Terrorism, organised crime and threat mitigation in a globalised world

Author:Yara El Siwi
Position:Department of Development Studies, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK
Pages:951-961
SUMMARY

Purpose The gruesome attacks of 11 September 2001 signalled a powerful paradigm shift in international politics: governments previously accustomed to military menaces were now being increasingly threatened by independent, non-state actors. Consequently, a plethora of literature emerged, looking to better understand the nature of these actors. An aspect that has attracted substantial interest is the inter-relation between terrorism and... (see full summary)

 
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Terrorism, organised crime and
threat mitigation in a
globalised world
Yara El Siwi
Department of Development Studies, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK
Abstract
Purpose The gruesome attacksof 11 September 2001 signalled a powerful paradigm shift in international
politics: governmentspreviously accustomed to military menaces were now being increasinglythreatened by
independent,non-state actors. Consequently, a plethoraof literature emerged, looking to betterunderstand the
nature of these actors.An aspect that has attractedsubstantial interest is the inter-relation between terrorism
and organisedcrime (OC). This paper aims to answer the question as to whether, for the purpose of controlling
and mitigating the threat they pose to society, there is meaning in differentiating between terrorist
organisations(TOs) and organised crime groups (OCGs).
Design/methodology/approach The rst section of the paper will provide an account of the various
kinds of threats posed by OCGs and TOs. The subsequent section will question whether it is possible, in
todays globalised era, to distinguish between these two actors, while the last sections will ask if such a
differentiationis desirable.
Findings OCGs and TOs displaya clear divergence: the formersmotivation is nancial while the latters
political. With the end of the Cold War, however, each type of organisation has been building up the
capabilities of theother, helped by the force of global networks. As such, these twoactors now exist within
the same body acontinuumthat renders their separation difcult. As to the question of desirability, the
separation of the two phenomena has often led to the adoption of highly disproportionate militarised and
securitisedmeasures, resultingin a dangerous blending of lawenforcement and security servicemethodology.
Originality/value Many have argued for the separation of the terroristfrom the criminal,onthe
grounds that the former is particularlyheinous and deserving of more severe measures. Others have studied
the evolution of these two phenomenato understand whether the lines separating them have been blurring
and the extent to which this affectslaw-enforcement. This paper goes beyond notions of feasibilityand poses
the followingquestion: has the traditional separationof these phenomena led to a desirable regime?
Keywords Organised crime, Globalisation, Terrorism, Threat mitigation
Paper type Research paper
The gruesome terrorist attacksof 11th September 2001 signalled a powerful paradigm shift
in international politics: governmentspreviously accustomed to military menaces were now
being increasingly threatened by independent, non-state actors. This shift resulted in the
emergence of a plethora of literature that seeks to better understand the nature of these
actors and to study the dynamics that drive them, in an attempt to identify the best
approaches to responding to the phenomenon of terrorism in its contemporary form. An
aspect that has attracted substantial interest is the inter-relation between terrorism and
organised crime (OC) two phenomena that have long existed in society, and that one can
reasonably expect will continue to exist in one form or the other. In our traditional
understanding, organised crime groups (OCGs) and terrorist organisations (TOs) are
conceived as distinct illegal entities which hold inherently different objectives. As an
economically driven enterprise, OC seeks monetary prot. On the other hand, TOs are
political entities, which, be it for religious,ideological or purely political reasons, ultimately
Threat
mitigation in a
globalised
world
951
Journalof Financial Crime
Vol.25 No. 4, 2018
pp. 951-961
© Emerald Publishing Limited
1359-0790
DOI 10.1108/JFC-02-2017-0015
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available on Emerald Insight at:
www.emeraldinsight.com/1359-0790.htm

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