Was climate change a factor in the Syrian Civil War and the rise of ISIS/ISIL/Daesh?

Democratic presidential contender Martin O’Malley said so this week, and this article argues he was right:

If so – what does this portend for the future? Many other parts of the world, Muslim and non-Muslim, are bound to be affected by climate change – will it lead to social dislocation, social disruption and perhaps civil wars?

Other studies did also point at Global Warming a factor making droughts worse, and then it is not hard to conclude “that human influences on the climate system are implicated in the current Syrian conflict”.

At least the Pentagon is showing more sense than our Republican politicians.

You do not need to connect this to the larger idea of the climate change. It is very clear that the population increase in the Middle East with the land degradation from the over-stressed soils and the over intensive usage with too little support and the over extraction of the water from the aquifers is driving great social stress.

This obviously has an impact on the society, on the stresses. and for economies where there is too little of the growth that helps employment away from the agricultural tied production, it is leading to great stresses.

We can see this in the Yemen, and it is this analysis that makes more logic than the insertion into a sunni - shia divide which has not been the yemanite logic and mistakes the very different shia branch of the yemen for the Iranian tradition.

I would need more than <10 years of data to accept that this drought is both greater in extent and duration than previous droughts, and that climate change is largely responsible if that is the case.

Though this may well be a muted cause of regional strife, ISIL was not formed by carbon dioxide, but rather the dangerous combination of religious extremism and barbarism.

Again, it is not that specific droughts can be blamed directly to global warming, what it is known is that as the earth warms, the probability for droughts to come increases, and even if global warming is not a direct cause of the one in Syria there is plenty of evidence to point out that the increase of temperature does make droughts worse when they come.

One can look at what took place in California.


And again, we are talking about one factor here, ISIL are still troglodytes.

it is note a muted cause, it is a key cause of the strife.

social economic stress creates the conditions.

There’s no oil production in Northeast Syria, the conflict starts with rich Arabs vs. poor Arabs. Now we stress the issues with lower food production due to the drought, and poor Arabs get even angrier … I wish it was as simple as that.

Droughts have occurred throughout all of human history, and these droughts have caused many many wars. Global warming has also occurred throughout human history, and indeed it looks like droughts have been slowly getting worse in that time.

This is normal, natural and completely expected as long as concentrations of CO[sub]2[/sub] stay below 250 ppmv. Indeed there’s nothing in the science that says this drought couldn’t take place at 250 ppmv. However, as GIGO says, there’s is an increase in the probablity of these droughts worsening with our current 400 ppmv. Droughts are bad, very bad … and right now we’re increasing the chances to get a catastrophic drought.

On the other hand, maybe this drought never happens at 250 ppmv … but that doesn’t change ISIS’ murderous ways. I think global warming is a contributing factor to the conflict as the OP states, but one among many. This conflict happens whether man-kind’s CO[sub]2[/sub] or not.

Emphasis mine

I’ve lived in the West almost my whole long life, and there’s been nothing unusual in the jet stream these past five years here. Indeed, this flow pattern is common and completely expected during the summer months. It doesn’t rain in California this time of year very much. This pattern will set up in winter as well, but only briefly. What causes the drought is when this pattern persists during winter, very much exactly like things were in 1976-78.

I recently drove through a section of California that has been hit particularly hard by this drought, and it’s bad, really bad. The scars on the landscape are obvious and abundant. Now I haven’t been in that part of California since, yup, 1978. So here’s why I think the nature of this drought is unprecedented:

In 1978 all these lands were open grasslands, as far as the eye could see (which actually isn’t very far). That’s the difference, so much more acreage is under intense cultivation today compared to 50 years ago. California had been using every drop of available water to irrigate their crops during the wet years, now that things dried up, crops died.

They forgot to study their own history.

It may be overstated by the article, but it is not correct to claim that there has been nothing unusual with the Jet stream, Jennifer Frances (That has worked with Judah Cohen) explains in this short video that the warming of the earth is causing ice loss that in turn has reduced the speed of the stream by 10% since the 90’s. A weaker westerly flow causes then the stream to meander more and get stuck over a location longer than before.

Shorter video:

Longer explanation of the big changes that are happening with the stream:
As for ignoring history, even before this issue pinged my radar it was clear that the south west was not being responsible with the water. On that we agree.

You’re right. They’re not people – they’re barbarians. Real people don’t get desperate and frightened when their crops fail and their only means of survival disappears. It’s only social defects that turn to crime when they have no other way to survive.

People – all people – will look for any way to escape from desperation. These people are often poorly-equipped with critical thinking skills and fall prey to persuasive pedagogues who provide simplistic, un-nuanced answers. Tell me again how they’re different from us.

