Libya as the “fourth-largest foreign fighter mobilization in global jihadist history”
In a very thorough and well researched Policy Note for The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Aaron Zelin breaks down the components of the Libyan jihad, including country-by-country statistics on fighters. Zelin traces the routes taken by jihad aspirants from various African points of origin to Libya and shows how Libya has seen the fourth-largest foreign fighter mobilization in global jihadist history, behind only the current war in Syria, the Afghan jihad of the 1980s, and the 2003 Iraq war. Zelin describes the need for a deeper understanding of the foreign-fighter phenomenon in Libya and argues:
Libya deserves attention not just for the jihad that has played out there over the past several years, but also because it offers a potential future jihadist hub given the collapse in 2017 of IS centers in Iraq and Syria. Although no signs suggest IS plans to move its operational center from the Levant to Libya, despite worries to this effect by Western officials, aspiring jihadists in Europe might see an attractive opportunity in the North African state, given its proximity to the European continent.
Click here to read the report in full.