Brief #14 - okładka

IS-created network of buyers and the power of al-Qaeda

The new report from the investigative organization Conflict Armament Research tells how IS used the international network of buyers to gather materials for building weapons. The most important in the supply chain was the borderland of Turkey and Syria, where the members of IS under fake identities approached companies to order components necessary for building explosives and other arms. Experts claim that currently IS lost both the network and sources of financing. The terrorist group also worked on developing drones powered by pulse jet engines – similar to those used in aircraft or the German V-1 missile during WWII.

The losses in al-Qaeda leadership won’t necessarily mean that the organization will be significantly weaker, claims Colin P. Clarke, a Senior Research Fellow at The Soufan Center. As he writes for Newsweek: “But al-Qaeda has always been capable of adapting and evolving, but by shifting its organizational structure to afford its affiliates in the Sahel, the Arabian Peninsula and elsewhere with the operational autonomy to develop attack plans and map out strategic objectives, the group has sidestepped the dilemma of leadership decapitation.” Al-Qaeda remains with over 40 000 jihadists underarms. Its affiliates like al-Shabaab in Somalia, Jama’at Nasr al-Islam wal Muslimin (JNIM) in West Africa, Hurras al-Din in Syria, al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent in South Asia, and al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) in Yemen remain active in their regions.

Brazil holdin climate “hostage” and the implementation of the Paris Agreement

Not a single country met its Paris Agreement goals five years after it was adopted, according to 100 experts who assessed 58 countries for the Climate Change Performance Index. The three top places were left blank, and the highest-ranked countries are Sweden, the U.K., and Denmark with the whole EU classified as “high” in terms of their contribution to meet the goals. The last one on the list is the United States, preceded by Saudi Arabia and Iran. Germany, formerly ranked even in the top, is now at the 19th position and China 33rd. If the current policies remain unchanged by 2100, the global temperature will rise between 2,1 and 3,9 degrees Celsius.

The new Brazilian climate target means that the authorities are using climate as a “hostage” to get money from more affluent countries. The government in Brazil decided that the country’s climate goals will remain almost unchanged since 2015 and even for that to be possible if the country receives indefinite funding of 10 billion dollars yearly from the richer countries. That condition is especially challenging to meet since the country lacks transparency and a credible plan suggesting that once it receives the money, it will be able to spend it properly. The administration of president Jair Bolsonaro is known for fighting the environmental regulations and allowing deforestation in the country to surge.

The Global Assembly project aims to create a citizen’s version of the official COP 26 conference in Glasgow. People from all over the world will discuss the policies proposed in response to the climate crisis at the UN meeting. Although it will hold no real power, organizers hope it will influence the politicians with its moral authority.

Speculating with water and the Taliban revenues

Water is now available as a trade commodity on Wall Street, just like gold or oil. The new contracts will allow traders to “bet” on whether water prices will rise or fall. Representatives of the entities responsible for introducing the new financial instrument claim that it will help farmers manage price risk and prepare for the water scarcity, but the UN warns that it is opening a road to a speculative bubble.

The water contracts will be settled financially – that means that they will not require any water to be physically delivered. According to Pedro Arrojo-Agudo, the UN’s special rapporteur on the human rights to safe drinking water and sanitation: “The news that water is to be traded on the Wall Street futures market shows that the value of water, as a basic human right, is now under threat”.

Sub-Saharan Africa is the riskiest region for investments, according to the annual Terrorism Intensity Index by Verisk Maplecroft, a global risk and strategic consulting company. Seven out of 10 countries south of Sahara were called riskiest in terms of militant violence. Among the threats are also: dangerous transport routes and risks to companies and their staff.

In the fiscal year ended in March 2020, the Taliban revenues totaled about 1,6 billion USD, compared to roughly 5,5 billion USD revenues of the Afghan government. According to Hanif Sufizada, who studies Taliban finances at the University of Nebraska, the group earns mostly on drugs, mining, extortion, and taxes imposed on the population of the controlled territories, exports, and even real estates.