Terrorists, militants and criminal gangs join the fight against the coronavirus April 10, 2020 8.18

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  1. Buffaloed webmaster

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    Terrorists, militants and criminal gangs join the fight against the coronavirus


    [​IMG]

    Members of an arm of Hezbollah spray disinfectant in a Beirut neighborhood to fight the spread of the coronavirus.
    AP Photo/Bilal Hussein



    Jori Breslawski, University of Maryland



    The favelas of Rio de Janeiro are a toxic mix of tight quarters, few if any health services and little clean water for residents to wash their hands.



    In these conditions ripe for the spread of the coronavirus, the Brazilian national government has yet to impose a curfew – but the criminal gangs who rule the favelas have.



    Gang members have been driving around their communities announcing to residents: “We’re imposing a curfew because nobody is taking this seriously. Whoever is in the street screwing around or going for a walk will receive a corrective and serve as an example.”



    This curfew is part of a growing phenomenon across the globe, where criminal gangs, insurgents and terrorist groups are mounting efforts against the pandemic.



    What are they doing?



    In Lebanon, the militant group Hezbollah has mobilized 1,500 doctors, 3,000 nurses and paramedics, and 20,000 more activists to fight the coronavirus.



    It is a real war that we must confront with the mindset of a warrior,” Sayyed Hashem Safieddine, the head of Hezbollah’s executive council, told a Reuters reporter. The group operates hospitals, where it is providing free testing and treatment for COVID-19. It is also renting out hotels to be used as quarantine facilities.



    In Afghanistan, the Taliban has disseminated videos on disinfection and mobilized its fighters to hand out face masks and soap. Libyan rebel forces have imposed a curfew from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. in an attempt to curb the spread of the virus.



    Hamas, an Islamist group that rules the Gaza Strip in Israel, is building two massive quarantine facilities. A recent edition of a newsletter distributed by the Islamic State includes a number of directives to address the disease.


    [​IMG]

    Crowded streets in Rio de Janeiro’s favelas are fertile ground for the spread of disease.
    AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo





    Why do they care?



    As a scholar of armed-group behavior, the actions taken by all of these organizations are far from surprising. In many countries, criminal gangs, insurgents and terrorist groups govern areas where the central government’s power is weak or nonexistent.



    Some of these groups already provide social services, like medical care, education and an organized way to resolve disputes – analogous to a rudimentary justice system.



    A weak pandemic response from a formal government creates an opportunity for the violent group to earn legitimacy in the eyes of the public. Violent groups often take actions to gain legitimacy in order to gain support from civilians living under their rule as well as potential supporters abroad. Some groups create flags and currencies, and their response to the coronavirus could be a strategy in line with efforts like these.



    Even when a violent organization isn’t seeking formal power, it depends on the civilian population, often extracting payments and information in exchange for protection against rival forces. If the citizens suffer, groups’ support may weaken or disappear, so violent organizations seek to protect the citizens out of self-interest.



    Another potential reason for these groups’ efforts could be that many of them operate in areas where their family and friends live – so they naturally want to help keep their people safe and healthy.


    [​IMG]

    Hamas officials in the Gaza Strip are building two quarantine facilities as part of preparations to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
    AP Photo/Khalil Hamra





    How does it work?



    While areas ruled by violent groups may be out of reach of the government, they are well within the reach of the coronavirus. And the virus’s potential spread requires a response unbiased by perceptions of who has the right to rule a given population. In order to save the most lives, sectarian and political divisions must be placed aside in favor of working with any group with the capacity and willingness to put a stop to the virus.



    Humanitarian organizations like the Red Cross and Médecins Sans Frontières have a long history of working with violent groups, viewing them as necessary partners for aid to reach civilians living under their control.



    The Taliban, along with other violent organizations, has an official policy that requires aid organizations to register, but allows them to operate in Taliban territory. A Taliban spokesman recently promised that “if, God forbid, the outbreak happens in an area where we control the situation, then we can stop fighting in that area.” The group has also offered security guarantees to any aid organization seeking to assist victims of the virus or helping to stop its spread.



    Yet relationships between humanitarian organizations and violent groups can be fraught, including governments blocking humanitarian groups’ access to rebel territory, militants failing to protect aid workers, and the fact that violent organizations don’t always use aid they way they promise to.



