Thursday, 28 September 2017

Hindering the Empowerment of the Diaspora of Islamist Militantism

Er..  huh?
A significant text to offset gung-ho jubilation (Colin P. Clarke, 'How ISIS Is Transforming: Why Predictions of Its Demise Are Premature' Foreign Affairs September 25, 2017):
A little more than three years after the Islamic State (or ISIS) stormed onto the world stage by violently capturing large swaths of territory throughout Iraq and Syria, the campaign to counter the group has made significant progress. But predictions of the group’s ultimate demise are premature. What the world is witnessing is the transition, and in many ways degeneration, from an insurgent organization with a fixed headquarters to a clandestine terrorist network dispersed throughout the region and the globe. Iraqi security forces have ejected ISIS fighters from key cities they once controlled, including Fallujah, Ramadi, Tal Afar, and most recently Mosul, which served as an important base of operations for the insurgents over the past three-and-a-half years. Across the border in Syria, the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces claim to have retaken nearly 80 percent of Raqqa, ISIS’ overall headquarters and the heart of its so-called caliphate. In recent weeks, Russian military and forces loyal to the regime of President Bashar al-Assad have been fighting to seize Deir Ezzor, a longtime ISIS stronghold in Syria. Its strategic location close to the Iraqi border has been used as a logistical hub to smuggle reinforcements to the insurgents.
Of course any portable assets they have that can be used to finance the continuation of the fight, such as antiquities in storage and not yet surfaced on the market are one potential source of future revenue, which is why we need legislation and better policing of the antiquities market (among other things) to make sure any such assets cannot be realised. This is something the primitive populist tubthumping lowbrow lobbyists for the antiquities trade just cannot get their heads around (Peter Tompa, Eurocrats Find Little Evidence Terrorist Artifacts Entering Market, But that Does Not Stop Calls for Draconian Legislation). Peter Tompa and his ilk want us to ignore the problem of the potential use of stockpiled loot to finance terrorist action in the west, and thus through his concern for maintaining the 'freedoms\ of the  the no-questions-asked antiquities trade, in effect supports empowering the bad guys.  But then the no-questions-asked trade is the bad guys anyway.

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