Here is a link to the piece by Griff Witte on the Washington Post’s Website. http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/europeans-are-flocking-to-the-war-in-syria-what-happens-when-they-come-home/2014/01/29/772f56d0-88f6-11e3-833c-33098f9e5267_story.html
Witte discusses Europeans who have gone to fight in the war in Syria. In particular, the security concerns of the United Kingdom and France are highlighted. The concept that private citizens can go to certain places to receive training or indoctrination and then return home to cause security problems and acts of terrorism is not a new phenomenon.
The United States has had similar situations including a Syrian American raised in Alabama go to Somalia to join Al Shabaab and another American who became a cleric in Yemen.
The idea that conflict zones and weak states empower non-state actors is a well documented occurrence in International Affairs. Boaz Atzili has coined the term triadic deterrence to explain why strong states even dictators like Bashar al-Assad are preferable, to a country experiencing the threat of terrorism, compared to anarchy and political entities unable to project power and control their territory. This is because a state can put pressure on, threaten, punish, and negotiate with a fellow government much easier than it can with non state actors.
I am not advocating the support of the government in Syria. Rather I am questioning the support of some of the rebels who are more of a danger to NATO than Syria and its chemical weapons ever were. This article in the Washington Post enables one to think about other places people may go to join violent non state actors that are more directly the result of foreign policy decisions of NATO countries such Libya and Iraq. The larger question this train of thought leads to is: does tearing down dictators with little legal justification and no post war strategy make the United States and its allies safer or does it cede more territory to the terror they have allegedly been at war with for over twelve years?