Will ISIS 'weaponize' foreign fighters?威爾ISIS的“武器化”的外國戰機?

By Thomas Hegghammer
October 16, 2014 -- Updated 2008 GMT (0408 HKT)
Kurdish men walk near the Turkish-Syrian border as smoke rises from the Syrian town of Kobani, as seen from the southeastern village of Mursitpinar, Turkey, on October 16. Civil war has destabilized Syria and created an opening for the ISIS militant group, which is also advancing in Iraq as it seeks to create an Islamic caliphate in the region.Kurdish men walk near the Turkish-Syrian border as smoke rises from the Syrian town of Kobani, as seen from the southeastern village of Mursitpinar, Turkey, on October 16. Civil war has destabilized Syria and created an opening for the ISIS militant group, which is also advancing in Iraq as it seeks to create an Islamic caliphate in the region.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Likelihood of foreign fighters planning attacks in West varies by where they were, writer says
  • ISIS less interested in planning attacks overseas than al Qaeda, Thomas Hegghammer says
  • ISIS is unlikely to go all in on global operations the way al Qaeda has, he says

Editor's note: Thomas Hegghammer is director of terrorism research at the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment and author of "Jihad in Saudi Arabia: Violence and Pan-Islamism since 1979." The views expressed are solely those of the author.

(CNN) -- How big a threat do foreign fighters in Syria and Iraq pose to the West? It's a question that has been much on the mind of policymakers and commentators, especially since U.S. President Barack Obama announced the United States was ramping up its military role in the region. Will such fighters return with dangerous new skills and experience that they are determined to use against their home country? Or is the potential threat by these fighters overhyped?

The answer depends on what the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria decides to do with them. So far, jihadi groups in Syria have not been sending foreign fighters on attack missions in the West in any sort of systematic way. But if the group decides to "weaponize" its fighters, we will have a much bigger problem on our hands.

Thomas Hegghammer
Thomas Hegghammer

Since 2011, around 3,000 Western Muslims have gone to Syria, where many have joined the most radical elements of the insurgency. And there is no question that some of these individuals will pose a terrorist threat when they return. We know this because it has already happened -- Syria veterans are suspected of involvement in one successful and at least six unsuccessful alleged attacks in Europe and Australia over the past year.

Yet there is no reason to expect all -- or even a majority -- of these people to try to attack us in the future. During my research, I have found that of all Western Muslims who joined conflict zones before 2011, no more than one in nine moved on to terrorism in the West. In fact, this estimate is probably at the high end -- the real historical average may be closer to one in 15 or 20.

This suggests that the more helpful question is therefore not whether the foreign fighters in Syria are a threat, but what proportion of them will be.

Can we not simply assume that somewhere between one in nine or one in 20 of the fighters in Syria will become terrorists, and try to plan accordingly? Unfortunately, it's not that simple because the "blowback rate" -- the proportion of outgoing fighters who later return to attack -- varies significantly between destinations.

 
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Take the conflict in Somalia, for example, which attracted hundreds of Western foreign fighters in the previous decade, but produced few attacking returnees. In contrast, of those who went to Afghanistan and Pakistan in the same period, a substantial proportion plotted attacks on their return.

So, how can we determine whether Syria will produce foreign fighters that are more like Somalia or more like Afghanistan and Pakistan in terms of blowback?

It largely depends on whether you have a group in the theater of conflict that strategically targets the West. For example, the Afghanistan-Pakistan area has a high blowback rate because it is home to the so-called al Qaeda Central, a group whose sole preoccupation is to mount attacks in the West. Al Qaeda excelled at taking foreign fighters who had come to fight with the Taliban and persuading them to undertake attacks in Europe or the United States instead.

Most other jihadi groups, even al Qaeda's own affiliates, are not equally invested in this strategy. True, they all spout anti-American rhetoric and may even dabble in anti-Western extremist actions. But they invest the bulk of their resources in local operations.

And so far, that has been true of ISIS, too. Of course, if you look for anti-Western statements and links to potential international plots, you will find them. But these indications actually make up a small proportion of the group's overall ideological production and military operations. The fact is that there is little to suggest that ISIS has had a sustained and centrally directed global operations program.

