It’s been revealed from hundreds of leaked documents received and analyzed by NBC News in partnership with West Point, that hundreds of ISIS fighters are recruited from Western countries.
The said documents were stolen from an ISIS commander by a man who turned them in. From the records, a database of more than 4,000 ISIS recruits were analyzed in order to get a reliable statistics of the group’s fighting men.
The findings show that about 10% of the total fighting force are from western countries.
The three biggest feeder countries were Saudia Arabia (797 fighters), Tunisia (640) and Morocco (260), although Tunisia has the highest per capita rate. But they came from all corners of the world — from China (167) to Iceland (1) and Australia (13) to Trinidad and Tobago (2).
About 10 percent hailed from Western nations, including the United Kingdom (57) and the United States (14). In Europe, France (128) and Germany (80) had the highest numbers.
The international nature of the group is cause for concern, giving a glimpse of the ease with which ISIS members might be able to move around and blend in across the globe. Fifty-eight cited the U.S. as a country they had visited.
“They were from all over the world and the individuals had traveled all over the world,” Dodwell said. “I wouldn’t say a majority of them, but a good number of them were heavily traveled. One individual said he had been to 38 countries around the world. So some of them certainly have international experience and significant experience moving throughout the region and throughout the world.”
Other revelations from the documents show that a quarter of the ISIS fighter have at least, college education; 30% of those have families; and a few percent had volunteered to be suicide bombers.
Each candidate was asked if he wanted to be a regular fighter or a suicide bomber or suicide fighter, but only 12 percent ticked the box for martyrdom.
That ratio stands in stark contrast to another set of foreign fighters, those who joined Al Qaeda in Iraq in 2006 and 2007, more than half of whom volunteered to blow themselves up, according to West Point. And analysts say the disparity reflects how ISIS marketed itself to the world and the kind of future it envisioned.
Reports from Hotair quoted Brian Dodwell (Deputy Director of the Combating Terrorism Center) at West Point as telling NBC News that ISIS pitch is “this narrative of victory and sustaining… Many of these individuals it would seem are buying into that message and are going into there to live — not die.”