The cooperation of Islamic terrorists and organized crime could develop in to a significant threat for the security of the region of South East Europe due to some new weaker state institutions, corruption and the deteriorating economy.
The surge of Islamic fundamentalist ideology exploited the global war against terrorism and the ethnic tolerance of the Western Balkans. The transnational organized crime groups also found the preconditions to become a regional threat. The organized crime’s activities destabilize countries, increase corruption, extortion, racketeering, violence and sophisticated crimes at the local and international levels. 
The connection between terrorism and organized crime was facilitated by globalization, communication and the end of the “Cold War”. In this context, organized crime offers to terrorists the much needed channels, such as crime routes and access to weapons, thus enabling them to challenge public security as well as armed forces.
The links between Islamic terrorist cells and organized crime groups raise serious concerns for the European law enforcement authorities. Although they are different types of criminal activities and their actions are driven by different incentives, terrorism and organized crime cannot be examined as isolated and unrelated entities. The organized crime and terrorism operate on a global level and don’t recognize nationality and borders. The groups are only motivated by the rule of supply and demand which involves the strategies and tactics of an effective marketing.
The “Balkan route” serves the illegal activities of the aforementioned two groups. It is also well known that organized crime and terrorism usually develop links and interdependencies that increase the level of asymmetric threat. The interests of the organized crime may be connected with the aims of terrorists
Several spots in Balkans are operationally used as important shipment point for illicit trafficking due to the high flows of regional road traffic which favor illegal shipment to move undetected from the authorities of law enforcement. These activities are facilitated by the increased illegal migration flows. The Western Balkans are not only deemed as a transit region but also as a significant source of firearms trade on the international weapons market, drug precursors (ephedrine) as well as ready synthetic drugs. Moreover, the weapons’ trade continues to supply international criminal markets. The Western Balkans are expected to remain a key source of heavy firearms trade into the EU, due to the large illicit stockpiles of the countries of the region . The Western Balkans region is considered as “safe haven” for a bundle of war profiteers, career criminals and Islamic fundamentalists due to the weak governmental structures and deteriorating economies.
The transport networks in Balkans are used also by militant Islamic groups for logistical support. The Islamist militants can enter the Schengen area through Croatia or Serbia which are open to the European Union’s member – states. For instance, it is reported that the Al Qaeda of the Islamic Maghreb uses the heroin trade via West Africa en route to Europe. Moreover, the militant Islamic groups participate in the criminal actions in order to gain financial and logistical support. They are encouraged by the need for self-finance and the requirement to independently organize their terrorist operations. The defining characteristics of the alliance between terrorism and organized crime consist of, but not limited to: (a) access to specialized knowledge (e.g. money laundering), (b) access to specialized services (e.g. counterfeiting), (c) operational support and (d) financial support .
The level of cooperation between terrorists and organized crime is determined in many cases from the nature of geographic region. According to Study of the European Parliament “in transitional states, the nexus includes the operational and conceptual plane, with evidence of convergent motivations dominating groups operating in regions such as the Balkans. Historically, poor border security, weak law enforcement, corrupt public officials and established smuggling networks have facilitated the emergence of hybrid groups that simultaneously sought political aims and profit maximization.
The fighting of the Islamic terrorism and organized crime require from EU and also NATO the adoption of an effective strategy that would combine counter – terrorism and anti – crime strategies.
The EU Counter-Terrorism Strategy (2005) proposed four pillars to combat radicalization and recruitment of terrorists: (a) PREVENT people from turning to terrorism and stop future generations of terrorists from emerging, (b) PROTECT citizens and critical infrastructure by reducing vulnerabilities against attacks, (c) PURSUE and investigate terrorists, impede planning, travel and communications, cut off access to funding and materials and bring terrorists to justice and (d) RESPOND in a coordinated way by preparing for the management and minimisation of the consequences of a terrorist attack, improving capacities to deal with the aftermath and taking into account the needs of victims. Moreover, the ΕU has outlined an Internal Security Strategy (ISS) 2010 to counter the organized crime based on three concrete actions: (a) identifying and dismantling such networks, (b) protecting the economy against criminal infiltration, and (c) confiscating criminal assets.
 See more Georgios X. Protopapas “The Combined Threat of Terrorism and Organized Crime for and in South East Europe” in Comprehensive Approach as “Sine Qua Non” for Critical Infrastructure Protection Ed: Denis Čaleta, Vesela Radović, pages 215 – 231, NATO Science for Peace and Security Series – D: Information and Communication Security, Vol. 39, 2015
 Schori Liang C. (2011), Shadow Networks: The Growing Nexus of Terrorism and Organized Crime, Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP) Policy Paper N° 20.
