Brent Scowcroft Center Senior Adviser Harlan Ullman writes for the Daily Times on how economic desolation plays into the hands of those attempting to manipulate others to support a particular cause:
Are we, meaning the billions of citizens on earth today, faced with an enduring war in and with Islam and Islamists? Or have seemingly exploding and spreading conflicts in what has been properly called the crescent of crisis, extending from the Bay of Bengal in the east to the Levant and Mediterranean in the west, become a temporal phenomenon that in due course will topple of its own weight? The answers to these questions obviously will have profound consequences on the future geostrategic landscape.
The emergence of the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan, al Qaeda, the Islamist State (IS) and other Islamist groups has put these questions into sharp perspective. The persistence of the Arab-Israeli-Palestinian conflict, along with Saudi Arabia’s support and export of Wahabiism, have made the issue of violent extremism of vital importance. The attacks of September 11 and the US’s intervention first into Afghanistan and then Iraq conspired to accelerate the forces and influence of violent Islamist extremism. While the ghastly events in Paris earlier this month provoked oceans of condemnation, the long arm of this perversion of Islam shows that this struggle is far from over.