shelter from the storm

Twas in another lifetime, one of toil and blood/When blackness was a virtue and the road was full of mud/I came in from the wilderness, a creature void of form/“Come in,” she said, “I’ll give you shelter from the storm”

A number of links to sites and stories dealing with jihadis  and ‘foreign fighters’ in Syria.

 “La révolution syrienne menacée par les djihadistes” 14 February 2012, Nora Benkorich, Le Monde

 “Islamists against Assad: Foreign Extremists a Danger to Syria’s Revolution”, 15 February 2012, Ulrike Putz, Speigel

“Sunni Extremists May Be Aiding Al Qaeda’s Ambitions in Syria, Analysts Say”, 15 February 2012, Eric Schmitt and Tom Shanker, The New York Times

The Jalal Al Muzani forum announcing the death of two Kuwaiti nationals in Syria. This was also mentioned on Twitter by Noman Benotman and Aaron Zelin.

The reporting is a precursor to a complex debate about what role ‘foreign fighters’ will play in Syria, what this means for a social movement that wanted to portray itself as pacific and not connected to terrorist organisations? Historically, most Muslim ‘foreign fighters’ have fought in conflicts where there was a foreign occupier or a context that could fit this type of narrative; Afghanistan I against the Soviets, Bosnia against the Serbs, Chechens against the Russians, Iraq against the Americans and Afghanistan II against American/Western forces. ‘Foreign fighters’ have not typically been present in domestic conflicts between a social movement/insurgency/terrorist entity and a state e.g. Algeria, Egypt, or Libya. A possible exception is the support of the Afghanistan-based ‘foreign fighters’ to the Taliban against the Northern Alliance. Will ‘foreign fighters’ be present in large numbers in Syria and will they have an impact on the outcome? These and other questions may require a change in analysis and typologies related to Muslim ‘foreign fighters’.

Thanks to the ever observant Aaron Zelin at Jihadology for the correction on the original posting which carried an irrelevant link.