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Thanks to Syria, global jihad is experiencing a revival

20 January 2014

12:30 PM

20 January 2014

12:30 PM

The arrest of two men last week on terrorism charges relating to Syria reveals just how serious the issue of foreign fighters has become. Estimates suggest that up to 366 young Muslims from the UK might now be participating in the Syrian conflict.

There is a multiplicity of problems here. Aside from the obvious fears about young men training with terrorist organisations, the global jihadist movement is currently enjoying an unprecedented rebirth. Its membership is being replenished and it is not overstating the case to suggest al-Qaeda affiliates now control greater territory than they ever have in the past.

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It is tempting to turn a Nelsonian eye to the phenomenon. There is a view in some parts that radicalised young men should simply be allowed to leave the country and die in Syria. This misunderstands the problem. Most of those who leave won’t fight until the end. Many will return and it will be impossible to detect them all.

The Home Secretary should therefore extend greater powers to the UK Borders Agency, Police, and Security Service to stop and investigate potential foreign fighters before they leave the country. Present measures are insufficient and crude, relying on Royal Prerogative to strip suspects of their passports. What should replace it is a legislative approach which establishes clear procedures and allows for judicial oversight.

Terrorism studies have shown the problem to be a generational one. With the death of Osama bin Laden and Anwar al-Awlaki in 2011 there was a sense that the jihadist threat which began with those who confronted the Soviet Union in Afghanistan was finally in remission. Syria has now revived its fortunes by another generation. Introducing robust measures to stop and prosecute potential suspects before they leave this country will better insulate us against its repercussions in the years ahead.

Shiraz Maher is a Senior Research Fellow and Head of Outreach at the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation (ICSR) at Kings College London

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Show comments
  • Bubba Nicholson

    New book is out:

    Jihad Can be Cured with Human Pheromone
    A CIA Officer’s Manual
    by Bubba Nicholson
    Apple ID
    803201189
    ISBN
    9780981522678

  • FreyaB

    “The Home Secretary should therefore extend greater powers to the UK
    Borders Agency, Police, and Security Service to stop and investigate
    potential foreign fighters before they leave the country. Present
    measures are insufficient and crude, relying on Royal Prerogative to
    strip suspects of their passports. What should replace it is a
    legislative approach which establishes clear procedures and allows for
    judicial oversight.”

    Nothing like locking the stable door after the horse has bolted.

  • Daniel Maris

    “Terrorism studies have shown the problem to be a generational one.”

    So, Shiraz are we seriously supposed to believe that Islamic terrorism began in 2001?

  • the viceroy’s gin

    “The Home Secretary should therefore extend greater powers to the UK
    Borders Agency, Police, and Security Service to stop and investigate
    potential foreign fighters before they leave the country.”

    .

    Wait, so now the Speccie teenager is suggesting the bureaucracy be further swollen and then empowered to harass people leaving the country?

    So lemme get this straight. According to our stalwart fellow the blogger, there’s to be unfettered immigration, come one come all, but meanwhile, instead of checking them upon entry, like normal people might consider normal, they’re to be checked only when leaving? Will everybody now be fenced-in, too? There’s a few elderly types in the eastern part of Germany who may be able to help you with all that, lad, re the walls and authoritarian bureaucracy and such. Just google Stasi and see what comes up for you.

    Good Lord, is this blogpost a gag, or what? It’s got the feel of Alice in Wonderland, the chapter where she plays croquet with a flamingo mallet, and with hedgehogs as balls. Maybe our blogger friend is the Cheshire cat.

  • Colonel Mustard

    It would be laughable if it were not so sad.

    Major’s government provides a safe haven for various dissident muslim groups in the UK, asking too few questions about what they are up to. Then New Labour open the gates to mass immigration to ‘rub the right’s nose in diversity’ and import votes. Then, having done that they embark on two wars of aggression in the muslim diaspora which regardless of their rights and wrongs would be bleedin’ obvious to anyone with the slightest knowledge of history and half a brain to be a catalyst for jihad. To stoke up the nascent sectarianism they impose their bad religious hatred law which so far seems to have been deployed very selectively and mostly in ways which increase resentment, frustration and hatred on “both sides”. And to really piss everyone off they impose a raft of ‘security’ laws at the behest of secret policemen which undermine centuries old liberties and seek to either criminalise or place under surveillance the majority of the population.

    If anyone had set out to create potential civil war and an increasing home-grown terrorist threat in the UK they could not have done a better job.

    But now, with so much evidence of government idiocy in the past we are expected to trust the current crop of greasy pole climbing career politicians to get it right and not to just compound and add another layer of angst over the mistakes that lie so heavy on the peaceful population today.

