Syria a lure to many radicalized western muslims

posted at 8:01 am on July 29, 2013 by Bruce McQuain

While profiling is an official “no-no”, anyone who doesn’t believe it goes on regularly in the war on terror needs a wakeup call.  While we may officially claim no such thing happens, common sense tells us that if the proven threat is coming from a single source, it would be smart to profile that source.  Sure TSA plays the politically correct side of it all and drags wheelchair bound granny behind a screen for a quick frisk.   But you better believe that in intelligence circles profiling not only happens, but is encouraged.  And to this point, the profile that has emerged is mostly of middle eastern radical muslims.  When they show up in the West, they’re fairly easy to identify and watch.

However intelligence experts worry that the prolonged fight in Syria may make such common-sense profiling obsolete.  Why?

A rising number of radicalized young Muslims with Western passports are traveling to Syria to fight with the rebels against the government of Bashar al-Assad, raising fears among American and European intelligence officials of a new terrorist threat when the fighters return home.

More Westerners are now fighting in Syria than fought in conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia or Yemen, according to the officials. They go to Syria motivated by the desire to help the people suffering there by overthrowing Mr. Assad. But there is growing concern that they will come back with a burst of jihadist zeal, some semblance of military discipline, enhanced weapons and explosives skills, and, in the worst case, orders from affiliates of Al Qaeda to carry out terrorist strikes.

“Syria has become really the predominant jihadist battlefield in the world,” Matthew G. Olsen, the director of the National Counterterrorism Center, told a security conference in Aspen, Colo., this month. He added, “The concern going forward from a threat perspective is there are individuals traveling to Syria, becoming further radicalized, becoming trained and then returning as part of really a global jihadist movement to Western Europe and, potentially, to the United States.”

Most of these Western muslims are self-radicalized, much like Nidal Hassan, the Ft. Hood killer.  Syria provides a place to go learn the “how to” side of radical Islam – that is, the violent side.  The numbers are worrying:

Classified estimates from Western intelligence services and unclassified assessments from government and independent experts put the number of fighters from Europe, North America and Australia who have entered Syria since 2011 at more than 600. That represents about 10 percent of the roughly 6,000 foreign fighters who have poured into Syria by way of the Middle East and North Africa.

[...]

“The scale of this is completely different from what we’ve experienced in the past,” Gilles de Kerchove, the European Union’s counterterrorism coordinator, said at the conference in Aspen.

That means, unless they’re identified as having been a part of the Syria fight, Western muslims can slip in, learn the craft and eventually find their way back home, even further radicalized and armed with both connections and knowledge to act on that radicalization.

How widespread is it?  Well, for the moment that’s hard to tell.  But here are a few numbers:

A precise breakdown of the Western fighters in Syria is difficult to offer, counterterrorism and intelligence officials said, but their estimates include about 140 French citizens, 100 Britons, 75 Spaniards, 60 Germans, and as many as a few dozen Canadians and Australians. There are also fighters from Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Sweden and the Netherlands, according to a study in April by the International Center for the Study of Radicalization, a partnership of academic institutions based in London, which estimated that 140 to 600 Europeans had gone to Syria.

Only about a dozen Americans have so far gone to fight in Syria, according to American intelligence officials. Nicole Lynn Mansfield, 33, of Flint, Mich., a convert to Islam, was killed in May while in the company of Syrian rebels in Idlib Province.

Eric Harroun, 30, a former Army soldier from Phoenix, was indicted in Virginia by a federal grand jury last month on two charges related to allegations that he fought alongside the Nusra Front. In February, he bragged about his involvement, posting a photo on his Facebook page saying, “Downed a Syrian Helicopter then Looted all Intel and Weapons!”

