Volunteers from abroad have flocked to the battlefields of Iraq and Syria in numbers unseen since the end of the Cold War, but throughout history foreign combatants have been a key part of warfare.
American novelist Ernest Hemingway stands with Soviet reporter Ilya Ehrenburg and German writer Gustav Regler during the Spanish Civil War in 1937.(Wikimedia Commons, JFK Presidential Library and Museum)
From Stratfor founder's recent Geopolitical Weekly column, as quoted by New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman: "The United States must turn this from a balance of power between Syria and Iraq to a balance of power among this trio of regional powers (Turkey, Iran and Saudi Arabia). They have far more at stake and, absent the United States, they have no choice but to involve themselves. They cannot stand by and watch a chaos that could spread to them.”
In an interview with The Globe and Mail comparing the Islamic State to al-Qaeda, Stratfor Advisor of Middle Eastern & South Asian Affairs, Kamran Bokhari, commented: “This group eclipsed al-Qaeda years ago, but nobody paid attention. It wasn’t evident, but now it is.”