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Women, Children Seen as 'Potential Radicalized Community of Jihadists' - Analyst

© REUTERS / Ali HashishoAn Islamic State flag hangs amid electric wires over a street.
An Islamic State flag hangs amid electric wires over a street. - Sputnik International
Former CIA director David Petraeus has warned that the West should be ready to expend blood and pressure in a generational struggle against Daesh (ISIS). In his speech, he also called for tackling the so-called virtual caliphate. Radio Sputnik discussed the issue of fighting the jihadists with Dr. Ely Karmon, an Israeli political scientist.

According to Dr. Ely Karmon, an Israeli political scientist and Senior Research scholar at the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism, many Daesh terrorists have been killed due to the Russian operation in Syria and US-led coalition’s activity. Those who survived are searching for new havens such as Afghanistan and Libya.

However, the threat is far from over as the numbers of these jihadists is on the rise in Europe and in East Asia.

“There is the problem of young terrorists or jihadists. In France alone, one or two years ago the authorities spoke about 4,000 potential jihadists being radicalized. Today the number is officially 17, 600. In the UK, MI 5 had spoken about 3, 000 potential jihadists, today they speak about 20, 000,” Karmon said.

A flag of Islamic State militants is pictured above a destroyed house near the Clock Square in Raqqa, Syria October 18, 2017 - Sputnik International
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He added that, “today even women and children are considered as a potential radicalized community of jihadists.”

Talking about the difficulty fighting the terrorist groups online right now, the political analyst said that today due to public and government pressure, channels like YouTube are trying to stop jihadists from using their platforms to spread their propaganda.

However, apart from spreading propaganda, another factor that can increase the threat of jihadists is the competition between Daesh [ISIS] and al-Qaeda. The latter has a stronghold in the Saudi Arabian Peninsula, especially in Yemen, and also in Afghanistan.

“This competition can provoke a wave of terrorism, perhaps not from ISIS itself but from al-Qaeda,” Karmon said.

This image posted online on Saturday, Dec. 10, 2016, by supporters of the Islamic State militant group on an anonymous photo sharing website, purports to show a convoy of Daesh vehicles driving in a desert area of east of Palmyra city, in Homs, Syria - Sputnik International
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According to the analyst, some “reverse in the strategy of the jihadist movements” can be seen, but the danger still prevails because many radicalized people, especially the youth, may want to exact revenge for the collapse of the caliphate.

“We don’t know if after one or two years a complete disappearance of the caliphate will take place,” the analyst said.

During his speech before the Royal United Services Institute in London on Wednesday, the former CIA director said that while the Daesh leader would eventually be put down, it would be more difficult to tackle the virtual caliphate. 

During the speech Petraeus also went on to describe cyberwarfare as a whole new battle space with ongoing battles.

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