For those of who have followed the conflict in Syria and Iraq closely, it came as no surprise – shocking though it was – to discover that a seemingly British jihadist had beheaded the American journalist James Foley. Over the past year jihadists from this country have participated in suicide bombings, tortured detainees in their care, and executed prisoners of war.
It is true that not every British fighter who has travelled to Syria engages in these types of acts. Indeed, many of the early fighters who went did so for humanitarian reasons. Through numerous interviews it is clear to me that their motivations and ambitions were materially different from those who followed them.