This is one of the reasons why the blowback rate from Syria has so far been low, several plots notwithstanding. Six plots involving a total of, say, 10 or 20 Syria veterans make for a blowback rate of one in 150 or one in 300. Yes, it is still early in the conflict, and several plots may have gone unreported. But Syria is still looking like a low blowback foreign fighter destination.

There is, however, the question of whether Western intervention in Iraq and Syria will cause ISIS to go global. Certainly, the group has taken a more anti-Western posture over the past few months. It has repeatedly threatened to attack the United States, and it has beheaded American hostages in Syria.

In a noteworthy statement, for example, ISIS spokesman Abu Muhammad al-Adnani recently called on supporters worldwide to attack members of the coalition in any way possible. So we should not be surprised if ISIS embarks on a limited but sustained external operations effort, along the lines of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula in Yemen, which combines a primarily local agenda with a small global side operation.

Ultimately, though, ISIS is unlikely to go all in on global operations the way al Qaeda Central has. The organization is not designed for that, and such a strategy is not compatible with its state-building ambitions. Besides, ISIS' threats have so far differed in tone from those of al Qaeda Central. Where the latter says, in effect, that "we're coming at you regardless," ISIS has basically been saying, "We'll come at you if you attack us." It's a somewhat more reluctant declaration of war.

None of this is to suggest that some foreign fighters in Syria won't come back and do bad things regardless of what ISIS' leaders choose to do -- they undoubtedly will. And it is also important to remember one more thing, namely that although the early signs suggest that the threat from foreign fighters returning is low, the potential for attacks is still there.

Indeed, if ISIS starts to "weaponize" its Western recruits in a strategic way, then the foreign fighter threat will take on a more significant -- and more deadly -- complexion than it has so far.

威爾ISIS的“武器化”的外國戰機?
由托馬斯·Hegghammer
2014年10月16日 - 更新2008 GMT(0408 HKT)
庫爾德人走到附近的土耳其和敘利亞邊境自Kobani的敘利亞小鎮的煙霧上升,從Mursitpinar,土耳其,10月16日內戰動搖敘利亞,創造一個開放的ISIS的激進組織,東南村所看到的還推進在伊拉克,因為它旨在創建了該地區的伊斯蘭哈里發。 庫爾德人走到附近的土耳其和敘利亞邊境自Kobani的敘利亞小鎮的煙霧上升,從Mursitpinar,土耳其,10月16日內戰動搖敘利亞,創造一個開放的ISIS的激進組織,東南村所看到的還推進在伊拉克,因為它旨在創建了該地區的伊斯蘭哈里發。
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新聞提要
外國武裝分子計劃在西襲擊的可能性改變了他們在那裡,作者說
Isis在策劃襲擊外國比基地組織的興趣,托馬斯Hegghammer說
ISIS是不可能去所有在全球運營基地組織有辦法,他說:
編者按:托馬斯Hegghammer是恐怖主義研究部主任挪威國防研究機構和作者的“ 聖戰沙特阿拉伯:暴力,自1979年泛伊斯蘭主義 “。發表的觀點僅代表作者本人。
(CNN) -有多大的威脅確實在敘利亞和伊拉克的外國武裝分子威脅到西方?就這麼一直對很多政策制定者和評論家的心態問題,特別是因為美國總統奧巴馬宣布美國在上升,在該地區的軍事作用。將這樣的戰士返回了,他們決心用對本國危險的新技能和經驗?或者是由這些戰機的潛在威脅言過其實?
答案取決於什麼伊拉克和敘利亞的伊斯蘭國家決定與他們無關。到目前為止,敘利亞聖戰組織尚未發送的攻擊任務外國戰士在西方任何形式的系統化方法。但是,如果該集團決定將“武器化”的戰士,我們就可以在我們的手中一個更大的問題。
托馬斯Hegghammer
托馬斯Hegghammer
2011年以來,大約3000西方穆斯林去了敘利亞,有許多都加入了叛亂的最激進的元素。而且毫無疑問,其中一些人將構成恐怖威脅時,他們回來了。我們知道這一點,因為它已經發生了-敘利亞退伍軍人涉嫌參與一個成功和至少6不成功過去一年涉嫌襲擊歐洲和澳大利亞。
然而,沒有理由期望所有的-甚至是絕大多數-這些人試圖攻擊我們的未來在我的研究,我發現,所有的西方穆斯林誰參加衝突地區在2011年之前的,不超過1九轉移到恐怖主義在西方。事實上,這種估計可能是在高端-真正的歷史平均水平可能更接近一個在15或20。
這表明,更多有用的問題,因此在敘利亞的外國武裝分子不是是否構成威脅,但他們的比例會。
我們不能簡單地認為在敘利亞戰機20之一,九或1之間的某個地方會成為恐怖分子,並嘗試相應的計劃?不幸的是,它不是那麼簡單,因為“反吹率” - 即將離任的戰士誰稍後返回攻擊的比例 - 目的地之間顯著變化。
奧巴馬:競選對ISIS的長期 是美元兌ISIS的工作策略是什麼? ISIS的“提前帶來的恐懼巴格達
以索馬里衝突,例如,它吸引了數百名在過去十年西方的外國武裝分子,但很少產生攻擊海歸。那些誰去阿富汗和巴基斯坦在同一時期相反,有相當比例繪製在他們返回的攻擊。
那麼,我們如何才能確定敘利亞是否會產生外國戰士是更像索馬里還是更喜歡阿富汗和巴基斯坦的後座力方面?
這在很大程度上取決於你是否有一組發生衝突的戲劇,從戰略瞄準西部。例如,在阿富汗和巴基斯坦地區具有較高的反沖速度,因為它是家庭對所謂的基地組織中央,一組其唯一的當務之急是掛載在西方的攻擊。基地組織擅長以誰曾來與塔利班反對外國戰機並說服他們進行在歐洲或美國的攻擊,而不是。
大多數其他聖戰組織,甚至是基地組織自己的分支機構,是不是同樣投資於這一戰略。誠然,他們都噴反美言論,甚至有可能涉足反西方極端主義的行動。但投資其大部分資源的本地操作。
到目前為止,這一直是ISIS的真實了。當然,如果你的反西方的陳述和鏈接給潛在的國際陰謀,你會發現他們。但這些跡象實際上構成了集團的整體思想的生產和軍事行動的一小部分。事實是,沒有什麼跡象表明ISIS已持續集權的全球運營計劃。

