The most strident debate among western intelligence agencies is whether the reported thousands of foreign fighters involved in fighting in Syria and Iraq, which include 3,000 Europeans and Americans, are going to return home and bomb their own countries.
A more important question may be whether the war launched by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIS, and other militant groups is primarily a Sunni extremist campaign against Shias – in other words, a war internal to the Muslim world. In this case, the key players who need to be restrained are not those fighting, but their sponsors Saudi Arabia and Iran. Saudi Arabia in particular has a wider responsibility in the Islamic world to act as a bridge between the sects rather than fuel Sunni extremism. Continue reading »