Why ISIS Members Quit: Boredom, No Luxury Cars

Should defectors be given a helping hand?
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 21, 2015 5:00 PM CDT

(Newser) – ISIS recruits are fleeing the Jihadist group for various reasons—including their use as suicide bombers, the lack of luxury cars, and the sheer boredom of duties that don't involve frontline fighting, according to a new report. Published today by a London-based think tank, the report calls defectors "a new and growing phenomenon" and says 58 have left ISIS since January 2014, but calls that number a mere fraction of defections since then, the Telegraph reports. Some defectors have complained about the "quality of life" and were usually among those "who had joined the group for material and 'selfish' reasons, and quickly realized that none of the luxury goods and cars that they had been promised would materialize," per the report. Among their other reasons:

  • A shortage of basic goods and annoying power outages.
  • Cruelty against civilians, racism within ISIS (an East Indian was given toilet-cleaning duty), and advantages bestowed upon foreign fighters over Syrian members, the Independent reports.
  • "One of the most persistent criticisms was the extent to which the group is fighting against other Sunni rebels," per the report. Defectors said that toppling Assad and helping Sunnis targeted by him "didn't seem to be a priority."

The report calls on governments to encourage more defections and take away legal "disincentives" that keep defectors from telling their stories, the Guardian reports. The defectors may have joined a "violent and totalitarian organisation," the report says, "yet they have also become its victims, and their stories can be used as potentially powerful tools in the fight against it." (Read more ISIS stories.)

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