Call for papers vol 9, no. 1, 2018 is open until 30 March 2018

IDENTIFYING POINTS OF INTERACTION BETWEEN TERRORISM AND ORGANIZED CRIME

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Similarly, terrorism has long been a weapon of the weak against the strong and has been employed by anarchists, nationalists, anti-colonialists, and by political and religious extremists. During the Cold War, the problems of transnational organized crime and terrorism were relatively insignificant, and often considered separate phenomena. However, tremendous changes in the international environment at the end of the Cold War, and subsequently as a result of the loss of their main donor—the disintegration of the Soviet Union—created conditions that challenged the financing system of terrorism.
Current descriptions of financing terrorist movements point to the important role illicit markets play for generating terrorist funds, in particular drug markets (Shelley, 2002:305-318). However, the range of activities that can provide for terrorist funds is wide.
The involvement of terrorist groups in bank robberies, extortion and blackmailing, kidnapping for ransom, drug trafficking and credit card fraud demonstrate that it is also
conventional property crimes that serve to raise terrorist funds. The existence of substantial funds and illicit economic opportunities may then provide for an important condition for the survival of terrorist organizations beyond the cessation of terrorist activities if such organizations choose to continue to exploit illicit economic opportunities. Finally, economic motives may serve as a trigger for changing terrorist groups into criminal organizations active solely for financial gains.
If states or a Diaspora willing to finance insurgencies are not available then violent groups are dependent on acquisitioned crime activities. Participating in economic activities makes sense only in those areas where violent groups have a competitive advantage. The competitive advantage of violent/terrorist groups lies in their ability effectively to exert violence or to exploit a reputation of effective violence.
Links between organized crime and terrorist groups may also be established through the need for services that can be provided by organized crime groups or terrorist groups. Terrorist groups may be dependent on particular services or commodities available only through certain crime groups (for example money laundering or arms). Organized crime groups may be dependent on the protection that can be delivered by terrorist groups. It has been argued then that criminal groups and gangs may transform themselves into groups with a political agenda through politicization, internationalization and growing sophistication (in terms of organization and technology) (Sullivan, 2001:99-126). Both organized crime and major forms of terrorism operate today through networks (and not through hierarchical organizations with physical infrastructures and large investments).
Convergence between organized crime and terrorist groups has been claimed to be furthered by networks and networking with the peripheries of networks serving as



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Security Dialogues by Toni Mileski is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at sd.fzf.ukim.edu.mk.

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