So far, our pedagogues have served to maintain the established order. Do not think this means we are immune to change. What do you think’s going to happen here when the status quo fails enough of us?

Keeping women as sex slaves does not help you survive. Murdering children for having hobbies other than your fucking cult does not help you survive. Destroying statues that offend your sensibilities does not help you survive.

ISIL are not victims. They do not seek to create a violently bigoted, expansionist empire because of climate change, they seek it because they are assholes.

“Americans are not victims. They do not launch indiscriminate bombing campaigns against us because they are misled by war profiteers and corrupt politicians. They destroy our houses and kill our families because they are assholes.” - ISIL’s next recruit.

Look, the point is, whether or not some group is objectively evil is meaningless. Hitler was objectively evil, but he never would have got into power if Germany’s unemployment rate was less than 30%. When ignorant people get desperate, they can do terrible things.

I don’t know what to do about ISIL. I do know we seem to keep finding, like clockwork, new super-evils to destroy. And I know that desperate youth will join dangerous political movements when they have nothing left to lose.

Yes, they can say the same things we do. Big deal. Do you believe Grumman’s statement has equal validity to your hypothetical next ISIL recruit’s? Personally, I think Grumman to be accurate while your hypothetical ISIL recruit is from Turkey, or Chechnya, or Libya if a foreign fighter and I am pretty sure we haven’t bombed any of those people.

The vast majority of ISIL’s recruits are Syrian or Iraqi though. How desperate are they that their military objectives require slavery, ethnic cleansing, suicide bombings, beheadings, and destruction of history? It seems like the extra features of ISIL’s war of desperation might be due to the fact they’re assholes. You don’t see the PYG doing the same thing in Syria do you?

These people have simply adopted a hideous ideology, it doesn’t matter how they got there, and we’re just left with the option of bombing the shit out of them because we already know how letting violent, expansionist assholes have their way turns out.

How would Hitler’s ideology have gained a foothold if the people he led did not already hold similar beliefs? ISIL is attractive to the Muslim assholes of the world. These are not desperate people being pushed to incomprehensible levels of violence.

Really? They know what to do about you. The government of Turkey was trying to avoid the question of ISIL. See what it got them? To ruin the ending: They just started bombing them in Syria on Friday.

They are not desperate. They just want to carve out a little empire for themselves on the backs of the people that live there. We aren’t the only ones “finding” new evils either. Just ask every government on the planet Earth about ISIL’s evil.

Unfortunately for people that cannot handle a war lasting more than 1 or 2 years, we are going to be fighting Muslim terrorists for a long time to come. Get used to it.

To address the point of this thread, although I believe climate change may be exaggerating regional weather patterns, most of the reason why we see ISIL is due to weak and corrupt governments (including the unaddressed corruption that has to be the explanation for our invasion of Iraq), readily available small arms, and violent ideologies in the hands of barbarians.

Your post is simplistic and unnuanced. Your little “It’s the only way to survive” rationalization for the slaughter and enslavement of thousands doesn’t explain why there are thousands of foreign fighters in Syria, who come from places where the crops are just fine.

How quickly people forget that ISIL is a former branch of al Qaeda, a group that formed decades before this drought.

What an odd tirade after what was meant to be a rather middling response to the OP.

Barbarians are people…who do barbaric things like decapitate innocent villagers, burn people alive on camera, and stick heads on pikes. It isn’t the comfort of condescension to simply state that the members of ISIL are glad and willing to do barbaric, inhumane things in the name of their Islamist ideology. That’s the truth.

For what it’s worth, I think ISIL only exists because of the senseless, fraudulent invasion of Iraq. I don’t want us using unmanned, cold-steeled drones to bomb people and inevitably kill innocent civilian bystanders. But in the grand calculation, doing what we have to do in order to stop the ISIL death cult from spreading is worth the cost. There is a middle ground between high-minded pacifism and mass invasion.

:dubious: “Combination”? So far as that goes, wouldn’t religious extremism be enough all by itself?

I think you mean “demagogues.” Teachers are pedagogues.

From the article linked in the OP:

Not sure how the quoted text has anything to do with anything I wrote.

Your post – and several others in this thread so far – appeared to reflect the “Muslims are intrinsically given to violent fundamentalism” meme.

I don’t believe that meme to be present here and it isn’t at all present in my posts. The ideology is composed of an interpretation of Islam that supports barbarism. The people attracted to it are convinced this ideology is correct. Recognizing the beliefs that help support their barbarism is not a display of a meme.