The intended message of economic terrorism may be ideological in nature, targeting the leadership and cause, but the victims are everyday people. The loss of land, home, property, and environment raises the costs of security and prosperity, stifling the ability of our society to recover and thrive.

Recent fires in Syria — especially in northeast Syria where vast amounts of agricultural land have been destroyed — are just one example of the economic terrorism in the country. Syrians have also seen destroyed railroads, factories, roads, and more. Businesses and health clinics have been targeted. Shops and markets have been targeted. The economic lives of Syrians will take years to recover. In the meantime, the suffering continues.

The goal of economic terrorism is to prevent the expansion of social projects and movements by forcing people to spin their wheels on societal progress, never moving forward. However, those who commit economic terrorism admit their own weakness, showing that they lack the strength and vision to do anything but obstruct the works of those who seek a better tomorrow.

Economic terrorism targets the infrastructure on which all of society relies on. It comes in many forms and evolves to fit the situation as needed. It tears apart people, families, and societies. Basic supplies and necessities such as food and water become targets for cowardly and clandestine attacks by those who lack the strength to confront their enemies face to face.

The effects of economic terrorism are twofold. It not only causes economic pain, but also psychological devastation. The fear and anxiety of losing home, dignity, and livelihood is a powerful force on individuals. Those who have lost everything and struggle to access food, water, and other basic needs have a much more difficult time imagining a better world. It is precisely this destitution and paralysis which economic terrorists seek to cause. Communities who lack the means to support themselves also lack the means to fight terrorism and its proponents.

Economic destruction comes at a high cost, a bill footed by the people and the nation at the expense of all other productive endeavors. The cost of fighting terrorism includes rebuilding the industries and resources which were left destroyed. The precious resources which are siphoned to the projects of rebuilding devastated farmland and ruined communities are resources taken from education, healthcare, infrastructure, and industry. All suffer in the long run, but the most vulnerable receive the worst deal, as they are the most dependent on social services.