Briefing Paper

Briefing Paper 166 (2015)   

War on two fronts:
The EU perspective on the foreign terrorist fighters of ISIL

Publicerad 8.1.2015

Teemu Sinkkonen
The Finnish Institute of International Affairs

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The ISIL surge has inspired a new generation of jihadist terrorists.

The large number of foreign volunteers in Syria may cause a global terrorism blowback when ISIL is defeated in Syria/Iraq. This underlines the need for common goals and policies regarding the foreign terrorist fighter phenomenon.

The EU has not been able to take a decisive role regarding the Syrian conflict and foreign terrorist fighters, but it can still play an important role in coordinating the responses of the member states.

The EU could take a role in establishing common guidelines for social media regarding extremist material and agitation for violence.

Finding common ground with Turkey on information gathering and sharing would be essential in preventing the travel-for-terrorism cause.

Countries bordering Syria and Iraq are in danger of ISIL spill-over effects in the form of potential affiliates and organizations emulating the rebel group. Egypt and Libya are also likely to become breeding grounds for such groups.