Terrorist organizations in the Middle East, Africa, and Central Asia have disrupted the social fabric and, in some cities, damaged critical parts of the infrastructure. While government officials and military forces are focusing on strategies to regain control of territory, an underground economy has emerged and it is helping finance and empower terrorists.
Local businesses and elites, worried about plunging profits during war, have partnered with terrorist groups to secure the safe passage and sale of products. ISIS in particular has benefited from this relationship, but other terrorist groups are finding financial support by selling antiquities and Ottoman artifacts at soaring prices. How profitable and extensive is this black market? As we see terrorist groups defeated and removed from their areas of operation, what is the possibility groups like ISIS will remain powerful as a result of financial gains?
In her new book, "Jihad & Co.: Black Markets and Islamic Power," Aisha Ahmad, assistant professor of political science at the University of Toronto and Director of Islam and Global Affairs at the Munk School of Global Affairs, will provide insight into the jihadist black market economy.
Aisha AhmadAssistant Professor, Political Science, University of Toronto