Monday, September 29, 2014

ISIL Recruiting Incentives For Poor Youth

First Published in DelawareLiberal on Sept. 29, 2014 by ProgressivePopulist


IS (variously ISIS, ISIL) has recruiting centers set up, employing sophisticated social media to lure desperate young people from middle eastern countries with youth unemployment rates as high as 29%.

This rate is reported by the International Monetary Fund.  Ironically, IMF's own lending policies encourage cut backs in social safety nets to aid those young people.

Analysts I am reading suggest that in addition to recruiting psychopaths and what the New Republic calls True Believers in Jihad, a significant group if not majority of IS foreign fighters in Iraq and Syria are unemployed youth in the most significant numbers from Jordan, Tunisia, Morocco, Turkey and Egypt.  The Soufan Group's work indicates these countries are the biggest sources of foreign fighters in Syria and Iraq.  add to that list Saudi Arabia as  a large fighter source.

Ironically, these same countries, excluding Saudi Arabia, are recipients of IMF loans requiring squeezing social welfare budgets to pay  interest and repay loans.  These young recruits are paid $1,000 per month by an estimate from Jordanian government sources; one study reported pay as high as $150 per day.  This is huge money for people in this region.

Another irony; many of these same IMF borrowers with depressed economies offering little opportunity to their young are now members of the Coalition of the Killing joining us in the fight to wipe out IS.  Yes, to wipe out their youth who departed their borders for better "opportunities".  Add to those being wiped out, about 2,500 disillusioned westerner youth  to be wiped out by our western members of the Killing Koalition.

These kids, becoming themselves hardened killers on the battlefield are led by seasoned warriors and Sheikhs from Sunni tribes and former Baathists cut loose by Bush and Bremer.  Some were later hardened in Abu Ghraib by General Sanchez and then released to seek retribution against us.

So once again, just like Al Qaeda in Afghanistan, our misjudgements come back to haunt us.  And the world is looking to us for solutions according to President Obama? We are the "Indispensable Nation"?  They actually want to be led by us again with this track record?  I kind of doubt that, with all due respect Mr. President.

But one fact is obvious.  Figuring into the mix of solutions for the degrading and possible containment of IS for those most affected, the middle eastern countries most threatened  is much work to be done on their economies to provide a future for their young people.

We certainly have a full plate of our own to restore opportunity for our young Americans.  Maybe we should work on that and if successes are experienced, shared with our middle eastern allies.  Then maybe we wouldn't have to send our youngsters off to kill and be killed and our allies wouldn't have to join us in killing their young.

It seems to me that in the mix of possible fixes for this is a reexamination of our role with many of these countries in enabling their governing and economic crises, juxtaposed with the immense wealth created within the companies engaged with the despots ruling these lands.  A lot of it carbon extraction related.  Maybe some of that wealth could be employed to fix what we broke in these far off lands.