Saturday, November 25, 2006

Iraq Insurgency Has Funds to Sustain Itself

New York Times article about a classified US government report on how the insurgency in Iraq is now self-sustaining financially, raising $70 to $200 million a year from illegal activities to support its activities. Some $36 million is estimated to be generated from kidnappings alone.

Iraq is turning into a proving ground for insurgent strategies and tactics, with the successful ones starting to be adopted in other parts of the world (Afghanistan immediately comes to mind). Security implications to humanitarian organizations arise when an insurgency starts deriving a dependable amount of money from illegal acts that impact NGOs (such as kidnappings, theft, corruption, and coercion). While financial losses to a single organization might not seem significant, the same losses experienced by a number of NGOs quickly compounds. And soon this becomes part of an insurgency's revenue generating portfolio.

In humanitarian circles, there's often a tendency to dismiss many criminal acts as simple banditry - with no motives other than personal gain. Based on the Iraq experience, it may be worthwhile to look beneath the surface at criminal activities in places with an active insurgency. How you think about your security measures may change.


Post a Comment

<< Home