Ottawa

Expert says ISIS wants recruits to stay closer to home

As the trial of an Ottawa man accused of helping to recruit for ISIS gets underway, a former CSIS analyst said the terror group is less interested in bringing recruits across the world, preferring instead that they strike here.

ISIS now prefers recruits strike in home country, says former CSIS analyst

Awso Peshdary was charged in 2015 with conspiracy to facilitate a terrorist act, knowingly participating in the activities of a terror group and counselling a person to participate in a terrorist act. His trial resumes in September. (Facebook)

As the trial for an Ottawa man accused of helping to recruit for ISIS gets underway, a former CSIS analyst said the terror group is less interested in bringing recruits across the world, preferring instead that they strike here.

Awso Peshdary was charged in 2015 with conspiracy to facilitate a terrorist act, knowingly participating in the activities of a terror group and counselling a person to participate in a terrorist act.

His trial has encountered numerous delays and, after sitting for three days this week, will resume in September.

He is alleged to have tried to go to Syria himself and to help others make their own trips to fight with ISIS.

Jessica Davis, a former intelligence analyst with CSIS, said at the time Peshdary was arrested ISIS was trying to bring people to Syria to fight, but that has changed.

"Now that propaganda has shifted. Now what they are saying is that it is better to conduct attacks where you are," she said in an interview Thursday with CBC's All In A Day.

Difficult to detect

There are some groups  who would still want to attract westerns to overseas conflicts, but not nearly at the same degree as there was, she said.

The good news, Davis said, is that for the most part CSIS and other intelligence agencies are able to track these cases.  

"We are very good at that kind of work. There are certainly always going to be challenges in terms of detecting all of the activities that happen, especially when they are small scale."

Unfortunately, it's near impossible to detect everything, she said.

"When we live in a western liberal-democratic society, expecting a 100 per cent success rate all of the time is unrealistic. There are going to be people and events that get through the cracks."

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