Opinion: Report Concludes that Trump’s Climate Denial Aids Terrorist Recruitment Efforts

Opinion: Report Concludes that Trump’s Climate Denial Aids Terrorist Recruitment Efforts

A little over a year ago some high-level person in ISIS penned a treatise explaining precisely what Western nations (America) should do to aid in the terror group’s recruitment efforts. As sure as the Sun rises in the East, Donald Trump took the terror organization’s pleas for help to heart and has religiously followed every instruction to the letter. Now it turns out that Trump’s rejection of science, particularly climate science, is yet another means of “strengthening recruitment efforts” of groups like ISIS and Boko Haram.

It is no massive revelation to anyone with a brain, but a new report commissioned by the German government said radical terror groups are profiting from the effects climate change Trump says is a hoax. The report reiterates what the Pentagon and Department of Defense began saying 10 years ago;

Climate change-fueled natural disasters and resource shortages will strengthen recruiting efforts of terror groups like ISIS and Boko Haram. As the climate is changing, so too are the conditions within which non-state armed groups such as Boko Haram and ISIS operate. Climate change contributes to creating a fragile environment in which these groups can thrive.”

That was the conclusion of the smart people at the German think tank, Adelphi, a conclusion laid out nicely in its executive summary (full report here: pdf).

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The Adelphi report revealed that “large-scale environmental and climatic change contributes to creating an environment in which non-state armed groups can thrive and opens spaces that facilitate the pursuit of their strategies.”

For example, ISIS closed a dam to make it easier to attack their enemies or blew up dams to force residents to flee their homes leaving flooded areas “more susceptible” to territorial control. What is more troubling is that as climate-fueled food and water resource scarcity increases, terror groups will gain power by controlling what few resources remain.

As the report noted, in agreement with the Pentagon and Defense Department analysis, “diminishing natural resources are creating a desperate environment that terror groups depend on for recruiting new members.

For example, Lake Chad in Africa “provides economic livelihood” for about 80 percent of the region’s population, but as the lake shrinks due to climate change, the population becomes more susceptible to recruitment efforts by Boko Haram.

The report noted that:

Livelihood insecurity and lacking economic opportunities seem to provide a fertile ground for NSAGs [non-state armed groups]. While a direct causal link between unemployment and participation in violence is disputed among scholars, there is research showing that precarious situations with little socio-economic prospect, including situations of unsteady or underpaid employment, can drive people to join armed groups (

One conclusion that mirrors the Defense Department’s claims is that the effects of climate change exacerbate conflicts over diminishing natural resources and food security. As the report concluded, that “environment of fragility” promises to deliver immediate results when a government appears slow to react and respond to natural disasters. A terror group simply has to capitalize on “perceived state weaknesses or corruption,” and then promise to fill the void, real or perceived, by a government.

As mentioned above, this German report is not any kind of breaking news, except to the science denier’s administration; the connection between a warming climate and “the creation of environments that fuel terrorism is well documented. In fact, in 2012 “scholars” from the Center for Climate and Security argued that the human-caused climate change is responsible for the drought in Syria and contributed to the unrest that sparked the civil war.”

For several years, the Defense Department “formallyclassified climate change as a “threat multiplier” that the generals at the Pentagon said “posed an immediate threat to America’s national security.”

The United States military noted that climate change “will only exacerbate conflicts by creating resource scarcity.” Trump claims he listens to the military and trusts its judgment on keeping America safe from terror groups, but he refuses to accept, and summarily dismisses, the overwhelming scientific consensus on all things related to anthropogenic climate change.

The man Trump appointed to lead the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Mike Pompeo, refused to answer questions or talk about the link between climate change and national security during his Senate confirmation hearing. He said that despite warnings from the DoD and Pentagon, his role as head of the national security agency will “be so different and unique from that.”

The man in charge of the military, Secretary of Defense James Mattis disagreed with Trump on the threat, or reality, of climate change. In a letter to the Senate Armed Services Committee after his confirmation hearing, Mr. Mattis said that “climate change is impacting stability in areas of the world where our troops are operating today.” Mattis also told the “committee” that it is crucial for military operations to take climate change into account in their planning; exactly what a real president, Barack Obama directed. But Trump isn’t buying any of it and took immediate action to aid the terrorists in ISIS and Boko Haram.

Instead of listening to his choice to head up the Defense Department, Trump issued an executive order rolling back President Obama’s climate policies. Trump also quickly overturned President Obama’s executive order directing federal agencies to “take climate change into account when crafting national security plans and military operations;” exactly what the current Secretary of Defense told the Republican-controlled Senate Armed Services Committee.

One can only imagine that the extremists in charge of ISIS are wildly celebrating all things Trump. Thus far he has acquiesced to all their requests to aid their recruitment efforts worldwide, and none will have longer-lasting effects than rejecting any and all attempts to combat climate change.

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