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Foreign FightersTransnational Identity in Civic Conflicts$
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David Malet

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199939459

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199939459.001.0001

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Why Foreign Fighters?

Why Foreign Fighters?

(p.1) Introduction Why Foreign Fighters?
Foreign Fighters

David Malet

Oxford University Press

This chapter introduces the scope of the book, presenting foreign fighters from each of the different historical conflicts covered in the subsequent case studies, and establishing the impact that this type of actor has on insurgencies and international conflict. Foreign insurgents in the Iraq War were responsible for higher levels of violence than local rebels in the civil war phase of the conflict, and they also committed the vast majority of suicide attacks. With this record, it is difficult to portray them as mercenaries or local opportunists taking advantage of a weak state. It is similarly difficult to explain why the grievances of Iraqis would motivate thousands of individuals to travel to that conflict zone to sacrifice their lives. This chapter suggests a new explanation of defensive mobilization against perceived existential threat to a transnational community, and presents a model of the recruitment process.

Keywords:   foreign fighter, recruit, Iraq, insurgency, Islamist

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