Counter-Terrorism: You Can Check In But You Cannot Check Out


January 19, 2015: Intelligence and police agencies in Europe are scrambling to identify, monitor and study their Moslem citizens who have been recruited by Islamic terrorist groups to go fight, usually in Syria. For example, Spain analyzed the attitudes of 70 Spanish Moslems recruited to fight in Syria and found that most of them became disillusioned soon after arriving. Many of them went to Syria with the idea of forming a better society using Islamic scripture as a guideline. They quickly find that sort of thing works better in theory than in practice. It’s particularly discouraging when the new Spanish recruits were ordered to attack some of the local tribes who initially supported ISIL but rebelled when harsh lifestyle rules were imposed as part of the “creating a better society using Islamic scripture.”

Those who grew disillusioned with their career choice fond that it was difficult to leave. ISIL discouraged quitters at first but now forbids, on penalty of death, departing without permission. Over a hundred deserters have been caught and executed by ISIL in late 2014 alone and the disillusioned foreign recruits continue trying to quit. Many do get away but then face two unappealing choices; returning home a failure or trying to start a new life, usually in one of the refugee camps set up for the millions of Syrians who have fled the fighting. Wherever the deserters end up they also have to fear eventual retribution. The men who recruited them in Europe know their identity and details of their personal lives. The recruiters may also want repayment of the thousand dollars or so it cost to transport the recruits to Syria. This sometimes involves the services of professional smugglers, who do not work for free.

Saudi Arabia, which has a lot of experience handling disillusioned Islamic terrorists advises the Europeans to use some of the rehabilitation and retraining techniques developed by the Saudis. While this would probably help, most European nations are not currently in the mood to spend money on such things and feel safer just jailing those who return from their fling with Islamic terrorism. After all, even the Saudis admit that 10-20 percent of those going through rehab eventually relapse into Islamic terrorism again.




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