The barbaric reign of murder, violent religious persecution and other brutality waged by Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorists has caused tens of thousands of refugees to flee for their lives and gutted economic activity in the region.
When the consumers, businesses and entrepreneurs that are needed to sustain economic growth no longer are able to do so, jobs are lost, the availability of goods and services shrinks and investment in capital equipment becomes too perilous to pursue. The beheading of Western aid workers and journalists amid warnings of further attacks aimed at industrialized nations and their people became so ominous that President Barack Obama recently decided to begin bombing raids against ISIS positions with a coalition of other countries to combat the growing threat.
“On top of the unspeakable horrors that ISIS has inflicted on the people of Iraq and Syria, the group has also devastated the livelihoods of entire communities, seizing many lucrative industries and bringing others to a halt,” said Letta Tayler, a senior researcher of terrorism and counter terrorism with Human Rights Watch. “Many families have watched ISIS kill their men and carry off their women and children, only to then be forced to flee their homes and their jobs with little but the shirts on their backs. This adds serious economic insult to horrific emotional injury.”
Human Rights Watch also is among the groups monitoring conditions in the Middle East that have found that ISIS’s financial tentacles have spread far beyond kidnapping and seizures of homes. For example, even before taking Mosul, Iraq, in June, the group routinely taxed local industries in that city, both private and public, to the tune of millions of dollars a year.
Numerous credible reports have emerged of ISIS taxing truckers and other drivers, as well as seizing wheat crops, cattle, Arabian horses, tractors and other farm equipment, Taylor said. In addition, ISIS has held an intermittent grip on the regions oil refineries and dams, she added.
Paul Dykewicz is the editorial director of Eagle Financial Publications, a columnist for Townhall and Townhall Finance, and the author of a new book, “Holy Smokes! Golden Guidance from Notre Dame’s Championship Chaplain.”