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Terrorists Recruit Petro Engineers And Oil Experts

Unspecified terrorist groups have been caught attempting to recruit university-level students from the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS)—including up and coming petroleum engineers and energy analysts, according to the head of the bloc’s anti-terror organization.

The nine-member bloc consisting mostly of Central Asian nations must develop an anti-radicalization plan to prevent students from joining international terrorist organizations, Andrei Novikov, who heads the CIS Anti-Terrorist Center, said on Wednesday.

"The attempts to recruit [students] to the international terrorist organizations continue at the universities of the Commonwealth [of Independent States],” he said. “The professional recruiters are targeting not only potential lower level agents, but also highly qualified medicine, transport, oil industry and linguistics specialists as well as, importantly, those who could map out media strategies for the global terrorism projects.”

The Kurdish news site Rudaw has previously reported classified ads posted by ISIS in the underground job market offering oil operations experts a salary of $225,000 a year, with perks such as a car and weapons thrown in for good measure. The ads, released in 2014, had been marketed to Saudi Arabian expats.

The oil industry is especially vulnerable to terrorism because of the geographic locations of the most active radical groups and weak governments—made ever weaker by the lower price of oil.

The Islamic State (ISIS) reaped hundreds of millions of dollars of profits from selling oil from Iraq and Libya on the black market before the U.S.-led anti-ISIS coalition began targeting oil facilities controlled by the terrorist group over the past year.

Iraqi military gains over ISIS in August dried up oil revenues for the organization by up to 90 percent, according to a report by Iraqi News.

Related: OPEC Deal Still Wobbly, But Oil Investment Takes Off

Novikov said the CIS—which was formed in 1991 after the fall of the Soviet Union—has begun working closely with parents and professors to explain the process of radicalization and how to report instances of suspected illicit recruitment.

The CIS consists of eight former Soviet republics—Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan—and Russia.

By Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com

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