Central Government Instability and Terror Organizations
Greg Botelho of CNN wrote an interesting article entitled “Terror Groups Take Advantage of Power Vacuums, Insecurity to Thrive at Home,” in which he discusses the rise of various terror organizations in countries that have significant instability at the national government level. In his article, he looks that the rise of different terror organizations in Libya, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, Nigeria, etc… In each of these cases, the centralized government is very weak, with little influence throughout much of the state.
For example, in Libya and the Libyan Civil War, he talks about the recent events in which ISIS took control of Derna in Northern Libya. They did so with 800 fighters. In addition, ISIS is not the only radical group in the country; Answar Al-Shariah, the group behind the 2012 US Embassy attack also controls parts of the country.
In Syria, Bashar Al-Assad has been fighting groups looking to remove him from power, and in this context, ISIS forces have been able to work off on the instability of the state. As he explains, “Capitalizing on the nation’s instability during the years-long civil war, ISIS emerged as one of the most powerful threats to President Bashar al-Assad’s government. Al-Assad is fighting back, though his government’s ability to topple ISIS — which has made the northern Syrian city of Raqqa its de facto capital — is questionable, given its many other armed foes, the impact of international isolation on its economy and capability and the drain from years of war” (Botelho, 2015). Seeing the history and developments of the war in Syria, they become more active fighting in the country.
He also discussed domestic instability in Yemen with the recent moves by rebel forces, as well the the lack of a strong national government in Iraq and Nigeria.
I urge you to take the time to read this work, as it illustrates how weak domestic structures can not only lead to a civil war, but also the rise of other power groups. In international relations, when the state has weak political power, others may try to remove them from office. And in the case of some groups, as Botelho (2015) discusses, they are looking for opportunities in places where there may be less resistance, or less security to challenge these organizations.