    Despite these challenges, that so many violent groups are mobilizing to protect their people from this disease underlines the seriousness of the threat – and the urgency of collaboration between governments, humanitarian organizations and violent groups, especially in areas where normal government services don’t exist.



    [You need to understand the coronavirus pandemic, and we can help. Read The Conversation’s newsletter.][​IMG]



    Jori Breslawski, Ph.D. Candidate in Political Science, University of Maryland



    This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.
     
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  2. JoVel Registered User

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    Do any of them call themselves the Fireflies?
     
  3. Frank Drebin Registered Bootlicker

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    Best of intentions they have, I'm sure
     
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  4. tarheelhockey Nostrildamus

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    There are several examples here which are political entities with militant arms. That doesn’t mean actual militants are suddenly running the healthcare response.
     
  5. HabsAddict Registered User

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    Just imagine their "humanity" if/when there is a vaccine and need to inject everybody. Every war lord is already counting his millions.....

    What do you do then? Send unarmed first world troops to run injection facilities? Hard pass.
     
  6. LeHab Registered User

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  7. Buffaloed webmaster

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    Justin Bieber has vowed to help those in need.
     
  8. LeHab Registered User

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    Is he a terrorist, militants, criminal or all of them? :D
     
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  9. Ed Wood Registered User

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    Good on anyone who's pitching in.
     
  10. Swiss Prodigy Prince of the Alps, Nico Hischier Sponsor

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    Humanity wasnt built on people doing things for others

    Intentions aside they are helping a lot of people
     
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  11. vancityluongo Twin Benning

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    Some variation of this has been said many times during this pandemic, but wow; file this under headlines I never, ever thought I'd see on hfboards.com
     
  12. BobColesNasalCavity Registered User

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    Even terrorists provide free healthcare.
     
  13. The Crypto Guy Registered User

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    The sooner everything is back to normal for them, the sooner they can go on with their illegal businesses making money.
     
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  14. SquiddFX #Seanski

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    Not surprising in all honesty. We’ve seen this before with the Cartels in South America. The people won’t turn on you if you’re giving them what the government won’t.
     
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  15. FunkySeeFunkyDo Registered User

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    When I saw the article headline, I assumed it was about the Flyers or their fans.
     
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  16. Mrfenn92 Registered User

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    Still lowlife scumbags.
     
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    god bless Hezbollah, the Taliban, and Hamas.
     
  18. CrazyMonkey1208 Registered User

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    I hear Antifa is doing some work too.
     
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  19. clunk Registered User

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    Yeah, to call these groups 'terrorist' groups is a stretch. Maybe from western foreign policy standards.

    ISIS, of course, but releasing directives in a newsletter is not really 'joining the fight' against COVID.
     
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  20. VictorLustig Registered User

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    Let's go!
     
  21. Flukeshot Fletcher Activate! Sponsor

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    Some of these organizations want to be the actual government so it makes sense. They are political in nature.

    For true crime organizations, this is bad for business and they need things back to normal.
     
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  22. KirkAlbuquerque ZiBAEnejad

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    Its no stretch to call Hamas a terrorist organization. And the Taliban and Hezbollah both check a lot of the boxes
     
  23. clunk Registered User

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    If you're biased in favour of Israel and 'the west', sure. Groups that resist Israeli and US aggression in their regions will come off as 'terrorist' groups.

    ISIS is a terrorist group. Al Qaeda is a terrorist group. Hamas, Taliban and Hezbollah are militant groups that resist western aggression with significant support among the people in their regions. They are actually at war with terror groups and actively fight against them a good portion of the time.

    I reject your classification, and the west's classification of these groups. There is a clear agenda in it.
     
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  24. Treb Global Moderator

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    Terrorism:
    The Hamas, the Taliban and Hezbollah are linked among other things to suicide attacks that killed civilians, so they are indeed terrorist as per the definition. Whether they have the support of the population, are right or wrong has no impact on if they are terrorists or not.
     
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  25. tarheelhockey Nostrildamus

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    By that logic, can we label the US government of the 1980s and early 1990s a cartel?

    Governments constantly do or directly support things that can be described in criminal terms. The choice to use those terms often aligns with certain political conveniences.
     
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