In recent months the threat of non-Middle Easterners traveling to Syria to join the Islamic State has become an ever-increasing threat. Although here in the U.S., government officials know for a fact just who the people are that left to fight alongside ISIS and returned, they choose to do nothing about it.
The problem of home-grown jihadists isn’t taking place only in America, however.
“It’s a global threat – 15,000 fighters or more from 81 countries traveling to one specific conflict zone,”
Pierre St. Hilaire, director of counterterrorism at Interpol told the AP, saying that some 300 came from China alone. Also adding that “because they know airports are monitored more closely now, there’s a use of cruise ships to travel to those areas. There is evidence that the individuals, especially in Europe, are traveling mostly to (Turkish coastal town) Izmit and other places to engage in this type of activity.”
Turkish officials said that thanks to their stepped-up efforts in airports and bus stations, they have deported hundreds of would-be ISIS fighters in recent months. The self-made jihadists are now taking cruises to reach their destinations unobserved. I guess if you’re planning to fight alongside suicidal barbarians, why not take a cruise first?
St. Hilaire believes the “wanna-be’s” have been using cruise ships as vessels of choice in the past three months or so because they make repeated stops, allowing the would-be’s to get off undetected at “any number of ports.” He is in favor of having cruise lines use I-Checkit, a program that allows airlines and, he hopes, cruise lines to bounce passenger information off of Interpol’s databases, thus raising likelihood of catching the terrorists before they can reach ISIS. He told the AP that “in order to prevent their travel and identify them, there needs to be greater information-sharing among the region, among national security agencies.”
Ronald Noble, head of Interpol, told the AP in September: “The question is how we can prevent that travel and disrupt that travel. Interpol’s idea is to get airlines involved, hotels involved, banks involved, cruise lines involved – to make it more difficult for these terrorists to use stolen documents with different identities in order to move from one country to the next.”