    • http://moraymint.wordpress.com/ moraymint

      Hear, hear! Superb. The British political class – the whole damn lot of them – are an utter disgrace.

  • Tom Tom

    Qatar sold Britain $4 billion LNG recently and sponsors Britain and its royal family in return for British MI6/SAS activity in Libya and now Syria. Saudi Arabia funds terrorists in Syria and according to MIT analysis it appears they use simple rockets to deliver sarin gas. Britain happily acquiesced in people joining in so it could recruit and monitor. Since last Summer they have been working with Syrian Intelligence to find where they now are. Frankly if they come to France or Britain to continue their activities I would not be surprised; maybe Qatar will fund them to blow up things here, who knows ? I am not going to get worked up about it as London is as much an integral part of the Arab world as Beirut or Baghdad and has happily sponsored murders of Christians in Syrian villages while Hague puts his sack over his head……..it is called blowback and it seems the ruling elites here never learn

    • HookesLaw

      I did not see any sponsorship logos on the Royal Corgies. where is the milage in ‘sponsoring’ the royal family. Keep looking at the skies, the aliens will come down to get you one night.

      • Tom Tom

        Royal Ascot, but Sandhurst is now sponsored with the Mons Hall now named King Hamad Hall because Bahrain has money for Royal Military Academy Sandhurst

      • Colonel Mustard

        The ‘aliens’ are already here, mostly in Westminster and Whitehall. They are not little green men but they are little alright.

      • Colonel Mustard

        The ‘aliens’ are already here, mostly in Westminster and Whitehall. They are not little green men but they are little alright.

  • William Haworth

    Presumably we’re not allowed to kill them there, or here. We’re not allowed to prevent them coming ‘home’, see Human Rights laws passim. So, perhaps we should be making an effort to INTEGRATE the Muslim population with the majority population, so that the young Muslims (to be 10% of all school leavers within the next 15 years) feel more British than Umma. Anyone have any ideas? And asking nicely hasn’t worked for the past 20 years.

    Personally I’d go for compulsory Citizen Service in their 16th Summer. We take the young people away from home and put them together in groups that reflect the % ethnic/religious/social mix, and they spend 6 weeks cleaning up graffiti/digging out canals/building play parks etc., no exclusions, no special cases and no passport until you’ve completed the service, no free NHS until you’ve demonstrated you’ve done the service, no free school until…you get the point.

    Until building a coherent society becomes a priority for our leaders, these people will continue to run rings round us.

    • Tom Tom

      Dear William, in some areas Muslims are 70% children <5 years so do catch up and will be the majority population in key metropolitan areas…..or as Osborne would say…….constituencies

    • Colonel Mustard

      Building a ‘coherent society’ has been the strategy of our ‘leaders’ for about twenty years or more. Unfortunately it is being modelled on Common Purpose rather than a common heritage. If chaos wasn’t the objective I’d like to know what was.

  • HookesLaw

    Come on Spectator – are you back from lunch yet?
    This is the real story
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-25804728

    ‘The Police Federation of England and Wales should be changed from “top to bottom”, an independent panel has said.’
    ‘The report also found the federation had reserve funds of £64.5m – about
    £35m held by local branch boards, which it said operated “almost as
    separate businesses”.’
    In respect of this latter point, millions are held in a series of unpublished “Number 2 accounts” — held by as many as 30 of the 43 federation branches in England and Wales.

  • In2minds

    Give the police more powers! What’s wrong with them using the powers they
    have? The fact is both the elected and appointed public servants are
    in thrall to Islam. Nothing will be done, just in case we ‘upset’
    them. Hence, for example, the vapid approach of Tom Winsor.

    • Tom Tom

      Police are too busy working for Organised Crime to bother with much else……MI5 will watch its “persons of interest” on CCTV after they blow up their next target

    • FreyaB

      PCs are rendered frozen and immobile because of their brainwashing into PC. They daren’t use the powers the law gives them for fear of being accused of racism.

      Because of this they’ve been allowed to invert the notion of community cohesion into keeping Muslims sweet rather than protecting decent people from Islamic excesses.

  • http://www.facebook.com/martin.adamson.75 Martin Adamson

    Let’s see if the our Establishment can show the same courage and resolution in the fact of Jihadists as it does with football hooligans.

    • Tom Tom

      You will find out in 25 years time as with Hillsborough

  • Fergus Pickering

    Why is it possible to detect them all coming back? I wouldn’t have thought it was difficult. So don’t let them in again or put them in jail. I think the first is better.

    • HookesLaw

      Being in a sarcastic mood, I suppose on exit likely suspects could be tested for pre-traumatic stress disorder.

  • Graeme S

    My Friend its already here … 7th July et al. There is a huge fifth column embedded within the UK population. Syria has jus become one of the many finishing schools these savages have enrolled into.

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