The ongoing conflict in Syria — currently in its sixth year — is responsible for the death of approximately 300,000 individuals, 12,000 of whom were children. Millions of others have been displaced from their homes. The conflict has caused one of the largest refugee movements in recent history, with more than 4.8 million refugees registered by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.Read More
For people living in fragile states like Afghanistan, joining groups like the Taliban might well be one of their only options to provide for loved ones. Libyan intelligence chiefs, for example, say that the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is building an "army of the poor" by offering upward of $1,000 in cash to those who join the radical group. For people living in countries where annual salaries equal a couple of hundred dollars, such economic incentives easily trump ideological barriers. While government employees in Afghanistan earn less than $2 a day, the Taliban pays equivalent of $10 to $20for a day of action.Read More
By clandestinely rebranding aid from outside sources with its own labels, ISIS fools surrounding populations into believing the insurgent state is a benevolent entity that protects and cares for its people.
This poses a huge moral dilemma for those of us who work at humanitarian organizations: If we know the aid will likely be diverted, should we not try to help suffering people? If we stop the aid, many belligerents will use it as propaganda to blame the West for the area’s suffering and hunger. But if we provide aid, aren’t we abetting terrorist organizations?Read More