Report: US Lacks Strategy To Prevent Citizens From Traveling To Syria, Iraq

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The House Homeland Security Committee’s bipartisan Foreign Fighter Task Force released its final report stating that Washington lacks a strategy to prevent Americans from traveling to Syria and Iraq in order to Join the Terror Organization known as ISIS. The committee states that in the past four years almost 30,000 foreign fighters have joined ISIS’ ranks.

The US has already taken several steps to prevent recruitment of foreign fighters. Last July the US has killed an ISIS high ranked fighter in an air strike in northern Syria who was in charge of transferring fighters and weapons from Libya to Syria. According to the Pentagon, his death was supposed to hurt the organization’s ability to recruit foreign fighters. The US also launched the Sawab center – a joint initiative between the US government and the United Arab Emirates. The center was designed to operate online against ISIS propaganda and the recruitment of foreign fighters and donations.

The writers of the report, who researched the subject for six months in order to evaluate the threat and to detect security breaches, state that despite efforts to stop citizens from recruiting, the US has failed to stop many from joining the battles in Syria and Iraq. The US is therefore in danger of them returning to the country with terror attacks in mind. More importantly, the report adds that the US has no national strategy to answer this threat as it hasn’t created such strategy for close to a decade.

The dangers arising from these foreign fighters are several. On the one hand, some may return to their own countries and plan terror attack from within, and on the other hand, some prefer to stay where the battles are, thus becoming more extreme and influence others, mainly through the internet. In light of these findings, the world leaders must double their efforts in fighting this phenomenon, by expanding cooperation between the US and its allies in sharing information, increasing the community’s awareness to the dangers and strengthening intelligence means.

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