Daesh is crumbling and there are concerns about foreign fighters returning homs. Some countries say they’d rather have them killed than pose a threat at home. Canada seeks reintegration

Daesh is crumbling and there are concerns about foreign fighters returning home. Some countries say they’d rather have them killed than pose a threat at home. Canada seeks reintegration
Photo Credit: Reuters

Returning jihadis: to kill or re-integrate?

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Daesh, or the “Islamic State” is crumbling.

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Several countries involved in the fight against Daesh have said it would be better if their citizens who had joined the terrorist group, did not return. The inference in varying degrees of directness is that they should be killed rather than captured.

Canada has stated it does not seek killing of its citizens, rather that they will be re-integrated.

Phil Gurski is a former security analyst for the federal Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS). He is now CEO of Borealis Threat and Risk Consulting, and author on security subjects.

He says re-integration is not clear-cut and carries risks.

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PHil Gurski, former federal security strategist (CSIS) now CEO of Borealis Security and Risk Consulting.
Phil Gurski, former federal security strategist (CSIS) now CEO of Borealis Threat and Risk Consulting. © supplied

Figures are vague but it seems about 180 Canadian citizens are believed to have joined the terrorist fighters of Daesh. About 60 are believed to have returned, about 60 more may seek to return.

Gurski notes that if someone is deemed to be a security risk, it takes anywhere from 20-40 agents fulltime to monitor each one.

It’s a hugely expensive task.

He also notes that while some countries prefer to have their foreign fighter citizens die or be killed abroad, other countries like Denmark have adopted a programme similar to Canada’s stance of reintegration.

Where Daesh fighters once roamed with impunity, they are now collapsing as a force, and thousands of foreign fighters may be seeking to return to their native countries.
Where Daesh fighters once roamed with impunity, they are now collapsing as a force, and thousands of foreign fighters may be seeking to return to their native countries where some who may remain indoctrinated may pose a security threat © via CBC

He says Denmark’s efforts seem to be working, but he says there’s no guarantee that a change of heart is permanent. For some returned fighters, they might have to be monitored possibly throughout their lives.

Even Canada’s federal Public Safety Minister, Ralph Goodale, who said that Canadian foreign fighters would be reintegrated, admits successful reintegration is “pretty remote”.

Canada’s analysis of terrorist threat lists Daesh or ISIS as a serious concern
Canada’s analysis of terrorist threat lists Daesh or ISIS as a serious concern © Govt of Canada

The females pose a new concern as well. While again there is a spectrum of involvement, some may be completely indoctrinated and be determined to raise the next generation of fighters and “martyrs’.

Andre Poulin, was a Canadian who converted to Islam and later joined Daesh. He was killed in 2013 during an attack on a Syrian airport.
Andre Poulin, was a Canadian who converted to Islam and later joined Daesh. He was killed in 2013 during an attack on a Syrian airport. About 60 others are believed to have returned with roughtl that many who may still seek to return. © ISIS recruiting video via CBC

Gurski says that when the Taliban collapsed, and Al Qaeda collapsed, people thought that the terrorist threat would end as well, it didn’t and he says Canadians shouldn’t think it will end with the fall of Daesh

Phil Gurski’s book *Western Foreign Fighters: the threat to homeland and international security”,
Phil Gurski’s book *Western Foreign Fighters: the threat to homeland and international security”,

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One comment on “Returning jihadis: to kill or re-integrate?
  1. Avatar Rene Albert says:

    Geez…how naive is our Liberal government???

    So a Canadian decides he’s going to become a terrorist and leaves Canada to join ISIS. Then at some point, things are not working out as expected and simply returns to Canada. And our Federal government lets him back in, and decides they’ll try and reintegate him back in our society because they can’t prove the person did anything wrong…

    We’re not talking about a parking ticket here…we’re dealing with a potential terrorist! That person may have commited atrocious crimes and could become a terrorist in our society. I say if someone leaves Canada to join a terrorist group, the onus is on that person to prove he did not commit crimes to be let back in to Canada.

    Otherwise, our Federal government is siding with potential terrorists and willing to put Canadians at risk. Let me remind that our government’s top priority is to protect its citizens…