A Strategy for the ISIS Foreign Fighter Threat

Abstract

American efforts against the ISIS foreign fighter threat largely have failed because they underestimate the malignance of ISIS recruits. This article proposes a modified strategy comprising three aspects: 1) a counter-narrative stressing ISIS’s attacks on Sunni Muslims, questioning their religious credentials, and accurately describing conditions in ISIS-controlled territory; 2) a comprehensive effort to disrupt ISIS recruitment on social media; and 3) countering foreign fighter mobility through a comprehensive international effort to identify foreign fighters, suspending their passports, and revoking their citizenship. Unfortunately, even these efforts will only be a partial fix for the vastly larger problems of jihadism and radical Islam.

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