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Foreigners from 80 countries are joining ISIS on “unprecedented scale”: UN

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A report by the UN Security Council has warned that foreign jihadists are swarming into Iraq and Syria on “an unprecedented scale” and from countries that had not previously contributed combatants to global terrorism. The report finds that 15,000 people have travelled to Syria and Iraq to fight alongside the Islamic State (ISIS) and other extremist groups. These volunteers come from more than eighty countries, the report states, “including a tail of countries that have not previously faced challenges relating to al-Qaeda.” ISIS is estimated to have more than $1 million in daily revenues from oil smuggling operations alone. It controls territory the size of Texas in Iraq and Syria, a territory which is home to between five and six million people, a population the size of Finland’s. The UN reports says that ISIS’s treasury also benefits from up to $45 million in money from kidnapping for ransom.

A report by the UN Security Council has warned that foreign jihadists are swarming into in Iraq and Syria on “an unprecedented scale” and from countries that had not previously contributed combatants to global terrorism.

The report by, robtained by the Guardian, finds that 15,000 people have travelled to Syria and Iraq to fight alongside the Islamic State (ISIS) and other extremist groups. These volunteers come from more than eighty countries, the report states, “including a tail of countries that have not previously faced challenges relating to al-Qaeda.”

 

The report notes that it was uncertain whether al-Qaeda would benefit from the surge. Ayman al-Zawahiri, the leader of al-Qaeda who kicked ISIS out of his organization, “appears to be maneuvering for relevance,” the report says.

The UN numbers agree with recent estimates from U.S. intelligence about the size of the foreign fighter problem. The numbers have continued to grow despite the Obama administration’s counter-terrorism strikes and global surveillance dragnets.

“Numbers since 2010 are now many times the size of the cumulative numbers of foreign terrorist fighters between 1990 and 2010 — and are growing,” says the report, produced by a security council committee that monitors al-Qaeda.

The UN report did not list the 80-plus countries from which ISIS volunteers have traveled to Iraq and Syria. In recent months, however, ISIS supporters have appeared in places as unlikely as the Maldives, and its videos proudly display Jihadists with Chilean-Norwegian and other diverse backgrounds.

“There are instances of foreign terrorist fighters from France, the Russian Federation and and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland operating together,” the report notes. More than 500 British citizens are believed to have travelled to the region since 2011.

The UN report, which is an update on the spread of transnational terrorism and efforts to counter it, supports the claims by the Obama administration that “core al-Qaeda remains weak.” The report suggests, however, that the decline of al-Qaeda has generated an explosion of Jihadist enthusiasm for al-Qaeda’ even more powerful successor organizations, chief among them ISIS.

The report notes that these successor organizations are less interested in attacks outside their borders: “Truly cross-border attacks — or attacks against international targets — remain a minority,” the report says. The report indicates, though. that more nations than ever will face the challenge of experienced fighters returning home from the conflicts in Syria and Iraq conflict.

The report supports another argument by the Obama administration, an argument that has legal implications for Obama’s war against ISIS. The UN considers ISISs “a splinter group” from al-Qaeda, saying that the ideological congruence between the two groups sufficient to categorize them as part a broader movement, even though al-Qaeda formally excommunicated ISIS last February.

“Al-Qaeda core and ISIL pursue similar strategic goals, albeit with tactical differences regarding sequencing and substantive differences about personal leadership,” the UN writes, using the official acronym for ISIS.

There are leadership disputes between the organizations, which are reflected, among other things, in the style of their propaganda, the UN report finds. A “cosmopolitan” embrace of social media platforms and Internet culture by ISIS (“as when extremists post kitten photographs”) has displaced the “long and turgid messaging” from al-Qaeda. Zawahiri’s most recent video, for example, was 55-minutes long, while ISIS members incessantly use Twitter, Snapchat, Kik, Ask.fm — communications apparatus “unhindered by organizational structures.

A “lack of social media message discipline” in ISIS points to a leadership “that recognizes the terror and recruitment value of multichannel, multi-language social and other media messaging,” reflecting a younger and “more international” membership than al-Qaeda’s various affiliates.

 

ISIS is estimated to have more than $1 million in daily revenues from oil smuggling operations alone. It controls territory the size of Texas in Iraq and Syria, a territory which is home to between five and six million people, a population the size of Finland’s. The UN reports says that ISIS’s treasury also benefits from up to $45 million in money from kidnapping for ransom.

http://www.homelandsecuritynewswire.com/dr20141031-foreigners-from-80-countries-are-joining-isis-on-unprecedented-scale-un

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Guest Tuesday, 19 November 2019