The Balkans and Syria’s Civil War: Realities and Challenges
The prime objective of this research paper is to look at the realities and challenges confronting the Balkan states and societies in light of Syria’s civil war. By examining the mobilization process of Balkan militants who are joining Syria’s rebel cause, especially the Islamic radical groups linked to al-Qaeda, this paper proposes a model that explains why and how Balkan militants are joining the fight in Syria. Drawing upon reliable media reports, personal observations, academic accounts, and other consistent sources, this paper argues that Balkan militants are joining Syria’s rebel cause because foreign Islamic radical groups (that have been operating in the Balkans since the early 1990s) have successfully indoctrinated them. This paper challenges the argument that Islam in the Balkans is a threat to the region, and the claim that Balkan Islam and Muslims in the region are becoming an increasing threat to the West. The central findings of this paper exemplify that the future of Balkan militants is bleak and that they will be confronted with a massive modern and democratic resistance that offers them nothing but reintegration into Balkan Islam, their natural “religious nest.” Notwithstanding the trends related to Syria’s civil war, Balkan Muslims belong to the West, culturally and mentally.
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