US Intelligence Chief: Climate Change Caused the Rise of Terror Groups

© AP Photo / Lefteris PitarakisShot with an extreme telephoto lens and through haze from the outskirts of Suruc at the Turkey-Syria border, militants with the Islamic State group are seen after placing their group's flag on a hilltop at the eastern side of the town of Kobani, Syria (File)
Shot with an extreme telephoto lens and through haze from the outskirts of Suruc at the Turkey-Syria border, militants with the Islamic State group are seen after placing their group's flag on a hilltop at the eastern side of the town of Kobani, Syria (File) - Sputnik International
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Director of National Intelligence (DNI) James Clapper claimed that progressing Earth warming is a driver of global terrorism, warning that it will keep fueling instability worldwide long after the most notorious contemporary extremist group, Daesh (also known as the Islamic state/ISIL) is defeated.

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Speaking about global threats on intelligence summit in Washington, Clapper explained that decrease in the resources like food and water caused by climate change will lead to mounting socio-economical tensions worldwide with people resorting to arms to get crucial life supplies. This would put additional pressure on governments, which will have to struggle to control national borders, respond to inner and outer threats.

“I think climate change is going to be an underpinning for a lot of national security issues,” he said.

The climate change consequences will lead to “the cycle of extremism [to] continue for the foreseeable future,” Clapper said, adding that when Daesh is crushed, new terrorist groups will keep emerging.

The growth of terrorism has been linked to global warming a number of times, with public figures like Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and Prince Charles speaking in favor of concept.

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However, research on the reasons behind the Syrian civil war published in the scientific journal Middle Eastern Studies gives another perspective on the planet’s warming issue.

The paper states that the drought and desertification of Syrian territories were conditioned by the “long-term mismanagement of natural resources,” rather than by the climate change.

This is why blaming the climate change for the breakout of hostilities and subsequent rise of Daesh in Syria is “irrelevant” and an “unhelpful distraction,” the authors of the study claimed.

"An exaggerated focus on climate change shifts the burden of responsibility for the devastation of Syria’s natural resources away from the successive Syrian governments since the 1950s and allows the Assad regime to blame external factors for its own failures.”

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Meanwhile, the global weather temperatures consistently beat records. NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies observed that July 2016 was the hottest month ever, assessing that the 2016 will become the warmest year as well.

The Department of Defense treats the extreme climate conditions as “threat multiplier” facilitating terrorism. To address the issue, the Pentagon released the new Directive on Climate and Security aimed at adapting military to the changing climate environment.

The move caused outrage among Republicans, with many saying that the Pentagon should focus on military elimination of Daesh rather than on addressing climate change.

“These executive orders require the Department of Defense to squander—squander—precious defense dollars by incorporating climate change bureaucracies into its acquisition and military operations and to waste money on green energy projects,” Rep. John Fleming, R-La. Said, calling the military brass to turn to “real, credible threats.”

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