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Terrorism

Islamic terrorism and organized crime threaten Balkans

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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. [1]

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[2].

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[3]. 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[4] . 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[5].

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 [6].

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.

 

References

 


[1] 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

[2] Schori Liang C. (2011), Shadow Networks: The Growing Nexus of Terrorism and Organized Crime, Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP) Policy Paper N° 20.

[3] 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.

[4] OCTA – Europol (2011), EU Organized Crime Threat Assessment.

[5] Arsovska Jana and Basha Dimal (2012), Globalizing the Western Balkans: Transnational Crime, Fundamental Islam and Unholy Alliances, Etudes Caribeennes.

[6] European Parliament Study (2012), op.cit.

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Terrorism

The Islamic State’s reviving scheme

Ahmed Genidy

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Despite the fact that ISIS lost 98 percent of its controlled territory, it is aiming for a reforming and coming back in the Sunni populated areas in Syria and Iraq. Due to the current war situation and its developed financial resource. ISIS used to relay on the territory under its control to collect billions of dollars through criminal activities such as taxation, extortion, robbery and the illegal sale of the curd oil. Now the group has shown its ability to collect money regardless of controlling large areas.

After the rise of ISIS in 2015 and the takeover of vast areas in Syria and Iraq, its budget estimation reached $6 billion, as a result, the Islamic State is considered as the wealthiest terrorist entity in the history. The question posed is how such a terrorist group budget could become equivalent to a state-nation budget? In 2015 the Islamic State main financial resources were; oil and gaze which gathered about 500$ million in 2015; taxation that generated approximately $360 million in the same year and finally; about $500 million robbed from bank vaults in Mosul.

Today the situation is different, the Islamic State has lost the majority of its territory. The global coalition had destroyed ISIS infrastructures in the Middle East as well as its communication routes and had killed the idea of the hegemonic Islamic caliphate in the region. Meanwhile, the Islamic State is struggling to control the last 2 percent of its territory. Therefore, its revenue stream from the main resources has been rapidly shrinking out.

As a result, ISIS no longer relies on the controlled territory for its financial survival. For example, ISIS leadership may have smuggled around $400 million out of Syria and Iraq. Laundering this money through fake entity is likely to occur especially in Turkey. Some other cash could be converted into valuable items and stockpiled to be used in the future.

The stockpile cash will provide the group with more than enough fund to continue as a clandestine terrorist movement with the ability to conduct campaigns of guerrilla warfare in the region. On the other hand, ISIS has supported its financial situation with a variety of funding portfolio. It has developed a range of criminal activities that do not require controlling territories such as kidnapping for ransom, drug smuggling and trafficking in antiquities.

Over the next years, the international community seeks to provide help for Syria and Iraq to recover. The reconstruction aid could provide an attractive target for the Islamic State and a possible financial boost to its comeback. It is possible that the Islamic State begins skimming off reconstruction contracts, the only way is to establish connections with the local officials which is not difficult for a terrorist entity with a huge amount of cash. Finally, the rise of the Iranian threats in the region reflects in many stakeholder’s fears from an Iranian’s control through Hezbollah over ISIS past territories. Therefore, a continuing support from regional states to the terrorist group is possible if ISIS adopts a suitable strategy to the supporters interests in the region.

The combination of the criminal activities, the reconstruction plan and the regional states financial support in the future will encourage the Islamic State to regroup and reorganize. For instance, in Kirkuk, the militants created a fake checkpoint to attack security forces earlier this year. Moreover, in Diyala and Saladin, sleeper cells activity began to hit back. The U.S. policy in the Middle East tends to view the war on terror as separate phases while jihadis consider it as one long war. Until the West recognize this, ISIS is likely to come over to repeat its strategy and to reviving the Islamic caliphate project in the future.

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Terrorism

Religious radicalism as a trend

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IN RECENT YEARS, much has been said about radicalism and its varied offshoots. True, the number of terrorist acts climbs up, the popularity of extreme right political forces grows, and the wave of left radical and anti-globalist movements, migration crises and international tension is rising. This is how everyday realities look in many countries of the world.

France is one of the European countries in which radical trends are only too obvious. At the 2017 presidential election, Marine Le Pen and Jean-Luc Mélenchon, two radical politicians who represented anti-establishment political movements, reaped 41% and 51% respectively of the votes cast by young voters aged between 18 and 24. On the whole, the Fifth Republic is getting accustomed to violence against the law and order structures, destruction of material assets during rallies, protest acts that keep lyceums and universities blocked for a long time, and rejection of republican values that looked unshakable not long ago. Today, when fifty years separate us from the May 1968 events, we can talk about “banalization of protests” not only among the groups on the margins of society but also among its law-abiding part.

Late in 2015, after a series of terrorist acts in France a group of scientists, mostly sociologists of the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) and the Paris Institute of Political Studies (Sciences Po) launched a large-scale research project to identify the factors responsible for the spread of radical ideas among the younger generation. In April 2018, the results were published in a monograph The Temptation of Radicalism  one of the hits on the French book market.

The project is a unique one: for the first time, academic science turned its attention to the younger generation rather than to terrorist acts and those who commit them; it has become interested in the process of radicalization and the factors that plant the ideas of radicalism in the minds of high school students.

