Home / Articles / Why Foreign Fighters?: Historical Perspectives and Solutions
Insurgencies that recruit foreign nationals to join rebel groups in various civil wars around the globe are a source of growing concern to policymakers. Despite attention focused on recent Islamist groups, foreign fighters are a phenomenon that is neither new nor uniquely Islamic. In conflicts from the Spanish Civil War to the Afghanistan War, insurgencies consistently recruited foreigners by framing the local war as one that threatened a shared transnational identity group and necessitated a defensive mobilization. It is therefore possible to draw lessons about combating their flow through counter-recruitment from a wide array of historical cases.