This week we learned that an old problem that gained a lot of media traction during the heyday of ISIS is still plaguing us. We’re talking about Americans deciding to leave the country and head to Iraq or Syria, not to defend our allies, but to fight with the terrorists. These “American jihadists” (as they came to be known) were broadly reviled but seemed to provide some positive PR for the terrorists and assist in their recruiting efforts. Now, with ISIS having lost almost all of their caliphate and being largely on the run, what became of those American traitors?
It turns out that at least some of them are still out there. Our Kurdish allies captured two more of them recently. (Jonathan Turley)
Kurdish Democratic Forces in Syria report the arrest of two Americans allegedly fighting with or aiding the Islamic State terrorist organization in Syria. The two men are identified as Warren Christopher Clark, 34, of Texas and Zaid Abed al-Hamed, 35.
They were captured by the Kurds during a counter-terrorism raid near the Iraq border in the vicinity of one of the few remaining holds of ISIS in Syria. Prior to their capture, the two, along with a Pakistani National and a male reportedly from Ireland, were preparing an attack against civilians fleeing the battlefields.
The Kurds made the announcement last Sunday and U.S. Army Colonel Scott Rawlinson reports the incident is under investigation.
Details are a bit thin on Zaid Abed al-Hamed, but Warren Christopher Clark has been on our radar for some time. Clark sent in an application to join ISIS and assist them as an English teacher in Mosul a few years back. (Language skills are apparently prized among groups seeking to burn down the entire world.) Now both of these characters are in custody.
This story prompted me to wonder just how many more of these traitors are still out there and operating with our enemies. We were still receiving warnings from Homeland Security last February highlighting this threat. At that time, a study commissioned by George Washington University estimated that “nearly half of the 64 Americans who fought with those groups are believed to have survived the conflict.” This raised the prospect that they might still be in country fighting or, even worse, could be heading back to the United States to launch terror attacks here.
Not all of them fared very well. One of the more famous traitors was Eric Harroun, who left home to go fight with ISIS over a decade ago. He did eventually wind up returning home but died of an overdose in Arizona in 2014. (A fate that was far too good for him if you ask me.)
The bottom line is that it’s clearly possible that we still have dozens of American Jihadists out there. They deserve a lot more “justice” than the native ISIS fighters in Iraq and Syria. Remember that Dante said the fourth and deepest, frozen round in the Ninth Circle of Hell was reserved for traitors. Now we have two more in custody who should be heading for a frozen eternity of punishment. It’s just disturbing to think that we still haven’t tracked them all down.