Foreigners Fighting In Syrian War Could Have Ramifications
Security Officials Fear Britons Volunteering With Syrian Opposition Will Have Ramifications
As the Syrian war has worsened some Britons have chosen to become involved in country on the side of the Syrian opposition forces. This development has caused concerns among security officials in Britain that Islamic terrorists may launch an offensive outside Syria, writes Con Couglin in The London Telegraph.
“Scotland Yard warned yesterday that London was facing a “disturbing” new threat, with jihadists as young as 16 travelling to take up arms in the Syrian conflict. Richard Walton, the head of counter-terrorism command, warned there were signs of returnees being ordered by militants associated with al-Qaeda to carry out attacks in Britain.
Nor is the threat confined to the UK. Hundreds of radicalised young Muslims are reported to have made their way to Syria from other Western nations, such as the US, Canada and France, while intelligence officials have been surprised at the large number of Australian nationals – estimated at around 200 – who have travelled halfway round the world to fight,” he reports.
In another development, David Kenner of Foreign Policy documents the entrance of Aghan fighters into the Syrian civil war, which can only worsen the situation on the ground.
“While the U.S. occupation of the country was intended to pave the way for the eradication of lawless militias, fighters from Afghanistan are now engaged on both sides of the Syrian conflict. In addition to the Afghan Shiite fighters, a small number of Afghan jihadists have also joined the rebel cause. This dynamic is even clearer in Iraq, where Shiite militias and Sunni jihadists have also joined the Syrian battle – reopening old sectarian wounds and threatening the fragile stability back home,” he reports.
British Human Rights Groups Claims Death Toll In Syria Could Eclipse UN Estimates
Jamie Dettmer reports in The Daily Beast that the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights estimates the death toll could be 40,000 higher than the United Nations claims.
“There are at least 40,000 more dead combatants, but they were not included in the toll because the cases were not documented well enough,” says Observatory director Rami Abdelrahman. The United Nations doesn’t provide regular updates on the war’s death toll, but for months U.N. officials have been saying that more than 100,000 have died in the conflict so far.
New Pew Center Study Finds Americans Believe US Influence In Decline
In a report released on December 3, the Pew Center finds a growing majority of Americans hold the view that the nation’s influence around the world is declining. Among the key findings of the report are:
- For the first time in surveys dating back decades, a majority of Americans–53 percent–see the United States as playing a less important and less powerful role in the world than it did a decade ago.
- Also for the first time, a majority—52 percent—agree that “the U.S. should mind its own business internationally and let other countries get along the best they can on their own.”
- Fully 70 percent (up from 56 percent in 2009) believe that the United States is less respected by other countries than in the past.
- By a margin of 80 to 16 percent, Americans endorse the idea that “We should not think so much in international terms but concentrate more on our national problems and building up our own strengths and prosperity here at home.”