Climate Change and its Contribution to the Syrian War and ISIS

Media coverage of anything typically lacks a critical spine. This is particularly the case with the coverage of ISIS. Too often the reporting surrenders to a black and white, good vs evil othering of ISIS, which marks them as the opposite of us (the West) and beyond our comprehension. While an understandable cathartic response to the horrible cruelty perpetrated by them this narrative dangerously oversimplifies. It denies the complex history of the conflict, the social, material and political origins of the perpetrators and it quickly wipes clean the role of Western governments such as France who continue to play a massive role in militarising Western Asia.

Some of this coverage is knee-jerk demonisation but some is guided by an underlying linear simplicity that views ISIS actors as somewhat spontaneously radicalised by an extreme interpretation of Islam. This in turn leads them to carry out these heinous acts of terror. Essentially the logic here is A + B = C. However, the social world is far from linear. A proper analysis needs to take into account the systemic nature of the social world and recognise that multiple systems of factors are involved. In this video Prof. Christian Parenti manages to go some way towards providing such an analysis as he links ‘climate change’ to the Syrian war and terrorism. Note he is not saying that climate change alone causes the current conflict but that it is bound up in other socio-political and material developments which together have culminated in the Syrian War. You can see the video for yourself below:

 

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