Some European and American officials deeply fear that violence in Syria will come home. Dozens and in some cases hundreds of people from European countries like the UK and Denmark have made the trek to the eastern Mediterranean and are fighting in the Syrian civil war, the WSJ reports. They could bring their new skills, contacts, and a hardened ideology back home:
The total number of fighters from Europe is difficult to track, but officials and academics estimate it at about 1,000 or more, including from Germany, France and the Netherlands. Dozens have traveled to Syria from the U.S. […]For now, the most dedicated jihadists remain in Syria. But U.S. and European officials have said scores have filtered back and expect that as the conflict drags on, more will.Security officials are concerned because, once inside Europe, the returning fighters can move across borders with relative ease.Belgium is just a two-day drive from Syria and from there, an undetected jihadi with a European passport could make his way to the U.S. virtually unimpeded.
The long and brutal civil war in Syria hasn’t finished wreaking havoc yet, and the West has no credible policy to end it. The contrast between Western intervention in oil-rich Libya and Western abstention in the much more horrifying Syrian war destroyed the last scrap of the moral credibility of Western governments, very much including the Obama administration, in a Sunni Muslim world that increasingly views world events through the prism of a Sunni-Shia war.The revival of jihadi military organizations, the growth in popular support for jihadi ideology, and the establishment of deeper links between radical jihadi groups and the oil-rich Gulf are the hallmarks of the Middle East in President Obama’s second term.What we don’t see yet is a coherent strategy to address the growing danger.