The American envoy to the coalition against ISIS said on Sunday that the number of jihadists who have flocked to the ISIS banner is as much as double the number who took up arms against the Soviet Union in the 1980s, a famously bloody and drawn-out conflict that lasted for over 9 years and resulted in around a million civilian deaths and hundreds of thousands of refugees.
Hundreds of thousands, not tens of thousands.
The envoy, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Iraq and Iran Brett McGurk, said:
“And I’ve said this before. We have really never seen something like this before, 30,000 foreign fighters, these jihadi fighters, coming from 100 countries all around the world, into Syria and Iraq. Depending on who’s counting, there are different numbers from the ’80s, but it is almost about double the number that went into Afghanistan in the 1980s. Those guys came from just a handful of countries. This is 100 countries all around the world.”
PJ Media’s Bridget Johnson adds:
McGurk said that “about 34 countries now, around the world and it is quite significant, have arrested foreign fighters or broken up cells and networks.”
He acknowledged that ISIS grew out of al-Qaeda in Iraq, “an enemy that we knew very well, but they are better in every respect.”
“They’re better manned, they’re better funded, they’re better resourced, they’re better fighters, and of course, we are working with indigenous forces on the ground to do the fighting on the ground because we feel very strongly that that is the longer-term solution.”
JV guys. Contained. Just a bunch of killers with social media folks. Nothing to see here.