A South-Asian Islamic country well known as a recruiting ground for terrorist groups such as Al-Qaeda Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is getting $15 million from the Biden administration to combat climate change. The money will flow through a program called Enabling Environment for Climate Resilience Activity (EECRA) launched by the United States government specifically to create long term systemic shifts in Bangladesh’s climate resilience. The generous allocation is necessary, according to the government, because fully addressing the climate crisis requires long term, transformative changes that affect every aspect of society. And achieving it apparently requires millions of American taxpayer dollars.
Before delving into the new overseas U.S.-funded climate initiative, it is important to provide relevant background about Bangladesh, a hotbed of terrorism. The Muslim nation is a notorious terrorist recruiting ground that hates the U.S. Its history with violent extremism goes back to the 1990s when veterans of the anti-Soviet fight in Afghanistan returned to the country, according to the State Department’s Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC). In its 2019 report, OSAC writes that ISIS formally announced its foothold in Bangladesh back in 2015 and that anti-Western terrorist groups, some on the U.S. Government’s list of foreign terrorist organizations, are active in Bangladesh, including Harakat ul-Jihad-i-Islami/Bangladesh (HUJI-B), Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh, AI, and ABT. “Terrorist groups continue to communicate their desire to target Westerners in Bangladesh,” according to the OSAC report. “ISIS threatened to continue discovering security gaps and holes to target expats, tourists, diplomats, garment buyers, missionaries, [and] sports teams in Bangladesh.” The State Department has also determined that Bangladesh faces potential threats from returning foreign fighters, citing the return of at least 50 Bangladeshi citizens who traveled to Iraq and Syria to fight for ISIS.
Bangladesh is also notorious for violating human rights, which the U.S. often cites as a deal breaker involving aid to foreign governments. A few years ago, the Treasury Department sanctioned a Bangladesh paramilitary force for committing serious human rights abuses. Known as the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) the group is part of the Bangladeshi government’s war on drugs and threatens U.S. national security interests by undermining the rule of law and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms as well as the economic prosperity of the people of Bangladesh, according to the U.S. “RAB is a joint task force founded in 2004 and composed of members of the police, army, navy, air force, and border guards,” the Treasury sanction explains, adding that the unit and other Bangladeshi law enforcement are responsible for more than 600 disappearances since 2009, nearly 600 extrajudicial killings since 2018, and torture. “Some reports suggest these incidents target opposition party members, journalists, and human rights activists,” the Treasury document states.
Another alarming tidbit is the surge in Bangladeshi migrants trying to enter the U.S. via Mexico, presumably to conduct attacks. A congressional probe made public a few years ago reveals that migrants from terrorist nations are trying to enter the United States through the southern border at record rates, including an astounding 300% increase in Bangladeshi nationals attempting to sneak into the country through Texas alone. Shortly after the congressional report was released, federal authorities arrested a Mexican-based Bangladeshi smuggler in Houston and charged him with bringing in 15 fellow countrymen through the Texas-Mexico border. His name is Milon Miah and he lives in Tapachula, in the southeast Mexican state of Chiapas bordering Guatemala.
Does this sound like a country that deserves millions of our taxpayer dollars to fight climate change? In the recently issued grant announcement the Biden administration claims there is a “growing climate crisis” in the South-Asian nation and the allocation will support strengthening a policy environment and governance structure favorable for transformational changes in key systems aiming at net-zero emissions and a climate-resilient Bangladesh. The U.S. assures that the climate action it is funding in Bangladesh will distribute resources equally among marginalized social groups and include underrepresented communities that typically are most impacted by climate change. “Climate change planning in Bangladesh is top-down and not inclusive,” according to the grant announcement. “This activity will facilitate prioritizing and elevating the voices of historically excluded communities, including marginalized and underrepresented groups disproportionately affected by climate change.”