Ben Hall, author of Inside ISIS: The Brutal Rise of a Terrorist Army, sat down with Brian about his new book and his travels over the last six years to and from the Middle East. Hall said he initially went to the Middle East to tell a story of optimism after the 2007 U.S. troop surge in Iraq but instead witnessed the rise of ISIS and the increasing influence of Iran in the region.
Hall said he has not had direct contact with members of ISIS but has spoken with ISIS defectors. Hall explained that ISIS is brainwashing children and has training camps recruiting children as young as 10. According to Hall, one of the key players who had a role in the rise of ISIS was Syrian President Assad. Hall said we need to make removing Assad a top priority because he is helping to fund ISIS by purchasing oil from the terrorist organization
Turning to Iran, Hall believes President Obama's decision to pull troops out of Iraq led Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki straight into the hands of Iran, who now controls vast areas of the region. Hall said there is no benefit to the Obama administration talking with Iran and points out that while we are talking with Iran we are alienating our allies in the region.