The Myth of the Invisible Jetsetting Jihadi | TIME

Good series of articles putting the risks – they are real – of returning ISIS and other extremists to the West.

Starting with the Globe’s Doug Saunders, who notes:

In other words, there is a good chance that at least one Canadian will return to attempt an attack here. While returning terrorist fighters are nowhere near Canada’s top terrorist threat in terms of numbers, they should certainly be watched very closely by intelligence agencies.

This is where you’ll find one small silver lining in this otherwise dark development: By going abroad to fight, such Canadians become very easy for intelligence agencies to notice, track and monitor. “We’re going to know who these guys are and we’re going to watch them closely as they transit home,” Brookings counterterrorism scholar Will McCants told an interviewer this week. The fact that these fighters aggressively use Twitter, Facebook and YouTube as propaganda tools makes them even easier to find.

Plus, their mortality rate is very high, and rising. So viewed from another angle, by going abroad to fight, our extremists – already very few in number – are self-culling dramatically and rendering themselves far more visible to authorities.

They are a genuine threat, but not the largest or most ominous one facing us. We should be afraid, but we should not be very afraid.

Homegrown terror – be afraid, sort of afraid

From Time’s David Sternam, a similar message:

Three years into the Syrian civil war, there has been only one lethal attack in the West – the murder of four people at a Jewish museum in Brussels by Mehdi Nemmouche, a veteran of the Syrian jihad. In the United States, no one returning from or seeking to join a Syrian jihadist group has even been charged with plotting an attack inside the United States. In comparison, there have been two deadly incidents in the United States committed by individuals motivated by far right ideology in the past six months. If thousands of extremists were only a plane ride away from American cities, one would hardly expect such a limited record of Syria related violence in the West.

None of this is to say that Jihadist groups in Syria should be allowed to fester and develop the capability to conduct attacks in the United States, or that it is impossible that a returning Syrian foreign fighter will evade the layered defenses that protect the American homeland. That Abu Salha was able to return undetected to the United States after participating in Jihadist training should concern law enforcement. The layered defense system may need reinforcement to deal with new challenges, but the constraints it imposes upon jihadist activity ought not be obscured, particularly when making the case that the threat posed by foreign fighters calls for military action. Doing so does a great disservice to the admirable efforts of Muslim communities, local and federal law enforcement, and American citizens in confronting Jihadist extremism at home.

The Myth of the Invisible Jetsetting Jihadi | TIME.

Calls for parliamentary testimony on radicalization and the implications for Canada:

Liberals want hearings on Islamic radicals who have returned to Canada

Lastly, a good overview and profile of ISIS in the Globe:

 How a former U.S. prisoner of war created an Islamic state