This here is something that should keep Western policymakers up at night:
A Sunni jihadist group that has seized vast territories in Iraq and Syria is parlaying its battlefield successes into a recruitment drive that is attracting more foreign fighters, say Western and Arab officials.The message from the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, or ISIS: Join us in forming a Sunni-led religious state spanning from the Mediterranean to the Persian Gulf.One recruitment video, released on Friday, shows gun-toting militants, speaking with British and Australian accents, extolling the virtues of jihad and inviting viewers to join their battle in Syria and Iraq.
It’s simple: success attracts publicity, money and recruits. ISIS may or may not be able to hold onto its territorial gains in Iraq and Syria, especially if the U.S. and others can work with non-crazy Sunni groups and traditional leaders to block the consolidation of a dictatorship most people in the region will hate.
However, the huge, headline gains of the recent offensive has made ISIS the ‘it’ group in the terror competition, and vulnerable youth are going to feel the pull—including in the U.S., Western Europe, the Caucasus and as far away as China. Wonderful.