They’re coming from Europe, the U.S., and all over — with Tunisia leading the world in the number of jihadists it has sent to the Islamic State. “U.S. officials have attributed the flows to a range of factors, including the sophisticated recruiting campaigns orchestrated by groups in Syria such as the Islamic State and the relative ease with which militants from the Middle East, North Africa and Europe can make their way to that country.” These officials are bound as a matter of Obama Administration policy not to know the real reason, which is the appeal of the idea of the caliphate. If they were to acknowledge that, they would be admitting that the Islamic State has something to do with Islam, and that is off-limits for Obama Administration wonks.
“Airstrikes against Islamic State do not seen to have affected flow of fighters to Syria,” by Greg Miller, Washington Post, October 30, 2014:
More than 1,000 foreign fighters are streaming into Syria each month, a rate that has so far been unchanged by airstrikes against the Islamic State and efforts by other countries to stem the flow of departures, according to U.S. intelligence and counterterrorism officials.
The magnitude of the ongoing migration suggests that the U.S.-led air campaign has neither deterred significant numbers of militants from traveling to the region nor triggered such outrage that even more are flocking to the fight because of American intervention.
“The flow of fighters making their way to Syria remains constant, so the overall number continues to rise,” a U.S. intelligence official said. U.S. officials cautioned, however, that there is a lag in the intelligence being examined by the CIA and other spy agencies, meaning it could be weeks before a change becomes apparent.
The trend line established over the past year would mean that the total number of foreign fighters in Syria exceeds 16,000, and the pace eclipses that of any comparable conflict in recent decades, including the 1980s war in Afghanistan.
U.S. officials have attributed the flows to a range of factors, including the sophisticated recruiting campaigns orchestrated by groups in Syria such as the Islamic State and the relative ease with which militants from the Middle East, North Africa and Europe can make their way to that country….
The vast majority of those militants have come from other countries in the Middle East and North Africa. Tunisia has sent more fighters to Syria than any other nation.
More than 2,000 fighters have come from countries in Europe, carrying passports that would enable them to travel relatively freely in Western countries….
Although U.S. officials have not made public estimates of the rate at which foreign fighters are flowing into Syria, they have provided totals that trace a clear trajectory. The 15,000 figure cited by the White House last month was up sharply from an estimate of 12,000 in July and 7,000 in March.