By invitation of the CT-Morse project, a policy advisory, support and monitoring unit for the EU’s programmes in counter-terrorism, I’ve had the pleasure to lead the development of two policy notes:
Examining the Nexus between Organised Crime and Terrorism, and its Implications for EU Programming
Co-authored with Colin Clarke of Rand / ICCT-The Hague, and Laura Adal from the Global Initiative, this brief charts the evolving relationship between terrorism and crime, which poses significant challenges to the international community.
Definitions of terrorism, petty crime and organised crime, which are often contested. In Europe there is evidence that there is a link between petty crime and terrorism, where individuals on the margins of society and the formal economy or in prison are most vulnerable to radicalisation. In other areas of the world, the relationship between organised crime and terrorism has transformed to one of symbiosis and convergence, in which it has become increasingly difficult to draw a meaningful distinction.
Activities of terrorists and organised criminals frequently reinforce each other, where terrorists engage either directly or indirectly in organised crime activities such as trafficking, smuggling, extortion, kidnapping for ransom and the illicit trade of natural resources, for financial and/or material benefits.
Such benefits contribute to undermining state security, stability and social and economic development, which in turn may create or maintain the conditions for organised criminal groups to flourish. On the other side, organised crime groups may employ terrorist tactics, including the strategic use of violence, to enable their objectives.
In designing an appropriate policy response, there is value to recognising that there is a strategic distinction to be made between those situations where causal and enabling conditions for organised crime and/or violent extremism converge and where monitoring and preventive action is possible, versus those situations where the relationship is already in place, and where situation specific approaches are required.
Reviewing the Evidence Base on Migration and Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism (P/CVE)
Co-authored with Peter Tinti from the Global Initiative, this brief examines the existing evidence base regarding violent extremism and radicalization as push factors for migration and displacement, with a particular emphasis on displacement and migration from Africa, the Middle East and Asia, to Europe. It explores the extent to which there is evidence that migrants and migration from these regions could serve as a means to counter violent extremism in source countries.
There is a significant gap in the existing academic and policy literature regarding the relationship between violent extremism and migration, both in terms of violent extremism as a driver of displacement and migration, but also the role that migration and migrants play in either countering or exacerbating violent extremism in source countries. Given the paucity of the evidence base, case studies of Nigeria, Iraq, and Afghanistan, offer the opportunity to consider the interrelationships in greater detail.
Analysis of these examples highlight the extent to which European policymakers should avoid oversimplified conclusions about inter-relationships and causality, as there are pertinent distinctions even at the sub-national level. Classic programmes that seek to address violent extremism by improving levels of economic opportunity and development may serve to increase migration levels. However, each of these cases suggest that addressing the quality of governance, systemic or targeted marginalization, identity based persecution and the lack of socioeconomic opportunities which offer long-term ‘social capital’ prospects may be root-cause commonalities that can address both phenomena simultaneously through targeted aid and development programming.
Read this brief here: Reitano and Tinti – Migration and PCVE – April 2017