Just as the collapse of the Soviet Union lead to an increase in the level of organized Crime in the former Soviet Union, this collapse has led to the rise of organized crime groups in the former Soviet Republics in Europe. One of these groups is known as Albanian Organized Crime. “The Albanian Organized Crime groups constitute one of the most expanding and networked criminal groups in contemporary Balkans & Europe” (Kisha, 2013, March 10). What is interesting about this little known crime group is the fact that it is rapidly becoming what is known as a hybrid group:
Albanian organized crime groups are hybrid organizations, often involved both in criminal activity of an organized nature and in political activities, mainly relating to Kosovo (1). According to the UN Information Service, “It has become more and more difficult to distinguish clearly between terrorist groups and organized crime units, since their tactics increasingly overlap. The world is seeing the birth of a new hybrid of “organized crime — terrorist organizations”, and it is imperative to sever the connection between crime, drugs, and terrorism now.” (2) The interrelation between crime and terrorism has its own international and regional ramifications as an attack against the USA Embassy in Athens-Greece revealed last January, that seems to originate from the triangle between Kosovo-Tetovo-Albania and the arms smugglers networks there. (Kisha, 2013, March 10)
Not only is Albanian Organized Crime a criminal enterprise, it is quickly becoming a terrorist group and/or in working in conjunction with a terrorist group. This is interesting due to the fact that the organized crime group can engage in criminal activity that will eventually support terrorist operations. Also, since 9/11 it has been theorized that terrorist activity will increasingly become religious in nature. If we look at the Albanian question this theory may prove to be inaccurate. These groups are seeking independence and therefore would fall into ethno-nationalist/separatists terrorist instead of religious terrorists. Again, this group will pose a continuing threat to American National Security because of its hybrid nature. Not only is it a criminal group but also has the potential to become a terrorist organization. The fact makes these groups potentially more dangerous than other types of organized crime group and terrorist groups due to the fact that terrorist groups are constantly seeking funding to support terrorist operations, with a criminal elements these terrorist groups would be self-sufficient possibly making them more dangerous, add to the fact that many crime groups will engage in weapons smuggling and/or arms dealing. An organization that engages in criminal activity to make money for terrorist operations will also have an easier time in obtaining weapons than the traditional terrorist group as the organized crime element will deal in weapons that will support the terrorist elements.
Kisha, B. L. (2013, March 10). SHAPE OF THE ALBANIAN ORGANIZED CRIME: Albanian Mafia Clan Keljmendi List | There Must be Justice. There Must be Justice. Retrieved May 1, 2013, from http://theremustbejustice.wordpress.com/2013/03/10/shape-of-the-albanian-organized-crime-albanian-mafia-clan-keljmendi-list/