Foreign terrorist fighters (FTFs) signify a unique threat. Islamic State leaders recruited many of them specifically to conduct terrorist attacks against the West. Many of these external operations have proven to be sophisticated and deadly, such as the November 2015 attacks in Paris. Yet the threat posed by FTFs goes beyond orchestrating attacks. In the past, they returned home to build networks that, in turn, facilitated a new generation of FTFs.
Even more challenging, today's FTFs can interact with recruits on social media to inspire attacks. This article addresses the threat of a new wave of FTFs and potential countermeasures. It presents findings from a comparative analysis of Tunisia and Algeria, concluding that to reverse the compounding nature of FTFs, countries must identify the potential threat from the outset, put appropriate legal measures in place, adequately fund judicial systems, and institute re-integration programs.