Foreign Fighters in Syria: Why we should be worried

Video: 2013 Abu Omar, of Syria's Muhajireen Brigade made up entirely of foreign fighters, has a red beard and what appears to be a North Face cap, he is seen seated among 19 heavily armed jihadists, many of whom are masked. Two of the jihadists are seen holding al Qaeda in Iraq’s flag in Syria.The blowback theoryFor the past month, Western intelligence officials have discreetly sounded alarm bells. Both through media leaks and official testimonies, French, Canadian, and UK officials have indicated that the flow of Westerners traveling to Syria to join the insurgency is increasing at an alarming pace.  With these revelations, the specter of a foreign fighters-induced blowback resurfaces. The blowback theory goes like this: foreigners travel to a conflict zone where they undergo ideological radicalization and gain military training, which they subsequently use to launch terrorist plots in their homeland. Based on historical patterns, there are very legitimate…

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About the Contributor

Pascale Siegel

Pascale Combelles Siegel runs a consultancy firm, Insight Through Analysis, specializing in strategic influence in support of peace, stabilization, and counter-terrorism operations. Most recently...