Returning Foreign Fighters or the Ones Who Stayed Home – What’s Worse?

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As the Islamic State diminishes in Iraq and Syria, experts have warned that returning fighters could reorganize and carry out attacks in their home countries. In Southeast Asia, this fear is greatest in Indonesia and the Philippines. However, the greater threat may be the spread of ISIS’ ideology, methods, and funding to fighters who never left home according to National War College Professor Zachary Abuza. The Cipher Brief’s Will Edwards spoke to him about the severity of the threats posed by ISIS and other terrorist groups in Southeast Asia, and the efforts of Southeast Asian nations to cooperate on transnational terrorism.

The Cipher Brief: Many experts feared that ISIS would spread to other countries as it lost territory in Iraq and Syria. Do you feel this has come to pass in Southeast Asia? Are terrorist threats from other groups increasing in the region?

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