CEP Report: Dutch Foreign Fighters – Before, During And After The IS “Caliphate”

(London, U.K. / New York, N.Y.) – The Counter Extremism Project (CEP) today published a new report Dutch Foreign Fighters: Before, During and After the IS “Caliphate,” written by CEP Strategic Advisor Liam Duffy.

Based entirely on publicly available sources, the report documents the radicalization and recruitment process of Dutch Islamic State (IS) fighters, as well as the roles they played in the terror group’s various activities, including the Yazidi genocide.

As with the previous CEP paper Western Foreign Fighters and the Yazidi Genocide, the intention is not to build a case against any individuals, but to encourage a more realistic debate about the actions and potential crimes of western jihadis—crimes for which, so far, they have yet to be held accountable.

CEP Strategic Advisor Liam Duffy said:

“This report seeks to provide a snapshot into some of the roles and activities in the ‘Caliphate’ of Dutch recruits to the Islamic State. For those on whom information is readily available, the truth is certainly more complex than the existing tropes and caricatures imply.

“Too often, we fall back into easy explanations such as the unique and hypnotic power of IS propaganda. As this report demonstrates, Dutch citizens did not leave in their hundreds because they were manipulated online, but in most cases because they wished to live under Sharia as implemented by the jihadists of IS.

“Dutch citizens were not simply cooks or welders, but many served in combatant roles. Some were connected to Islamic State’s worst abuses and excesses. Failing to confront these realities has blunted and softened the cry for justice and accountability, insulted the victims of IS, and leaves European societies vulnerable to future waves of jihadist recruitment.”

CEP Executive Director David Ibsen added:

“The paper demonstrates that foreign fighters departing from the Netherlands to Syria were heavily geographically concentrated, often involving individuals who knew each other in the Netherlands prior to joining the Islamic State.

“Given the evidence presented in this report, that so many Dutch foreign fighters would now claim manipulation, ignorance, or never having been involved in violence arguably demonstrates a near total lack of personal responsibility for their individual decisions. This must be taken into account by lawmakers when considering how to prosecute them upon their return to the Netherlands.”

To read CEP’s report Dutch Foreign Fighters: Before, During and After the IS “Caliphate,” please click here.

To read CEP’s report Western Foreign Fighters and the Yazidi Genocide, please click here.

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On October 4, 2017, suspected ISIS fighters ambushed a military vehicle convoy outside the village of Tongo Tongo in Tillabéri, Niger. Five Nigeriens, four U.S. soldiers, and at least 21 militants were killed. The attack also left eight Nigeriens and two American troops wounded.   

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