Take this as a sort of warning about the next possible phase in the jihad of radical Islamists.  The West is their sworn enemy.  They’ve wanted to strike at the heart of Western countries for years, but, as mentioned, those they send are foreigners who are relatively easy to spot, follow and gather intel about.  What if they could recruit Western muslims, radicalize them, slip them into Syria for training and then slip them back into their home country?   Then, perhaps, those strikes they so want to inflict would have a much better chance of succeeding.  It doesn’t take many – but what they have to be able to do is slip through the intel net to succeed.  This development may give them that sort of a chance.

~McQ


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What if they could recruit Western muslims, radicalize them, slip them into Syria for training and then slip them back into their home country?

Nadal Hassan got his military training from the US Army.

Speedbump, the Boston Marathon Bomber, went elsewhere with an AMERICAN passport.

I think this is a real threat but profiling will be done in when radicalized American Muslims decide to start more ambitious attacks in the United States on behalf of the religion of peace. The only real question is this- will CAIR become the American version of Hamas?

Happy Nomad on July 29, 2013 at 8:08 AM

Most of these Western muslims are self-radicalized, much like Nidal Hassan, the Ft. Hood killer.

Point of order, Hasan committed a simple act of workplace violence completely unrelated to Islam, really no worse than a dude punching his boss.

Ixnay on the uslimmay lamingbay because you know who may be monitoring. N *cough cough* SA.

Bishop on July 29, 2013 at 8:14 AM

Point of order, Hasan committed a simple act of workplace violence completely unrelated to Islam, really no worse than a dude punching his boss.

Bishop on July 29, 2013 at 8:14 AM

Hey, first a shout out to all the super awesome people working at Fort Meade….. You rock!

As to Hasan- I should translate his comments as an open apology to his co-workers for going postal, right?

“I would like to begin by repenting to Almighty Allah and apologize to the Mujahideen, the believers, and the innocent. … I ask for their forgiveness for participating in the illegal and immoral aggression against Muslims, their religion and their lands,”

Happy Nomad on July 29, 2013 at 8:22 AM

27 comments or bust!

Bishop on July 29, 2013 at 8:28 AM

Good.

Get them all in one place.

.
.
.
.

Let Putin do us all a big favor.

coldwarrior on July 29, 2013 at 8:32 AM

Maybe it’s just me, but every description apparently had “muslim” in it. Perhaps that’s the thing we might want to profile.

Ya think?

Wino on July 29, 2013 at 8:38 AM

coldwarrior on July 29, 2013 at 8:32 AM

From your lips to God’s ear!

Al in St. Lou on July 29, 2013 at 8:40 AM

Let Putin do us all a big favor.

coldwarrior on July 29, 2013 at 8:32 AM

Putin, the Kurds, the Israelis, all of the above. I don’t care if Assad gets them, as long as they’re out of circulation permanently. Heck, some of the weapons we ship over there could fall into the right hands and blow up. Accidents happen.

trubble on July 29, 2013 at 8:44 AM

Profiling may go on sub rosa, but you can bet that anyone caught doing it by our Fearless Leaders would be Zimmermanned in nothing flat. Meanwhile, TSA’s granny-groping (actually more like “hottie-groping”) is a waste of time and resources (except for the gropers, many of whom were never properly background-checked before hiring to avoid the wrath of the union and the “enlightened ones”).

Syria right now is shaping up like Lebanon in the 1980s; a “proving ground” where young radicals go to hone their skills. But this isn’t where the training goes on.

In the 1970s, Libya was the go-to place for political radicals to learn the manual of arms for the Avtomat Kalashnikov obrazets 1947g, the proper use of the RPG-7V, and how to build and set a bomb without blowing themselves up. At one time, every terrorist group from Hamas to Baader-Meinhof had “training camps” there, complete with blackboards showing U.S. spy satellite “overhead” times so they knew when not to be out on the firing range. (Claire Sterling went into this in detail in The Terror Network- a must-read, even today. And yes, Tom Clancy used it as a reference in writing Patriot Games.)

Syria is mainly where budding jihadists will go to get live-fire practice, and the survivors will come out as combat-experienced killers.