這就是為何從敘利亞反吹率至今一直很低,一些地塊儘管之一。6宗地塊共,比方說,10或20,敘利亞老兵涉及使一個150或者一個在300是反吹率,它仍然是在衝突初期,一些地塊可能已經被報導。但是敘利亞仍然看起來像一個低後座力的外國戰鬥機目的地。
有,然而,在伊拉克和敘利亞是否西方干預的問題,會導致ISIS的走出去。當然,該集團採取了更加反西方的姿態,在過去數個月。它曾多次威脅要襲擊美國,它已被斬首的美國人質在敘利亞。
在一個值得注意的聲明,例如,ISIS的發言人阿布·穆罕默德·Adnani最近呼籲世界各地的支持者攻擊聯盟的成員以任何可能的方式。所以,我們不應該感到驚訝,如果ISIS踏上有限,但持續的外部操作省力,沿基地組織在阿拉伯半島的也門,它結合了全球小方操作主要是當地的議程線。
不過說到底,ISIS是不太可能在全球運營全力以赴在基地組織中擁有的方式。該組織是不適合的,而這樣的策略是不符合其國家建設的野心兼容。此外,ISIS的'威脅迄今差異從那些基地組織中央的基調。其中後者說,實際上,說:“我們就來為你的過失,”ISIS基本已經說,“我們會回來的你,如果你攻擊我們。” 這是戰爭的一個較為勉強聲明。
這一切都不是為了表明,在敘利亞的一些外國武裝分子不會回來,做不好的事情,無論什麼樣的ISIS領導人選擇這樣做 - 他們無疑。而同樣重要的是要記住一件事,即,雖然早期跡象表明,外國戰機的威脅返回低,對攻擊的可能性還是存在的。
事實上,如果ISIS開始“武器化”的西方新兵以戰略性的方式,那麼外國戰機的威脅將採取更顯著 - 更致命的 - 膚色比它至今。

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