Foreign Fighters in Syria and Iraq: Aberration from History or History Repeated?
Thousands of foreign fighters traveled to Syria and Iraq. The rate of their mobilization alarmed many governments worldwide. While foreign fighters took part in many previous conflicts, the diversity of individuals in the current wave has been truly unprecedented. The chapter analyzes the major waves of previous Islamist foreign fighter mobilizations. It focuses on Afghan Arabs in the Soviet-Afghan War, the traveling jihadists of the 1990s, and foreign fighters participating in the Iraq War. It examines the profiles of foreign fighters in Syria and Iraq and analyzes how the phenomenon of Islamist foreign fighters has evolved throughout history.