Bankrupt ISIS–that’s the way to beat it. Not mass airstrikes, not sanctions–and this intelligent article by an economist who actually lives in the Mideast doesn’t even mention the idea of large-scale Western troop commitments, because that’s so far off the subject of effective means. Her solution is a long-term one of ending the Syrian civil war and providing jobs for the region’s poor to counter the appeal of radicalism.
I started reading “Rebel Economy” while I was in Egypt, and I found it a good source of deep, original thinking. Economist Farah Halime used to crank out a column once a week or so–now her output is more sporadic, but it’s always work examining and thinking about.
And this is a good place for me to pound my usual drum–the most important story in Egypt, and in most of the Middle East, is the economy. Not the Muslim Brotherhood, not the military dictatorship, certainly not Israel. And the second most important story is the oppression of women. I wish I could say I don’t understand why journalists don’t write more about these issues, but it’s no great mystery–journalists find economics boring, and they have more important things to do than write about women–like quoting the latest government communique or following up on the latest scandal. So they’re missing the boat–and leaving it for me to write books about.