A vast, and most interesting, part of the book that deals with religious radicalism, one of the main objects of attention of the public and the media, offers two important conclusions that devalue the old and generally accepted opinions.

Sociologists have detected two component parts or two stages in religious radicalism: the “ideological” as devotion to the fundamentalist religious trends and “practical,” the adepts of which are more than just religious fanatics – they justify violence for religious reasons.

The authors of the book under review who obviously prefer the term “religious absolutism” to “religious fundamentalism” have repeatedly pointed out that it is present in all world religions; the poll, however, revealed that religious absolutism was more typical of Muslim high school students.

Religion, or to be more exact, extreme Islamist trends combined with the male gender is the main factor of religious radicalization of the French youth.

This sociological study has demonstrated that the French national and confessional politics that for many years relied on the thesis that radicalization among the younger generation was caused by social and economic factors should be revised. This book made a great contribution to the broad and far from simple discussion of the place and role of Islam in French society, into which not only extreme right political movement are involved. In his speech of May 22, 2018, President of France “poured cold water” on the plan to shake up the banlieues devised by Jean-Louis Borloo. The president pointed out that more money poured into sensitive zones would not solve the main problem of radicalization.

first published in our partner International Affairs

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Terrorism

Ahwaz bloody attack

Sajad Abedi

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Several armed gunmen martyred and wounded several of their compatriots during an armed attack during an armed parade in Ahwaz on Saturday, September 31, at the same time as a parade of armed forces throughout the country.

Yesterday, at the same time as the national parade on September 31st, four armed elements arrested the demonstrators at the parade of armed forces in the city of Ahwaz, where 25 civilians were martyred and 60 others were wounded in this terrorist act.

Many officials and statesmen from different countries, including Russia, Iraq, Pakistan, Turkey and Syria, conveyed sympathy to the Iranian people in condemning this move, but on the other hand, some of the countries and their affiliated media, including Saudi Arabia’s al-Arabiya, while dodging terrorists, read the incident and reduced its level to an armed attack, tacitly supporting the terrorist elements of the attack.

While in the early hours of the Ya’qub al-HarTestari spokesman for the terrorist group, “Al-Ahwazia”, in charge of the terrorist attack, he was in charge of this terrorist act, but with the passing of hours, the so-called “depths” media group, affiliated with the Takfiri terrorist group In a message posted on its channel, ISIS claimed responsibility for the Ahwaz terrorist attack.

In the back of the scene, some countries, including the United States and Saudi Arabia, are potentially willing to do so. John Bolton, the American senator and Turkish al-Faisal, have been present at most of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards and other opposition groups in the Islamic Republic and have asked them to carry out armed and terrorist acts against Iran. This shows that they are the first number accused, and these returns to their previous will.

Regarding exactly which of the two terrorist groups are responsible for this, it is time to wait for time to identify the hidden dimensions of the incident and also to carry out investigations by security officials, but what is now more rational seems to be to carry out the attack by ISIL terrorists. . The al-Ahwazia terrorist group, an isolated group that claims to support the Arab people, cannot operate at all, while, contrary to it, ISIL elements have such a potential capability.

On the other hand, given the threats of the past few months, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohamed bin Salman, to throw chaos into Iran, although this ridiculous threat is empty and virtually out of Riyadh’s power, the al-Ahwazi terrorist group can be one of Saudi tools for To reach the goals of the saboteurs, but the point is that, firstly, in the province of Khuzestan from the past, different ethnic groups have lived together in peace and there is no social base for the destructive activities of the Al-hawazee group in this region.

The second point is that Khuzestan is a completely Shi’ite Provincial with a religious people and is fully loyal to the Islamic Republic. The injured war in the imposed war was one of the first three provinces that provided many martyrs for the revolution and preservation of the Islamic homeland. Therefore, as stated, there are no social grounds for the activities of al-Ahwazia terrorists in the area, and the action seems to have been taken by ISIL’s terrorist elements that have been trained abroad for specific purposes to Iran.

Another issue to be addressed is that the terrorist attack took place on September 31st, coinciding with the start of the imposed war on Saddam Hussein against our country, which the nationwide arsenal of our nationwide parade on this day turned into a scene of the country’s broader military power. Becomes, whether this is done on this day means that they wanted to undermine the Iranian power by questioning.

This means that increasing Iran’s military and missile capabilities is precisely the goal that the global arrogance, at the head of the United States, is upset and is in the process of its annihilation. Over the past few years, the United States has repeatedly expressed dissatisfaction with the increasing military and missile capabilities of our country, for various reasons, while the terrorist attack has been taking place in the direction of global arrogance, and for this reason After the attack, our countrymen rightly pointed out the tip of the finger and the finger to the United States and the Zionist regime and their regional implications.

The officials in our country, who have been witnesses to the events of the past, are aware that the enemies who launched economic warfare against us are bound to pursue and not be ignorant of the political and security war against our country. Finally, the Islamic Republic, which has so far not been silent on any moves that threatened its people’s security, will certainly not silence this action and will punish the agents and supporters behind it.

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