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What’s In It For Rich Arabs In The Middle East To Fund ISIS?

By Vihaan Bhatnagar:

Who controls the global economy today? The United States of America, China or the benefactors of ISIS? Today, stock Markets are driven by the sentimental insecurity of investors and shareholders, where any global terrorist activity affects the stock market and the global economy on a motive-driven business. Has anybody not questioned why terrorist disruptions do not take place in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia (the recent attack in Medina has been explained in the article) Qatar, or Kuwait anymore? Let us see why.

The United Arab Emirates has self-sufficiently built itself as a major tourist and business destination, unlike other Middle East countries which are majorly dependent on the production and export of oil. Moreover, private organisations of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar, which are accounted as the key benefactors of the Islamic State, keep their businesses safe from any terrorist disruptions. How?

An observational research gave an insight to how such business organisations finance terror and increase sentimental insecurities among investors. Unsurprisingly, it forces the investors to invest in comparatively ‘safer’ business-oriented countries and, ultimately, makes the rich Arab countries richer and the poor Arab countries poorer. No wonder why Iraq, Syria and Iran are going through political upheavals, leading to a shortage in their oil exports and a poorer economy, thereby, motivating the youth to join extremist organisations such as the ISIS or the Taliban in order to attain ‘civil liberties’ and a ‘balanced’ political life (controlled by the preaching of an ‘extremist version’ of Islam).

Humanitarian Aid Is Distributed To Displaced Iraqis In Duhok
Humanitarian aid being distributed in conflict-hit Iraq. Source: Matt Cardy/Getty Images

Poverty, I believe, is not a direct cause of terrorism, neither is it any major cause of the indirect causes. For instance, Basque Country of Spain, which has endured terrorism for almost half a century as groups persistently generate violence as a way to promote Basque independence, is one of Spain’s richest regions” says Alberto Abadie, public policy professor at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. Even the blasts in Medina show that terrorism is not poverty-driven, as Saudi Arabia is home to some of the richest people among Persian Gulf countries.

I believe that terrorism in the Middle East is just a facade of spreading Islamic extremism. Rich Arabs seem to be influencing highly sentimental Muslims to ‘save their religion’ by ‘spreading their religion’, so that these benefactors can invest heavily and make large profits, at times by black marketing oil exports due to a sudden fall in its prices.  So, is it possible to link terrorism to targeted stock market crashes and capital investment? Yes, the intention of the financiers of these terrorist activities is deemed to attract more and more investors. Probably that is the reason why fast-growing nations, such as India, are the next major targets of the ISIS. Rumors stated that Myanmar’s fast-growing economy might also get it listed in the organisation’s targeted countries.

“A recent report suggests ISIS may now be looking to recruit from the historically persecuted, Rohingya Muslim minority, some of whom are still desperately fleeing Myanmar to live as refugees in neighboring countries. If this recruitment happens, this could lead to the unravelling of this newly democratic country and its much-lauded reforms since 2012,” reports Huffington Post.

However, there is a major possibility that refugees who opt to fight for ‘civil liberties’ may not choose to ‘spread’ Islamic extremism, through the influence of the Caliphate, which, I believe, is undoubtedly is overpowered by its financiers. In the wake of falling oil prices, these financiers most willingly want to reduce competition, and thus opted for the ‘terror approach’. And with businesses in the Middle-East getting affected by the phenomenal growth of other countries such as India and Myanmar, their next target list is visible. Certainly, the Venezuelan food crisis has given an opening thought to the organisation to throttle the United States’ economy.

“Although Latin American countries might be far from current events in Europe and the Middle East, the region cannot escape the consequences of Islamic terrorism. Venezuela, for instance, is an oil-rich western nation with an important geostrategic position. This brings the country under terrorists’ attention, especially as a place to attack the United States and other countries. There might be no hard evidence linking ISIS to Latin America, but there are growing suspicions that the group has penetrated the region. In recent days, Trinidad and Tobago’s government has strengthened its security measures with US assistance. This came once they realised that several Trinidadians had recently joined the terrorist group”, reports PanAm Post.

Kurdish Forces Hold Frontline Positions Against ISIS In Northern Iraq
A kurdish soldier keeps watch in Iraq. Source: John Moore/Getty Images

The economy, surely, is affected to a great extent. “Chicago is an example. While no one was injured in the city on Sept. 11, 2001, when terrorists attacked the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., those events severely affected real estate markets in Chicago. Abadie and Dermisi looked at three of the most distinctively tall buildings in Chicago, as well as other nearby commercial buildings and found the attacks caused a significant increase in their vacancy rates. The high vacancy rates persisted through mid-2006, the end of the study period,” reported Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.

What’s the impact? Global economic peace is disturbed and those who benefit from these activities, keep benefiting until found and excavated.

So, what can we do about it? Honestly, nothing. All that I can say, is not to fall prey to such extremist organisations who assure ‘freedom’. They will give you all you need – food, liberty, revenge – because they are funded well but remember that you shall always be indebted to such terrorist organisations, which is not a good deal!

Economically, such terrorism is as good as a cactus because it will survive without its water (funding), but not or long until its roots are cut. No matter how hard Syrian President Assad tries, such terrorism has to be curbed by first seizing its funds and then taking mobilised military actions. If global economic peace has to be restored, first, investment to rich Arab countries have to be cut down, which itself is daunting.

Has man spoilt global security by organising its economy into too many unnecessary factions? Surely, earning enormous money profits today are leading to much more greater casualties. What used to be a way of ‘understanding human choices’, has become a way of disrupting lives, increasing insecurities, and still maintaining the economic balance by shifting capital from one’s market reign to another’s terror reign. The choice lies with the investors now, either get hurt sentimentally or invest intelligently. Only when drastic economic reactions to such activities seize, will there be global economic peace.

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As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

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Find out more about her campaign here.

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