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On the Border of Crime and Insurgency

NCJ Number
Jane's Intelligence Review Volume: 14 Issue: 1 Dated: January 2002 Pages: 33-35
Tamara Makarenko
Date Published
January 2002
3 pages
This article examines the relationships among crime, terrorism, and insurgency in different geographic areas and the implications for the security community.
Security assessments dealing with terrorism and insurgency often overlook crime, although crime is more amenable to control than are the other phenomena. Insurgent and terrorist groups have used crime to secure profits through drug dealing and other offenses since the early 1980’s. However, it was not until 1991 that the link between these phenomena began to expand and take on new dimensions. The virtual end of government-supported insurgency after the Cold War forced ideologically motivated groups to obtain alternative sources of finance to survive. The relationship between crime and insurgency has significantly evolved during the past decade to include three general categories. These include: (1) mutually profitable alliances formed between criminal and insurgent/terrorist groups; (2) the direct involvement in criminal activity by insurgent/terrorist groups solely as a source of funding; and (3) terrorist groups replacing their ideological motivations with criminal ones. These developments have significant policy implications for efforts to address both terrorism and crime. It has become essential for traditional security analysts who follow insurgent and terrorist groups to focus greater attention on how political motivations are transformed and on the emergence of criminal opportunities throughout the world. Case examples support the equal conclusions that instability gives rise to criminal opportunity and that criminal opportunity may give rise to sustained instability. Photographs