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Foreign Fighters in Iraq: A Cross-National Analysis of Jihadism

Pathways to radicalisationRadicalisationRegionsWorld

Journal of Terrorism and Political ViolenceJournal abstract

Statistics on the national origin of almost one thousand killed and captured foreign fighters in Iraq reveal noticeable differences among Muslim majority countries in their jihadism rate (number of fighters/million population). These cross-national differences are used to test different theories as to the causes of Islamist extremism. The findings do not support those theories which see the cause of jihadism in the political and economic failures of Muslim societies, since the foreign fighters come from the more developed countries. The foreign fighters also come from the more religious societies, and from those societies “occupied” by U.S. or Israeli military forces.

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