May 24, 2016
CHAPTER 13 Recruitment and Radicalization: The Role of Social Media and New Technology
As parts of the Middle East imploded following the euphoria of the Arab Spring, some Americans shocked friends, family, policymakers, and pundits alike by leaving home to join the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and other terrorist organizations operating in the chaos of Syria, Iraq, and Libya. By May 2015, hundreds of U.S. citizens had joined the fight on the side of the extremists, and many others had been apprehended in the attempt. Even greater numbers of recruits left Europe, making their way across the Mediterranean, or overland through Turkey, to join the self-declared caliphate in its latest call to jihad. In 2014 in the UK alone, conservative estimates pegged the numbers of radicalized individuals leaving to join ISIL at five per week.1 By 2015, the numbers were generally believed to have climbed significantly.