 European Parliament Study (2012) Europe’s Crime-Terror Nexus: Links between terrorist and organized crime groups in the European Union, Directorate General for Internal Policies of European Parliament.
 OCTA – Europol (2011), EU Organized Crime Threat Assessment.
 Arsovska Jana and Basha Dimal (2012), Globalizing the Western Balkans: Transnational Crime, Fundamental Islam and Unholy Alliances, Etudes Caribeennes.
 European Parliament Study (2012), op.cit.
Western strategic mistake in the Middle East
The widespread terrorist acts and catastrophic events of 2016 in Europe have revealed new approaches to extremist and radical groups to create fears among Westerners.
The investigation of the destructive actions of two past years has shown that such terrorist operations were based on networked and coordinated approaches. That is, the terrorist cells carried out their destructive actions based on a timetable group plan. In such circumstances, it is possible to observe such behaviors, given the familiarity of security guards and intelligence agencies in Europe, but it is difficult to change the approaches to monitoring such actions in the two past year. Instead of taking collective action, terrorists use the means of mass destructive actions in their new ways. In such a situation, a person kills public places instead of communicating with the supporters or members of terrorist currents such as ISIL with the aim of shedding people’s blood. Events like the French Nazi Crusade, or the accumulation of people in Germany, have been blamed for such an approach. Naturally, the use of such methods and the use of public transport vehicles, or even sticks and gadgets, has provided security and intelligence agencies with a great deal of difficulty in detecting criminal agents.
Evidence suggests that in the new approaches of the ISIL, they are seeking to use any means to achieve their goals, and it is natural that in these circumstances the concept of security in Europe has a change undergone. From another perspective, the use of such practices shows that the Isis are seeking to use any means to demonstrate their power and, along with this issue, to supporters and groups that want to recruit and join terrorist groups. They order that they do not necessarily have to endure the journey to accompany them, but that pro-active agents can arrange their subversive moves at the same location. The facts indicate that the only wolves used for ISIS terrorist groups are the instigation of this issue to Westerners, which, despite the efforts of some countries to eliminate ISIS’s fears, and fears of Europeans from recurring events the terrorists will not end.
ISILs are always trying to organize people from the corners of the world for terrorist acts; those who are known for wolves only because of the nature of isolation and psychological frustration. That is why, with many beliefs, this group is now considered to be the most dangerous terrorist organization. In the current situation, although the possibility of reversing and defeating ISIL in the region and eliminating the danger of the formation of the Islamic Emirate of Iraq and the Shamal seems probable, it is important to understand that different groups, including ISIS and other organized terrorist groups, are based on ideological. It seems that in such a case, the disintegration of the organization will not eliminate ISIL’s thoughts, but those who have such intellectual foundations will underground forms of state-controlled current state of affairs. Continue their terrorist operations.
While the West’s false policy on dual use of terrorism against the developments in the region, especially in Iraq, Yemen, Syria and Libya, is a major contributor to terrorism, the immigration of citizens from different countries, including Europe to Syria and the return of Western terrorists to Europe. Today, more than any other country in Europe is the target of ISIS attacks in Europe, which in the developments in Syria, we saw that the country adopted the strongest positions in support of irresponsible armed groups and some terrorist groups.
We are now witnessing an unholy unity among apparently secular currents claiming liberty with radical Fascist currents and their consensus over the limitation of Islamic groups and the suppression of Muslims. In fact, now, the West is not only captured by ISIS terrorist incidents, but is also threatened by extremist rightwing people who have received a high vote in some elections because of Islamophobia. The same groups that have tackled the asylum seekers have been slogans for victorious dynasties.
On the one hand, non-Muslims who carry out acts of terrorism on the basis of personal or even religious beliefs carry out terrorist acts, the westerners regard the disciples, but at the same time, any Muslim who subjugates propaganda acts based on non-Islamic and non-religious ideas of the Islamic State is a circle Muslims consider his actions taken from Quranic teachings.
Along with this, it should be noted that the West is fully aware of Saudi Arabia’s role in current supporting terrorist. The evidence clearly shows the country’s financial and spiritual backing of the jihadist Salafi in 2001 and Takfiri Salafi since 2011, and the US Senate’s 28-page report contends. However, an attempt by Western countries to pressure Saudi Arabia or change it’s political, military, and economic relations with the country does not take place.
At the beginning of the formation of ISIS, the West had the hope that with the issuance of radical Islamists to Syria and Iraq and the emergence of conflicts among Islamic countries, the Takfiris’ duty would be completely determined, and the countries of the region would be involved in tribal conflicts. The formation of such a subjectivity in the West, of course, was due to the fact that the insecurity of the region would provide a platform for Islamism and their more active presence in the Middle East and West Asia, but we saw that prostitutes of the chickens return to the nest in Europe, and that the boomerang ISIS sat back in the heart of Europe.
