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Matteo BRESSAN: ISIS' Legacy
September 12,2019   By:
ISIS' Legacy
Abstract:Terrorism is currently high in the political agenda of all G-20 countries but, despite the urgency, most international actors still seem lacking a coherent and comprehensive strategy since 2001. Diverging national interests in certain war theatres are part of the obstacles hampering a successful antiterrorist strategy, as well as ineffective, failing or failed nation states, but, even when political consensus exists, practitioners are often confronted by the gap between rhetoric and concrete action. In the wake of the Islamic State’s substantial military defeat and its massive territorial losses, many questions are still looming at the regional and global level regarding the future scenarios in areas once held by jihadist militias. One of the questions beleaguering the counterterrorism community worldwide has to do with the fate of the so-called “foreign fighters”, i.e. the over 40,000 combatants who came from at least 80 countries all over the world to travel to Syria and Iraq, joining the Islamic State and to a lesser, but not irrelevant degree other jihadist groups. This phenomenon poses a number of challenges, ranging from the interception of foreign fighters leaving Syria and Iraq, to legal and moral dilemmas concerning those who have been arrested by authorities in the region or in their countries of origin. The discussion about what to do about returnees is no longer a future discussion. A lot of people have returned already to their European home countries. But it is clear that some of them are disillusioned, some of them no longer want to be associated with ISIS, what is clear is that some of them are clearly disturbed, they have mental disorders as a result of being involved in the war. But it is also clear that some of them are dangerous and some of them are deliberately, as in the case of Paris, being sent back in order to carry out terrorist attacks. Our success in dealing with these issues will be decided ultimately by our ability to distinguish between people who are disturbed, people who are disillusioned and people who are truly dangerous.
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