By Dr. IMAD ALLOW AL-RUBAY
Director of the Alaietimad Center for Security and Strategic Studies, Iraq
Many countries in the Middle East, especially “some Arab countries” are witnessing an exacerbation of the phenomenon of the emergence of armed political militias, especially “after the so-called “Arab Spring” and some attribute the cause of the phenomenon to political failure, plus a distrust in the state agencies, especially the security services, which were in the eyes of the revolutionaries, one of the tools of repression under totalitarian regimes.
These armed militias depend on armed violence to market their ideas, and some of them have taken religion as a cover to market their sectarian, or Salafi jihadist and ethnic ideas. With the passage of time and the exacerbation of conflicts and wars in the Middle East, the culture of armed organizations and resort to arms took root, especially with the great material advantages that began to be obtained. It has become difficult for those armed militias to give up their weapons in the absence of convincing alternatives.
Armed political militias have constituted a prominent and influential phenomenon in the course of the Creative Chaos in the Middle East, which led to use of extreme violence and subjected population groups to something like genocide or forced migration, in addition to the continuous destruction of property. All this led to the rupture of social ties in the countries and political entities in which these armed political militias appeared.!
The question we are trying to discuss is about the economy of armed political militias in the Middle East and the political role that allowed them to bypass legitimate national governments and local and international law.
The reason for the confidentiality and scarcity of official data and statistics on the sources of funding and economic resources for armed political militias in the Middle East is due to the nature of the armed conflicts that these militias are waging in the geography in which they are active.
Armed political militias use the financial and economic resources they obtain in order to arm and build military capabilities, to defeat their opponents, in an environment in which the official institutions of the state, especially the security and military, have declined.
Sources of Armed Militias financing
The resources and sources of funding for armed political militias in the Middle East can be categorized into financial and other material resources in which the local and international dimensions overlap, and they are profiting from collecting royalties to secure protection and security for contractors, commercial companies, farmers and others, as well as profiting from the drug smuggling and antiquities trade, and the exploitation and sale of natural resources. Such as oil and its derivatives, in addition to profiting from kidnappings with the aim of extortion, many of which carry out illegal arrests and imprisonments, at a time when networks of intermediaries, international companies and political legitimacy are very important elements in this context.
There is no doubt that the economic resources and sources of financial funding for armed political militias in any region of the world facilitate the continuation of armed conflicts at the local internal level! In the sense that continuing to engage in armed conflicts will be a very important factor in the accumulation of assets, and economic resources of the armed parties involved in the conflict, especially if we know that armed conflict for economic resources constitutes a low-cost way to fight between armed political organizations or opposing forces in the society.
Therefore, the continuation of the armed conflict and the state of security tension in society constitutes a higher interest for armed political militias instead of “making peace and security stability… Therefore, what the Middle East is witnessing in reality is nothing but armed conflicts for the sake of economic goals that seek to increase the resources of the parties to the conflict, and the allegations of Or justifications for sectarian, doctrinal and ethnic divisions are nothing but camouflage for the economic agendas of warlords and local conflicts, where opportunism, organized crime, monopoly markets and violence in all its forms are invested in order to increase the financial resources of armed political organizations and forces. It is worth noting that the resources of armed political organizations and forces are not limited to internal or local economic sources and activities, but rather are often linked to regional and international conflicts and tensions.
The scenes of violence, militarism and local armament are nothing but ramifications and extensions of the regional and international strategic and political motives aspiring to domination and control within the framework of the trends of globalization of money, markets, trade and control of energy sources and natural resources.
Therefore, it is difficult to call or describe what is happening today in most regions of the Middle East as (local conflicts) or (civil wars). In fact, they are in fact cross-border regional conflicts, and the proof of that is The civilian population’s participation in these armed conflicts is very low, as armed conflicts are limited to ideologues or belonging to armed political factions and forces. Mostly, the civilian population is the victims and even targeted by the conflicting armed parties for economic resources by claiming to seek to change political regimes and seek to reach Authority by seeking to weaken the official state institutions and trying to market descriptions (failed state, weak state, corrupt state).
Armed political militias are trying to create a gap between the official statutory authority and the civilian population to force them to submit to their agendas. Therefore, armed political militias in the Middle East seek to prolong conflict and instability in order to increase resources and continue the profits they derive as a result of the destabilizing political situation in their countries.
According to a report by the American “Global Risk Insight” website, which specializes in discussing and analyzing global political and economic risks, the high unemployment rates and the increasing militarization of the economy in some Middle Eastern countries made the formation, joining and sustainability of armed groups one of the few tools through which to reap profits. This may lead these countries into a permanent state of violence, so that Armed political militias can maintain their existence and preserve their profits.
The political influence of the war princes and leaders of the Armed political militias, made the assumption of political positions in the state a means of personal enrichment and a door to “maximizing the resources and profits of Armed political militias, and at the same time it made it difficult to distinguish between the state’s weapon and the weapons outside its control…
Armed political militias in the Middle East will remain a major player in the political and security interactions of the Middle East and a major determinant of its future, at least in the foreseeable and medium future, due to the political, ethnic, sectarian and religious conflicts in the Middle East, and armed militias will play an influential role in shaping and setting the internal and foreign policy of the state, towards other actors.