Over the last few decades we have seen the evolution of terrorist doctrines from Al Qaeda through to ISIS. The key change we have seen is an increased level of violence and brutality in their doctrine and attacks.
There are many questions regarding the capacity of these groups to survive, from financing, commercial ties, exchange and weaponry. The growing but disperse global terrorist networks appear to be functioning quite efficiently so it is important to understand how they operate and integrate in order to identify how it is they are surviving and thriving.
A key lifeline of these terrorist groups is a strong relationship with organized crime. These links have always been there, but have become far more sophisticated in the last decade through the increased crisis levels in the Middle East.
Despite differences in objectives between organized crime and terrorist groups, they are able to cooperate and integrate their operations. Terrorist organizations aim for political change while criminal organizations focus on making profit and maximize their reach. Recently we have seen a deeper connection as terrorist groups work to radicalize criminal organizations, as organized crime is no longer the primary target of security services, with the focus currently shifted to Islamic terrorist groups.
While this integration is creating new challenges for security services focusing on terrorist threats, they need to face the new landscape and respond. With the focus of most security services on terrorist threats, the level of organized crime is increasing and becoming more sophisticated with escalations in the trafficking of humans, drugs, and weapons. As a result of these increased activities, they have increased cash flow and we are seeing the results of that in large amounts of money being used to corrupt public officials.
With the increased level of involvement of people and greater networks we are seeing a new terrorism. According to many security reports there have been increases in the movement of weapons from the Balkans to Syria and human trafficking and refugees moving from the Middle East to toward Europe.
In order to face this new terrorism, it is important to understand the new face of these groups, and that criminal groups represent a serious threat that must be met with professionalism and decisiveness. Otherwise, crime will continue to increase at record levels and will become more and more difficult to reverse.
Maintaining law and order with determination and decisiveness will create the first concrete step toward putting an end to the new trends of terrorism.
Dr, Amer al Sabaileh
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