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Climate Change a 'Weapon of War' for Terrorists

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The 2006 drought in Jowzjan province of northern Afghanistan made the land unfarmable. Photo credit: UNHCR/V.Tan

Climate change is helping terrorism and organized crime thrive in fragile states, boosting recruitment for groups like Boko Haram and ISIS, according to a new report.


The report, commissioned by the German Department for Foreign Affairs, looked at four case studies in Syria, Afghanistan, the Lake Chad region and Guatemala. The report found that terrorist groups in these regions are taking advantage of the changing climate, using increasingly scarce natural resources as a "weapon of war." The authors recommend that climate adaptation, humanitarian aid and counterterrorism efforts will help prevent conflict.

"The scarcer resources become, the more power is given to those who control them, especially in regions where people are particularly reliant on natural resources for their livelihoods," Lukas Rüttinger wrote in the Adelphi think tank report.

"As climate change affects food security and the availability of water and land, affected people will become more vulnerable not only to negative climate impacts but also to recruitment by terrorist groups offering alternative livelihoods and economic incentives."

For a deeper dive:

Reuters, The Guardian, Deutsche Welle, ThinkProgress, New York Post

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