The 10 alleged ISIS recruiters arrested in Spain and Morocco comprise a small victory for those fighting the war to stop ISIS from gaining more foreign fighters to fight in Syria and Iraq.
Spain’s Interior Ministry reported on Sunday that two men and two women were arrested in Spain after raids took place in Badalona, Toledo, and Valencia, according to the Associated Press. Morocco was the scene of the other six arrests of suspected ISIS recruiters.
The suspected ISIS recruiters were part of a “network of recruitment, indoctrination, and sending foreign fighters to fight for Daesh (ISIS) in the regions of Syria and Iraq under its control,” Spain’s Interior Ministry said in a statement.
During the raids, investigators were able to obtain a large amount of computer equipment and data. The material will be analyzed for information and evidence.
It is believed that more than 100 people have left Spain to join ISIS, and those in Spain fear the radicalized people could return to do harm.
Spain isn’t the only country trying to combat ISIS recruiters. All around the world, efforts to combat the recruiters are materializing. However, those efforts are largely failing, according to The New York Times. Nearly 30,000 people have been recruited to join ISIS, and at least 250 of those people are Americans.
KARE 11 reports that many of those recruited Americans who eventually join ISIS come from Minnesota. A bi-partisan report reviewed 58 cases of people who were recruited to join ISIS, and 25 percent of them come from Minnesota.
Those who left to join ISIS didn’t always stay with the terror group.
“Of the hundreds of Americans who have sought to travel to the conflict zone in Syria and Iraq, authorities have only interdicted a fraction of them. Several dozen have also managed to make it back into America,” the bi-partisan report stated.
Minneapolis, Minnesota, has a large group of Somali immigrants, and ISIS recruiters target them. Many young and impressionable people are targeted by ISIS recruiters, and the American government seems to be at a loss as to how to deal with a constantly growing problem.
Where the government can’t act alone, Minnesota businesses and private foundations are stepping in. They have committed money and developed mentoring and leadership roles for young Somali immigrants at risk for ISIS recruitment.
For the rest of the country, though, the problem is huge and growing. The internet and social media is wide-reaching, and ISIS recruiters use these tools with precision. Tina S. Kaidanow, the State Department’s top counterterrorism official, admitted the problem is troubling.
“The trend is still upward,” Ms. Kaidanow said. “We’re going to see that for the whole gamut of reasons.”
One of those reasons is due a “network effect,” according to Daniel L. Byman, a counterterrorism expert and professor at Georgetown University. An ISIS recruiter radicalizes one person. That person radicalizes friends and family, and so forth.
The bi-partisan report claims that more needs to be done in order to keep track of ISIS fighters. Countries need to be able to share accurate and reliable information with one another almost instantaneously via a global database, but instead they are only able to rely upon the United States for incomplete information which isn’t always reliable.
However, not everyone believes that ISIS recruiters have the power they once held to recruit individuals at a dizzying pace. Since defectors are talking and telling horror stories about what it’s really like to live as an ISIS fighter or as the wife of an ISIS fighter, some people believe recruiters have to work harder to convince people to join the terror group.
“ISIS no longer has the momentum in its core territory of Syria and Iraq,” Peter Neumann, director of the center and a professor of security studies at King’s College, believes. “It’s no longer the ever-expanding jihadist utopia that it seemed to be.”
ISIS recruiters arrested here and there will not slow the terror group down, but it does send a message that the world will continue to try to stem the flow of fighters to the group in whatever way it can.
[Photos by Klaus Hausmann/Pixabay; Pixabay]