×

Why ISIS Beats al Qaeda in Europe

A New Recruitment Strategy for a New World

Islamist fighters carry weapons as they demonstrate their skills during their graduation ceremony at a camp in eastern al-Ghouta, near Damascus November 28, 2013. Diaa Al-Din / Reuters

A decade ago, counterterrorism analysts around the world fretted about the possibility of European jihadists returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and finding safe harbor among embittered diaspora communities across Europe. But the al Qaeda “bleed out,” as it was called in counterterrorism circles, never really happened. The group didn’t take hold of North African and Middle Eastern communities in Europe. It failed to attract many of what the group called “clean skins”—Western passport holders able to slip through security without drawing attention.

The Islamic State (ISIS) has achieved in short order what al Qaeda could only dream about. Motivated by a call for jihad in Syria and connected via social media, second- and third-generation Muslim Europeans joined in droves to fight in Iraq and Syria. Their bonds grew tight; their propensity and their thirst for violence was insatiable. After helping build their caliphate in Syria

Loading, please wait...

Most Read Articles

Related Articles

This site uses cookies to improve your user experience. Click here to learn more.

Continue