WASHINGTON, August 26, 2014 — Douglas McAuthur McCain, 33, of San Diego was killed in Syria today. McCain, who was fighting with the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) died in a clash with a rival rebel group.
NBC News confirmed that McCain was found with an American passport on his body after his death.
McCain was raised a Christian, and converted to Islam. The conversion did not alarm the family, according to his uncle. However, his jihadist postings to social media prompted the United States to place him on a “terrorist watch” list.
McCain joins an alarming and growing list of Americans turned jihadist who are a threat to the Middle East and to the West.
In May, Florida-born Moner Mohammad Abu-Salha, a U.S. citizen, chose death as a suicide bomber for the jihadist al-Nusra Front. The group, which claimed responsibility for the attack, bragged that Abu Hurayra Al-Amriki, an American, was one of the attackers. Al-Amriki in Arabic means “the American.”
Another jihadist, Omar Hammami was born in Daphne, Alabama. He became known as Abu Mansoor al-Amriki and joined the Somali Islamist militant group al-Shabaab. The FBI added him to its Most Wanted Terrorists list in 2012. Hammami was killed in September 2013, in an early-morning ambush by al-Shabaab militants in a village near the town of Dinsoor south-west of the capital, Mogadishu.
Hammami was the son of Shafik Hammami of Damascus, Syria and Debra Hadley. Though raised a Southern Baptist, his home life was run according to Muslim culture. A sister left home, and Hammami converted to Islam in high school. He became more radicalized in college, eventually moving to Canada where he became interested in jihad following the U.S. Invasion of Iraq.
Probably the most infamous American turned jihadi is Nidal Malik Hasan, the U.S. Army major and psychiatrist who fatally shot 13 people and injured 30 others at Fort Hood in 2009. The U.S. government continues to decline requests from family survivors of this attack to have the killings categorized as acts of terrorism.
Ali Muhammad Brown was an armed jihadist serial killer in America, killing four men as acts of “vengeance” on behalf of aggrieved Muslims. The 29-year-old admitted to killing Leroy Henderson in Seattle in April; Ahmed Said and Dwone Anderson-Young in Seattle on June 1; and college student Brendan Tevlin, 19, in Essex County, NJ, on June 25. While on the run, Brown disguised himself in a Muslim keffiyeh. He carried a notebook with jihadist writings and advice on evading detection.
Muhammad Brown told investigators that Tevlin’s slaying was a “just kill.” Tevlin was gunned down in his family Jeep on his way home from a friend’s house. The Islamist militant proclaimed, “My mission is vengeance. For the lives, millions of lives are lost every day.
Seattle jihadist James Ujaama plead guilty to terrorism charges related to his plan to establish a terror-training ground in Bly, Ore., in 2007.
Islamic revenge-seeker Naveed Haq shot six women and killed one at the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle building while spewing anti-Israel hatred and Muslim diatribes in 2006.
Seattle jihadist, convert Ruben Shumpert (aka Amir Abdul Muhaimin) was arrested after an FBI raid in 2004 for his role in a terror-financing scheme. He skipped out on his sentencing hearing and turned up in Somalia, where he was killed fighting the U.S. military. Al Shabaab hailed him as a martyr.
U.S. intelligence says there are possibly hundreds of Americans fighting for Islamist groups in the Middle East, who may be preparing to fight here at home. U.K. reports are that there are hundreds of jihadists from the U.K. also fighting in the Middle East.
A concern of security officials is that radicalized Americans will return to the U.S. with the intent to do harm. The threat also includes persons from more than 38 countries who can enter the country without a visa, bringing with them information on how to build bombs, conduct jihad or recruit converts.
Foreign secretary Philip Hammond, U.K., says that ISIS is a huge threat and it is only a matter of time before there are more coordinated attacks on Western states in Europe and the U.S.
Today, President Obama approved U.S. surveillance flights over Syria to pick up any and all information on possible targets, including training camps and mobile targets. However, concerned voices are calling for an allied plan of attack to neutralize this threat.
But no one is willing to put boots on the ground.
Syria’s moderate opposition is teetering on the brink of collapse, due to lack of any meaningful support from Western nations over the last three yearsand significant infighting.
To counter ISIS, the international community needs to work together in a united effort. The U.S. has the “heavy lifting capacity” and surveillance ability to lead this fight, but waging war against ISIS will require the U.S. and its NATO allies to work together. Other international actors are likely to look to the United States to take the lead in the operation, which is something that Obama has long been reticent to do.
Col. Peter Mansoor (Ret.) has said the U.S. does not need to work with Syria’s President Assad to combat the threat in Syria, but they will require his assurance that he will step to the side and get out of the way, including allowing U.S. drones into Syrian airspace.
Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has issued a warning about ISIS as reported by Candy Crowley, CNN: