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An interesting graphic released shows the number of citizens who’ve travelled to Iraq and Syria to join the Islamic State’s caliphate. The graphic also shows where these foreign fighters came from. At the top of the list are Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan with over 3,000 fighters from each of those countries joining the Islamic State. The United States has had 129 of its citizens join ISIS ranks.

We saw countries use many different ways to try and stop the flow of citizens leaving their country to join ISIS. France wants more power to block its citizens from leaving their country. Tunisia debated measures to make it a criminal offense to help jihadist militants travel to Syria and Iraq. And Russia has outlawed enlisting in armed groups that are contradictory to their foreign policy. There are many different reasons why these foreign fighters find ISIS attractive and decide to join.


-Joblessness and poverty and a lack of economic opportunities

-Let down by the West and a lack of trust in the West

-ISIS recruits wanting to belong to something special

-The urge to kill

-Religion and the promise of paradise for martyrs

-Going for the girls as the Islamic State has brilliantly and strategically used women as a reward for aggression. Think sex slaves.

Countering the flow of foreign fighters from joining ISIS wont be easy and will need strategic patience. This has to involve intelligence sharing and national and international collaboration. Also, continue with implementing severe penalties such as not allowing Western ISIS fighters to come back home.

Christopher T