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Crime-Terror Nexus?: Thinking on Some of the Links Between Terrorism and Criminality

NCJ Number
Studies in Conflict & Terrorism Volume: 30 Issue: 12 Dated: December 2007 Pages: 1095-1107
Steven Hutchinson; Pat O'Malley
Date Published
December 2007
13 pages
This article examines the conditions under which terrorist and organized crime groups will cooperate for their mutual benefit.
Decreasing state sponsorship for terrorism in the post-9/11 environment has pressed terrorist groups to find financial and logistical support from other than government resources. This has caused some terrorist groups to establish their own in-house criminal enterprises in order to obtain money for the funding of their terrorist activities. For example, members of Abu Sayyaf, reportedly linked to al Qaeda, and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front have recently been kidnapping foreign tourists and aid workers in the southern Philippines in order to obtain ransoms. Cigarette smuggling has become a source of income for some terrorist groups. Although drug trafficking has been placed at the top of the hierarchy of illegal money-raising activities for terrorist groups, robberies, extortion, and arms trading are prevalent as well. In addition to in-house criminal activities for profit, there is also evidence that terrorist groups cooperate with organized crime groups for mutual benefit. An example of this is the provision of security support by terrorist groups (Peruvian "Shining Path" and Colombian FARC Guerrillas) for narcotics production and trafficking by drug cartels in exchange for a percentage of the profits. Such alliances tend to occur in weak and transitional states, especially where black markets and economies are largely or completely controlled by organized crime groups. Such links do not amount to a systematic organized crime-terrorism nexus, although they deserve further study. 36 notes