But it’s not necessarily where they’re getting Basic from the hardcore, serious veterans. And it’s not the place being bankrolled by the Islamic world’s “moderate” regimes, in the hopes that the terrorists who “graduate” will take their jihad West, instead of bringing it home. That’s the place we have to find.

And destroy.

clear ether

eon

eon on July 29, 2013 at 8:51 AM

Profiling may go on sub rosa, but you can bet that anyone caught doing it by our Fearless Leaders would be Zimmermanned in nothing flat.

eon on July 29, 2013 at 8:51 AM

All radicalized Western Muslims does to the equation is to force profiling to be a little more sophisticated. Anybody can spot the young Muslim male with a one-way ticket and no luggage. It will take a few attacks on Americans by Americans before the PC blinders come off and Hasan and those of his ilk are treated like the terrorist scum they are.

Happy Nomad on July 29, 2013 at 9:05 AM

Radicalized?

Ben Hur on July 29, 2013 at 9:08 AM

Let Putin do us all a big favor.

coldwarrior on July 29, 2013 at 8:32 AM

I wish our leaders would do the right thing, but they seem determined to have our enemies kill us.

dogsoldier on July 29, 2013 at 9:14 AM

…so why isn’t JugEars there?

KOOLAID2 on July 29, 2013 at 9:25 AM

Barry O. is on the side of the Obama Muslim Brotherhood…he is just waiting for the Muslim Brotherhood to get community organized in Syria. (Wonder how much aid Obama gives the Muslim Brotherhood?)
There are several power struggles going on in the Muslim world.
One is Muslim Brotherhood vs. Al Qaeda.
Barry O. has been doing the hit job on as many Al Qaeda has he can to help out the Muslim Brotherhood…

When will Barry O. send in the drones to take out Al Qaeda in Syria?

albill on July 29, 2013 at 9:53 AM

27 comments or bust!

Bishop on July 29, 2013 at 8:28 AM

I vote for bust.

Steve Eggleston on July 29, 2013 at 10:00 AM

Putin, the Kurds, the Israelis, all of the above. I don’t care if Assad gets them, as long as they’re out of circulation permanently. Heck, some of the weapons we ship over there could fall into the right hands and blow up. Accidents happen.

trubble on July 29, 2013 at 8:44 AM

JDAM-it, I forgot that I fused the JDAM.

Steve Eggleston on July 29, 2013 at 10:01 AM

Let Putin do us all a big favor.

coldwarrior on July 29, 2013 at 8:32 AM

He’s more likely to continue to do unto us what we did unto his country in Afghanistan back in the day.

Steve Eggleston on July 29, 2013 at 10:03 AM

I notice that the media seems to have replaced it daily updates of soldiers killed (during the Bush administration) to the number of Iraqis killed. I am sure they see that as an example of Bush’s failed plan rather than Obama’s total pull out fiasco.

Cindy Munford on July 29, 2013 at 10:28 AM

Who knows, if bombs start exploding all over the EUSSR, the population might wake up to the danger our elites and their minions in the media so assiduously try to hide from them.

For now they are still keeping the red carpet rolled out for the “culture enrichers” from the Muslim world…

Antivenin on July 29, 2013 at 10:48 AM

You’ll have to make adjustments and take some losses, small price to pay to make it safe for Muslims to feed freely off the west. The more Muslims in the west, the more oil (and swag for your elites) you might be allowed to get from them.

BL@KBIRD on July 29, 2013 at 11:07 AM

Great! Get all of them together in one place and nuke it from orbit!

PJ Emeritus on July 29, 2013 at 11:10 AM

And if you haven’t noticed, America has gone far past Britanistan and are actively promoting, financing and enabling the Muslim Jihad.

Like Churchill said, you’ll will always do the right thing, but only after you try everything else first.

BL@KBIRD on July 29, 2013 at 11:17 AM