council.

Read the full article here.

Related Experts: Frederic C. Hof