What is the single greatest impediment to successfully interdicting transnational crime and narcotics support to terrorist efforts?
Like it or not the fact of crime is changing and becoming more transnational in nature. Even municipal law enforcement agencies (including the Myrtle Beach police department) are being confronted and/or have a concern of being confronted with transnational crime now or at some point soon.
The largest impediment to interdicting transnational crime is globalization. When globalization is discussed it is discussed in positive ways. However, as with everything else, there is also a darker side to globalization.
The final piece of the puzzle is the fact that crime and terrorism are beginning to blur and where a terrorist once stood an international criminal now stands.
My first example will be Hamas the Palestinian terrorist group that finds ways to throw wrenches into the peace process between itself and Iran. There is also evidence that Hamas members are traveling to Syria to receive training to become more efficient in terrorist actions:
“The overarching U.S. goal regarding Hamas is to deter, transform, marginalize, or neutralize it so that it no longer presents a threat to Israel’s security, to a peaceful and lasting resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, or to other U.S. interests—either in its own right or as a proxy of Iran or other actors. Various legislative and policy initiatives designed to accomplish this goal have at most achieved temporary or partial success. Hamas’s activities present challenges for U.S. policymakers and Members of Congress, including
• countering Hamas’s military and terrorist threats to Israel, its financial and
smuggling networks, and its political influence;
• determining under what circumstances and the manner in which the United States
might accept the participation of Hamas or Hamas representatives in a
Palestinian Authority (PA) government and/or in Israeli-Palestinian peace
• de-linking Hamas from its connections with Iran and Syria; and
• encouraging humanitarian relief efforts and economic development in Gaza
without bolstering Hamas.” (Zanotti, 2010, p. 1)
What is most important as far as the question of Hamas goes, is not only is it a terrorist organization. Over the years, it has evolved to become a political organization that has attempted to spread its political interest through the Palestinian Authority. As this has not occurred Hamas continues to spread its influence across the Middle East and while yet the Hamas has not used the internet as a call to arms or a method to radicalize individuals, it will remain only a matter of time before this occurs.
Terrorism has started to blur lines with the criminal element, the fact that the terrorist is becoming the criminal element. “According to the US Drug Enforcement (DEA) 19 of the 43 designated foreign terrorist organizations are linked to the global drug trade, and up to 60% of terrorist organizations are connected to the illegal narcotics industry.” (International: Crime links aid counter-terror efforts, 2010) To continue to commit terror, terrorist groups require funds. Drug trafficking is a multi-million dollars a year industry. In addition, trafficking in drugs in simply terrorism at another level.
Terrorist organizations and drug traffickers combing forces is becoming so common there is now a name for the activity. “These types of cases—where terrorist groups and organized crime networks are closely intertwined—are growing far more common. These “hybrid” organizations—part terrorist group, part organized crime network— are “meaner and uglier than anything law enforcement or militaries have ever faced” in the view of senior U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) officials.” (Jacobson & Levitt, 2010 p. 117) This is the global crime nexus. Multiple organizations working together to move illicit materials past law enforcement. Now that terrorist groups are working with terrorist groups. Those organizations that enforce terrorist activity but there is another aspect of the group that would be the drug traffickers. On the other had organizations like the DEA which are working to prevent illicit drugs from entering the US are only fighting half the battle. The other component is the terrorist tactic.
As globalization continues and the lines between crime and terrorism continue to blur law enforcement organizations must make every effort to work together to prevent all crime.
International: Crime links aid Counter-terror efforts. (2010, May 19). Retrieved December 8, 2016.
Jacobson, M., & M., Levitt. (2010, Winter). Tracking Narco-Terrorist Networks:The money trail. The Fletcher Forum of World Affairs, 34(1), 117-124. Retrieved December 8, 2016, from https://edge.apus.edu/access/content/group/security-and-global-studies-common/Intelligence Studies/INTL 646/Week 4 Material/TrackingNarcoTerroristNetworks_TheMoneyTrail_Jacobson_Levitt.pdf.
Zanotti, J. (2010). Congressional Research Service. Retrieved December 8, 2016, from http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/mideast/R41514.pdf