Foreign jihadists flocking to Iraq and Syria on ‘unprecedented scale’ says U.N. report

The Guardian reports: The United Nations has warned that foreign jihadists are swarming into the twin conflicts in Iraq and Syria on “an unprecedented scale” and from countries that had not previously contributed combatants to global terrorism.

A report by the UN security council, obtained by the Guardian, finds that 15,000 people have travelled to Syria and Iraq to fight alongside the Islamic State (Isis) and similar extremist groups. They come from more than 80 countries, the report states, “including a tail of countries that have not previously faced challenges relating to al-Qaida”.

The UN said it was uncertain whether al-Qaida would benefit from the surge. Ayman al-Zawahiri, the leader of al-Qaida who booted Isis out of his organisation, “appears to be maneuvering for relevance”, the report says.

The UN’s numbers bolster recent estimates from US intelligence about the scope of the foreign fighter problem, which the UN report finds to have spread despite the Obama administration’s aggressive counter-terrorism strikes and global surveillance dragnets. [Continue reading…]

Before anyone jumps to the conclusion that this surge in jihadists is the result of Obama’s newly-declared war on ISIS, it should be noted that this influx of foreign fighters has occurred post-2010, the magnet being the war in Syria. Those who argue that fighting against ISIS promotes its growth are in denial about the fact that ignoring ISIS has allowed it to grow even faster.

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