Terrorism continues to claim innocent lives, leave millions homeless, bring about refugee crises, devastate towns and cities. Government military officers, driven by personal motives, help terrorists by diverting state funds meant to fight terrorism to their personal accounts. This practice weakens state armies and exposes the public to brutality.
Industries that manufacture weapons and military hardware are beneficiaries of these conflicts. They continue to earn handsomely when the world is facing a humanitarian crisis.
According to new figures from Stockholm International Peace Research Institute – an independent research organisation specialised in conflict, armament, arms control and disarmament – the world’s military expenditure totalled $1.7 trillion in 2015, an increase of one per cent from 2014. (April 05, 2016 issue).
Due to internal, regional or global security concerns, countries are forced to allocate a great deal of their money to arms purchase, which is a natural response to the existing situation.
Corruption among military ranks saps the economy of countries embroiled in conflicts. Budget allocated for arms purchase is diverted to individual bank accounts. Delaying of purchasing orders, importing weaponry from companies with low standards and buying less than the amount and type of weaponry agreed by their respective governments are some of the tactics used by military officers to pocket the money.
In Nigeria, the army is struggling to contain Western Africa’s notorious terrorist group, Boko Haram. The government army has failed to defeat the terrorist group and exposed the Nigerian people to the atrocities of Boko Haram, not because the army is incapable of fighting but due to the pervasive corruption among the military.
Military officials make sure that the weapons are either not delivered or never purchased by the government though the terrorist group continues to abduct and massacre ordinary citizens. Thus it is the corrupt military officers rather than Boko Haram that are responsible for the loss of innocent lives. With the purchase of right weapons at right time, the military could have defeated the terrorist group before it could have inflicted heavy damage to the people.
BBC has reported that a former Nigerian national security adviser was arrested for allegedly stealing $2 billion (December 1, 2015) at the time Boko Haram was brutally killing and abducting citizens.
Political analysts say that the Iraqi military is the most corrupt entity to date. Millions, if not billions, of dollars have continued to be embezzled, which should have been used to purchase arms to defeat the Islamic State terrorists. According to transparency International, Iraqi military sector is one of the highly corrupt establishments. The payment for thousands of non-existent combatants (ghost soldiers) was used to be pocketed by military officers.
Corruption is not limited to developing countries affected by terrorism. Government defence contractors and even the Pentagon are also allegedly involved in corruption in the pretext of improving infrastructure, building military bases and reconstruction projects in war-torn countries like Iraq and Afghanistan.
Associated Press on November 4, 2015 stated that ‘The US military used $43 million for a useless natural gas station in northern Afghanistan that should have cost the government just half a million dollars!
Pervasive corruption among the military can inflict heavy damage to a country more than terrorists. By failing to provide necessary weaponry to combat terrorists, they weaken the state army and indirectly strengthen the enemy.
Fighting terrorism should go hand in hand with controlling corruption among the military. They are two faces of the same coin and both should be dealt with simultaneously, if any progress is to be made to defeat terrorists.