Local expert says it's unlikely ISIS will come to the South Plains

Published: Sep. 11, 2014 at 12:23 AM CDT|Updated: Sep. 11, 2014 at 1:31 AM CDT
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LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - On the eve of the 9/11 anniversary, a new threat has taken center stage. They are known as ISIS, or the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

"ISIS is the current evolution of a group that started basically to overthrow, or to help overthrow, President Assad of Syria," said Ambassador Tibor P. Nagy, Jr.

He is the Vice Provost for International Affairs at Texas Tech University.

"They have grown in ambition, they have grown in capabilities, they have grown in tactics and they have certainly grown in their international reputation to where now they're attracting ideologues who share their goals from all over the world," he said.

"As far as the terrorism capabilities go, I don't believe that they're quite there yet. I think in the future if they're allowed to continue their existence as a 'caliphate' they could become a very serious threat. It's not a group like al-Qaida was that was literally sitting around plotting. They're not sitting around plotting. They are either trying to take over more territory or to hold on to what they have."

Many people have speculated that the group may enter the United States from Mexico, but Ambassador Nagy says that is unlikely, at least for the time being.

"ISIS people coming through Mexico is a way down the line, we're talking at least months before they try that. My bigger concern would be people who share an ideology in the United States and we don't know about them," he said.

"I think that most people think a terrorist will get an idea and then just do it right then. No, the serious terrorist incidents take a great deal of careful planning, operational security, situational security, run through it several times."

Lubbock residents we spoke with all said that weren't afraid of ISIS crossing the border, but admitted it could happen.

"I'm not worried about it but it's quite possible. They have a lot of goals that are anti the United States, so why not go through Mexico, or any other alternative you could find," said Lubbock resident Roy Mears.

"I'm not worried about a large group, but maybe more of lone wolf terrorists acting on behalf of ISIS doing a car bombing or a shooting, something like that," said fellow resident Kaden Sikes.

"It doesn't scare me at all, because then if it does come on our ground then we're willing to fight, then you've stepped on our turf. It's like when you're in school, you know, if you cross over the line then we'll have to take care of you, so I think if ISIS comes over this way then yeah, we need to step up and we need to defend," said Lubbock resident Angela Barajas.

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