In Search of Greater Monsters to Slay: Exploring the Motivations of Chechen Foreign Fighters in Syria and Iraq Fighting for the Islamic State



Martin, Sarah

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This thesis considers the wave of insurgents who left Chechnya in order to fight with the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq. The purpose of this study is to examine the motivations of these fighters. Stories describing their departure—including journalistic retellings, third-party recollections and self-stated motivation—collected on the blog, Chechens in Syria, compiled by Joanna Paraszczuk, is the data used for this thesis. These motivations are coded and analyzed for patterns and themes. What is extracted from these blog posts is useful for understanding the conflict in Chechnya and speaks more broadly to the state of jihadism within the region. Additionally, secondary sources and a deep literature review of foreign fighters, the ideology of the Islamic State, the conflict between Russia and Chechnya, provide further insights and complement the analysis provided.



Jihadism, Foreign fighters, Terrorism, Syrian Civil War, Chechnya, Russia