US General Warns Growing ISIS Presence a Major Security Problem in Caribbean

'Just a Few of These Nuts Can Cause an Awful Lot of Trouble'

Pentagon officials are used to looking for ISIS everywhere they can nowadays, and have found a security threat from them in the Caribbean, where ISIS obviously isn’t a huge thing, but where growing numbers of people trying to join ISIS are seen as a concerning trend.

Marine General John Kelly, set to retire later this month, says that these small numbers of ISIS supporters are a particular risk, because in small nations like Trinidad and Tobago, they don’t have anything comparable to the US military or the TSA to combat ISIS.

Gen. Kelly declared that “just a few of these nuts can cause an awful lot of trouble down in the Caribbean,” complaining many of the islands don’t even have proper militaries, let alone something like the US military, a leviathan that intervenes globally and rivals the scope off any in human history.

ISIS issued a video for Trinidadian recruitment way back in 2015, showing a recruit from the island and his three young children calling on the island’s Muslim population to join the fight. About 5% of the island’s population is Muslim, or about 60,000 people. The indications are that Caribbean-wide ISIS recruitment was around 150 people, up from 100 the prior year.

In reality, the “threat” here is much less about Trinidad not having a globe-hopping military, than that ISIS isn’t making such a big deal about recruits coming to Syria anymore, and is instead pressing them to launch attacks at home. This is particularly problematic for the US because many Caribbean islands are popular tourist destinations, and American tourists are a likely target.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.