Of course, not all terrorist attacks in Europe can be attributed to the organization of ISIS, and it seems that the basic premise of terrorists is based mainly on the basis of their thinking and reasons, such as family and mental problems, on subversive acts. ISIS, however, uses all its media capabilities to take advantage of these actions, and it has tried to magnify its operational capability by assigning individuals who have sometimes died as a result of terrorist acts and suicide attacks.
On the other hand, terrorism should be viewed as a global issue, and at the same time it should be emphasized that foreign policy of some countries and their interference in the affairs of other countries is one of the factors of the emergence and spread of terrorism. These countries must rethink their policies in order to provide a ground for the elimination of terrorism.
UN launches new framework to strengthen fight against terrorism
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres launched a new Organization-wide framework on Thursday to coordinate efforts across the peace and security, humanitarian, human rights and sustainable development sectors.
Termed the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Coordination Compact, the framework is an agreement between the UN chief, 36 Organizational entities, the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) and the World Customs Organization, to better serve the needs of Member States when it comes to tackling the scourge of international terrorism.
Speaking at the first meeting of the Compact’s Coordination Committee, at the UN Headquarters, in New York, Mr. Guterres highlighted the need to ensure full respect for international human rights standards and rule of law in countering terrorism.
“Policies that limit human rights only end up alienating the very communities they aim to protect and which normally have every interest in fighting extremism,” he said, adding that as a result “such policies can effectively drive people into the hands of terrorists and undermine our efforts on prevention.”
He also urged greater vigilance against the misuse of emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, drones and 3D (three-dimensional) printing, as well as against the use of hate-speech and distortion of religious beliefs by extremist and terrorist groups.
According to the UN Office of Counter-Terrorism, the Coordination Committee will oversee the implementation of the Compact and monitor its implementation. It is chaired by UN Under-Secretary-General for counter-terrorism, Vladimir Voronkov.
At its meeting, the Coordination Committee also discussed strategic priorities for the next two years, based on the sixth review of the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, relevant Security Council resolutions and UN Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate (CTED) assessments as well as Member States requests for technical help.
It also looked into the organization of work and ways to improve the delivery of an “All-of-UN” capacity-building support to Member States.
The UN Global Counter-Terrorism Coordination Compact Task Force will replace the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force, which was established in 2005 to strengthen UN system-wide coordination and coherence of counter-terrorism efforts.
ISIL’s ‘legacy of terror’ in Iraq: UN verifies over 200 mass graves
Investigators have uncovered more than 200 mass graves containing thousands of bodies in areas of Iraq formerly controlled by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh), according to a United Nations human rights report out on Tuesday.
The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) said the 202 mass grave sites were found in governorates of Nineveh, Kirkuk, Salahuddin and Anbar in the north and western parts of the country – but there may be many more.
In the joint report, Unearthing Atrocities, the UN entities said the evidence gathered from the sites “will be central to ensuring credible investigations, prosecutions and convictions” in accordance with international due process standards.
Ján Kubiš, the top UN official in Iraq and the head of UNAMI, said that the mass grave sites “are a testament to harrowing human loss, profound suffering and shocking cruelty.”
“Determining the circumstances surrounding the significant loss of life will be an important step in the mourning process for families and their journey to secure their rights to truth and justice,” he added.
Between June 2014 and December 2017, ISIL seized large areas of Iraq, leading a campaign of widespread and systematic violations of international human rights and humanitarian law, “acts that may amount to war crimes, crimes against humanity, and possible genocide,” the report states.
Traumatized families have the ‘right to know’
The UNAMI-OHCHR report also documents the “significant challenges” families of the missing face in trying to find the fate of their loved ones.
At present, they must report to more than five separate authorities, a process that is both time-consuming and frustrating for traumatized families.
Michelle Bachelet, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, underscored that the families “have the right to know.”
“ISIL’s horrific crimes in Iraq have left the headlines but the trauma of the victims’ families endures, with thousands of women, men and children still unaccounted for,” she said.
“Their families have the right to know what happened to their loved ones. Truth, justice and reparations are critical to ensuring a full reckoning for the atrocities committed by ISIL.”
Victim-centred approach needed
Among its recommendations, the report calls for a victim-centred approach and a transitional justice process that is established in consultation with, and accepted by, Iraqis, particularly those from affected communities.
It also urges a multidisciplinary approach to the recovery operations, with the participation of experienced specialists, including weapons contamination and explosives experts and crime scene investigators.
Alongside, it also calls on the international community to provide resources and technical support to efforts related to the exhumation, collection, transportation, storage and return of human remains to families, as well as their identification, particularly by helping strengthen the national Mass Graves Directorate.
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