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JIHAD OR RE-INTEGRATION: PATHWAYS OF FOREIGN FIGHTERS AFTER WAR

Objective

Foreign fighters pose a serious threat to Europe. Western intelligence agencies believe that approximately 400 foreign fighters have returned to the EU from Syria and Iraq, and that at least 250 radicalized individuals have been smuggled to Europe from 2014 until 2016. The major hotbeds of foreign fighters smuggling and recruitment are located in Europe itself, in Bosnia and Kosovo, both of which underwent civil wars that featured foreign fighters. We know little about how foreign fighters behave in the aftermath of such civil wars: why some continue fighting in other wars while others go back to civilian life. This is an unfortunate shortcoming because numerous studies have shown that some foreign fighters have demobilized in the aftermath of wars in Afghanistan and Bosnia, while others left for Chechnya, Iraq and Syria to continue jihad. Those who continued fighting built networks with terrorists who are responsible for recent attacks in Europe. It is, therefore, imperative to understand these dynamics in order to make sound decisions that can prevent terrorism in Europe. This project will remedy this shortcoming by pursuing three goals. First, the project will adopt a fresh theoretical framework for the study of foreign fighters. Drawing on organizational theory, career transition and political violence literature, the project aims to explain post-war pathways of foreign fighters as a function of their role in previous war(s). Such an approach goes beyond standard focus on motivations and will help elicit why foreign fighters demobilize or turn violent in a long-term perspective. Second, the project will obtain new empirical insights into how foreign fighters pursued different paths in two similar, post-conflict contexts (Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo). The third objective of the project is to develop a set of policy recommendations that will assist future policy makers in dealing with returning foreign fighters.
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Coordinator

UNIVERSITEIT LEIDEN

Address

Rapenburg 70
2311 Ez Leiden

Netherlands

Activity type

Higher or Secondary Education Establishments

EU Contribution

€ 165 598,80

Project information

Grant agreement ID: 798392

Status

Ongoing project

  • Start date

    2 September 2019

  • End date

    1 September 2021

Funded under:

H2020-EU.1.3.2.

  • Overall budget:

    € 165 598,80

  • EU contribution

    € 165 598,80

Coordinated by:

UNIVERSITEIT LEIDEN

Netherlands