The nexus between climate change and terrorism: An analysis of ISIS’ weaponization of water in Syria and Boko Haram activities in the Lake Chad Basin

The MENA and Sahel regions are suffering from climate-induced phenomena that are accelerating societal tensions and translating into insecurity. These regions are safe havens for violent extremism and non-state actors, who easily recruit young men willing to engage in behavioural radicalisation to sustain their families. Whilst in Syria, ISIS has been weaponizing water and resources to intimidate populations and coerce their enemies, in the Lake Chad Basin Boko Haram is recruiting members of local communities deprived of their harvest and fishing due to climate unpredictability and the disruption of the water cycle. Foreign actors, as well as regional authorities, should act now to revitalise the ecosystem, educate local communities, empower the youth and women, and frame strategic responses against terrorist activities.

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