Sábado, 3 de Julho de 2010

AQIM and Drug Trafficking

By Diogo Noivo

 

António Maria Costa, Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, stated his concern over al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb’s (AQIM) involvement with drug trafficking in Europe. AQIM has been implicated in all sorts of smuggling in the Maghreb: in part, a product of cross-fertilizing criminal groups operating in the region and even further south. In fact, its influence has clearly expanded into the Sahel, as recent attacks demonstrate.

In Europe, AQIM’s presence is noteworthy. The majority of the jihadists arrested over the last few years, usually in Spain and France, had the core of their activities in drug trafficking and counterfeiting documents. However, one should bear in mind that the presence of Algerian jihadists in Europe dates back to the 1990’s.

The jihadism-drug association in Europe is not new either: although not the work of AQIM itself, an important part of the 11th March 2004 bomb attacks in Madrid (perpetrated by Maghrebi terrorists) was financed through what in Spain is called trapicheo – the sell of small amounts of drugs.

With regard to the Latin America-Africa-Europe connection, we have surpassed the realm of speculation: the method is known and some individuals were already taken to justice.

Such context leads us to many considerations. It shows the pragmatism that jihadists have in their alliances of convenience. It also reveals that counterterrorism requires a comprehensive approach. And it reiterates the long known truth that, without an efficient international cooperation, nothing useful will be achieved. For Portugal, this should make us think that in order to have jihadists operating in our soil it is not necessary to have bomb attack plots – a simple drug trafficking network is enough.

publicado por IPRIS às 12:45
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