Leaked Islamic State documents dispel long-held stereotypes of terror recruits
The Islamic State has drawn its fighting force not just from the ranks of the angry, uneducated and unemployed but instead has found great success in attracting well-educated millennial foreign recruits driven less by religious purity and more by a desire to fight Iranian-backed Shiite groups, according to the group’s own internal data of its recruits from Saudi Arabia.
A sweeping 40-page report by the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies challenges the notion that the Islamist terror group, also known as ISIS, expanded by attracting disenfranchised foreign young men with few skills who lack legitimate opportunities in society.
The study, which examined recruitment data on some 759 Saudis who joined ISIS in 2013 and 2014, also found the majority of the terrorist fighters “are not well-versed in religious knowledge” — a conclusion that stands in stark contrast to the notion that the militants see themselves as being on a religious crusade.
The report is based on leaked ISIS recruiting documents. Researchers say the report is the most in-depth look to date at the group’s foreign terrorist fighters (FTF), the “interview” process would-be fighters go through, and the social and sectarian motivations that fuel their decision to sign up.
New details on the makeup of the ISIS force come as the U.S. prepares to withdraw its 2,000 troops from Syria, where they had been leading a multilateral coalition to defeat the organization. In ordering the withdrawal, President Trump argued that ISIS had been fully defeated, though lawmakers, regional analysts and military officials have said the group remains a serious challenge and could reconstitute itself quickly.
Source: Washington Times