WASHINGTON, DC — Climate change coupled with wide-spread famine is “creating more terrorism” in Africa, home to jihadist organizations like the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) and al-Qaeda, declared Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY).
During a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Tuesday partly focused on jihadi activity in Africa, Gillibrand noted:
I’m very concerned about what’s happening in Africa. … On the front page of the New York Times yesterday, a story [noted] that more than 650,000 children under the age of five are severely malnourished in northern Kenya, Somalia, and Ethiopia, and that famine throughout Africa is causing 12 million people to rely on food aid.
You combine that with the effects of global climate change specifically on the ability of the many countries within Africa to grow their own food and provide for food, it’s creating crime. It’s creating more terrorism.
Gen. Thomas Waldhauser, the head of U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), who testified before the Senate panel, conceded that “environmental challenges” are impacting jihadist organizations in his area of responsibility (AOR).
In responding to Sen. Gillibrand’s remarks, the top American commander in most of Africa testified:
These environmental challenges put pressure on these different organizations — some are VEO [violent extremist organizations], some are criminal, but it puts pressure on these organizations just for their own livelihood.
So, consequently, in areas like northern Mali, ISIS West Africa and the northern part of Niger, these are areas that are a very concern to us. And this is why we’re trying to work so closely with those countries there, so that they can maintain security, that they can keep it, at a minimum, keep these challenges inside those particular boundaries.
Former President Barack Obama deemed climate change a national security threat during his tenure, a position the current administration has refused to recognize.
Some news outlets have suggested that the famine currently gripping parts of Africa has weakened terrorist groups like the Somalia-based al-Qaeda-affiliate, al-Shabaab.