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Thursday, November 15, 2018

Opinion

Cutting ISIS off at the source


The number of terrorist organizations around the world is rising at an alarming rate. While many agree these organizations are harmful, those not directly affected by these threats often adopt an apathetic attitude and continue on with their daily lives.

The world is much darker outside this country — especially for those children who face life-threatening situations on a daily basis.

Boko Haram made world news after kidnapping 200 school girls, intending to sell them into sex slavery. While people around the world expressed sadness and support for efforts to find the girls, the girls continued to suffer immensely. They have been physically and emotionally scarred for life, by no fault of their own.

This goes beyond third world countries and terrorist groups; it goes beyond feminist activists and child abuse. This extreme display of disregard for human lives sheds light on how modernization has created a system of failed development and security policies.

The United States harbors natural resources that have led to investments from oil giants hoping to draw money out of them. If half the amount of funds spent in developing an oil asset was used to operate a rescue team for these girls, they might have already been released. Sadly, these ideas are considered far-fetched and eccentric to a pragmatic profit-venturing system.

An investigation by Daily Independent showed how insurgency affected the oil exploration activity in Nigeria. Besides a leadership backed by religious sentiments, many factors govern the birth of an Islamist terror group, including poverty, staggering economy, jobless citizens and illiteracy.

However, the origin of these rebel groups stems from the same seeds. ISIS was unheard of until the invasion of Iraq in 2003, followed by the Syrian Civil war. Considering its well-funded web and social media propaganda, it has tremendous influence.

Iraq’s Finance Ministry reported that ISIS militants sold oil as low as $20 per barrel when the market price was nearly $78 per barrel.

IHS, an energy research consultancy, confirmed that ISIS roughly makes $2.5 million a day selling off oil in a price range of $25-$60 per barrel. Selling in the black market yields them sufficient profit and allows ISIS to retain its position in countries like Iraq and Syria.

It controls about 350,000 barrels of oil per day in Iraq and Syria, but is able to produce only 50,000-60,000 barrels per day. After the U.S air strikes on ISIS camps, it got them on their heels. They seemed to have withheld movements, thus impacting their means of funding.

Men have been shot, women have been raped, cities have been bombed and nations have been attacked. It does no good to spend billions of dollars developing arms, warfare and weapons of mass destruction when the nation is apathetic in saving even the most innocent of lives.

Opinion columnist Aishwarya Gogoi is a petroleum engineering graduate student and may be reached at [email protected]

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