Monday, September 17, 2012
The Rising Threat of Organized Crime to States and Citizens
International Relations and Security Network
that organized crime poses to a state and its citizens are hardly new. Nor are the concerted efforts to eradicate or ameliorate
them. What has changed, at least since the early 1990s, is the perception that organized crime poses a globalized threat to
national and international security.
In the preface to the first Transnational Organized Crime Threat Assessment, the Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) states that since the end of the Cold War global governance has failed to
keep pace with economic globalization. And while globalization has stimulated economic growth and development, it has also
provided new opportunities for criminals to prosper. Specifically, the Executive Director goes on to state, organized crime
"has diversified, gone global and reached macro-economic proportions."
Like so many other like-minded institutions, the UNODC is unambiguous about the impact that transnational organized
crime is having on governance and the rule of law. As criminal networks have become increasingly global, they have infiltrated
governments and big business, created conditions for greater corruption, and endangered the social and economic wellbeing
of many developing countries. Transnational organized crime has, in short, undermined governance by empowering drugs cartels,
assorted types of traffickers, money launderers and others who live beyond the law.
A host of scholars and senior politicians have unsurprisingly echoed and elaborated upon the above sentiments. Moises
Naim, for example, sees the collision of states and criminal networks as a "new war of globalization." Organized
crime, he continues, has reconfigured power in international politics and economics in highly negative ways. One possible
response to this problem, at least in the eyes of the well-versed U.S. Senator, John Kerry, is to further globalize law and
Regardless of how one defines the problem and its possible
solutions, it is only appropriate that we begin the week [Sep. 10] by tracing the increasingly global nature of transnational
organized crime, its growing portfolio of illicit activities in the world's economy, and its dubious impact on security.
However, given that illicit activities do bring some economic benefits to impoverished states and communities, or so its defenders
claim, we devote our attention on Tuesday to determining whether a criminalized state or culture is by definition bad for
those under its sway.
On Wednesday, we mull over yet another contrarian
view point - i.e., whether it is entirely appropriate to define organized crime as a major security issue at all. In doing
so, we investigate criminal networks across Southern and Eastern Europe to determine whether they pose the security threats
ascribed to them, both at the local and international levels. We then follow this analysis by trying to determine how and
why transnational organized crime has become increasingly linked with terrorist activities. Finally, we close the week by
examining the success, or not, that law enforcement agencies have had in combatting globalized and networked organized crime.
The World's Not-So-Hidden Criminal Economy
10 Sep 2012 / Special Feature
Globalization has enabled transnational criminal networks to expand and diversify their activities. Today, we cast
a light on the growth of transnational organized crime, its illicit multibillion dollar activities and its increasing global
reach and influence. More
Family Incorporated: Organized Crime and the Nation-State
11 Sep 2012 / Special Feature
Both transnational and national-level organized crime have been on the rise since the end of the Cold War, even if
their significance has differed from region to region. Fears about the rise of so-called ‘mafia-states,' however,
are harder to substantiate, or so argues Prem Mahadevan. More
Beyond Mafia Stereotypes: Organized Crime's Impact on Security
12 Sep 2012 / Special Feature
The potential for organized criminal networks to foment intra-state violence and terrorism represents a major challenge
to security establishments. Yet, as Philip Gounev points out, these networks do not necessarily need to safeguard their activities
and maintain their influence by relying on such violence. More
The Crime-Terrorism Nexus
13 Sep 2012 / Special Feature
The connection between organized crime and terrorism may seem obvious but the nexus remains blurred, both conceptually
and in reality. Therefore, if we want peace operations and stabilization missions to perform more anti-crime and terrorism
functions in the future, argues Wibke Hansen, then establishing greater clarity about the nexus is critical. More
Thwarting Crime and Terrorism
14 Sep 2012 / Podcast
that formalized business relationships exist between terrorist and transnational criminal organizations currently lack substance,
argues Michel Hess. However, hybrid partnerships might eventually emerge if criminals decide to support terrorist group causes.
This brief examines a number of measure and policies that are implemented
as a direct response to th...
Transnational organized crime groups in Burma operate a multibillion dollar
criminal industry that s...
This report presents an overview of Mexican President Calderón's
push to fight organized crime.
This paper investigates Southeastern Europe's development with regard
to combating terrorism and org...
This paper provides an overview of the strategic and policy initiatives
that the United States and i...
This paper scrutinizes transnational organized crime (TOC) in an era of
globalization, with a focus ...
Insurgent and terror groups operating in the tribal areas of Afghanistan
and Pakistan are deepening ...
"The Securitization of Organized Crime," International Relations and Security Network (ISN), Sep. 10, 2012, Zurich, Switzerland; reprinted with permission