View Full Version : Drug use by insurgents and terrorists

Vic Bout
05-14-2008, 03:36 PM
I stumbled on this (http://www.strategicstudiesinstitute.army.mil/pubs/display.cfm?PubID=850) monograph yesterday. Irregular fighters acting "unpredictably" on the battlefield? Cool. Now I know why that guy was "shooting" at my patrol with a cigarette lighter that looked like an M9.

05-14-2008, 06:57 PM
In the Battle for Fallujah I / II, some of the fighters were on epinephrine, which basically turned normal people into supermen.

This type of thing continued until recently. The Marines battled drugged fighters in 2007 in Fallujah. I assume that it continues with the hard core fighters today.

Juan Rico
08-01-2008, 10:14 PM
Drug Trafficking and Middle Eastern Terrorist Groups: A Growing Nexus?
by Michael Braun
http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/audio/audio_popup.php?id=2914&table=tblPeacePolicyWatch (audio)

On July 18, 2008, Michael Braun, assistant administrator and chief of operations at the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), addressed a special policy forum at The Washington Institute. Mr. Braun, a career special agent and a longtime participant in the DEA's counterterrorism efforts, spoke about the nexus between drugs and Middle East terrorist groups and the growing challenge this relationship poses to U.S. national security. The following is a rapporteur's summary of his remarks.

The nexus between drugs and terror is growing at light speed. This is not a new trend -- there have been numerous links identified between drugs and terror over the last twenty-five years. Of the forty-three officially designated foreign terrorist organizations (FTOs), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has linked nineteen of them to some aspect of the global drug trade, and believes that up to sixty percent of terror organizations are connected with the illegal narcotics trade.

Terrorist organizations have chosen to participate in the narcotics market for several reasons. State sponsorship of terrorism is declining, and the Department of Treasury, Central Intelligence Agency, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and FBI have done a very good job at identifying private donors and disrupting the flows of terror financing. The United States has worked with its allies and significantly disrupted al-Qaeda's ability to communicate with their cells and nodes around the globe. Partly for this reason, al-Qaeda has shifted from a corporate to a franchise leadership model in recent years.

Terrorist groups, therefore, are increasingly in need of new sources of funds. The drug business fills this need perfectly. The UN estimates that the international drug trade generates $322 billion per year in revenue, making drugs by far the most lucrative illicit activity. According to the UN, revenues from other types of illicit transnational activity, such as arms trafficking and alien smuggling, are small by comparison. Drugs provide many different avenues of revenue, including the taxing of farmers and local cartels, and the provision of security for all aspects of production, trade, and distribution. Terror organizations do not, in general, require massive sums of money for their operations, but must finance training, infrastructure needs, equipping their members, bribing local officials, recruiting, and logistics. The al-Qaeda or affiliate cell that carried out the Madrid train bombing funded that operation in almost its entirety through the sale of illicit drugs.

08-02-2008, 05:10 PM
It is interesting, the 9/11 Commission and its report terrorist financing said they found no evidence direct AQ links to the drug trade, even though numerous open source reports existed before and after 9/11. In a recent CSIS panel "Combating the Threat of International Organized Crime (http://www.csis.org/component/option,com_csis_events/task,view/id,1628/)", FBI Deputy Director Pistole denied any direct links of AQ central to the drug trade:


Q: Bill Pope, formerly of State Department counterterrorism. This question’s for John. There’s no question that some international terrorism groups have had links with organized crime, have used organized crime networks, et cetera. To the extent that you can say anything in this room and it might be nothing, but if you can, can you say anything about core al Qaeda and organized crime, not marginal groups, more marginal groups, but al Qaeda and organized crime?

MR. PISTOLE: Yeah, what I can say is thus far, Bill, and good to see you, is that although we have identified, we, law enforcement intelligence communities, have identified other terrorist organizations that have benefited from organized crime and clearly a number of different aspects here. We have not seen, to date, a direct link between what we would describe as international organized crime, traditional organized crime, and core al Qaeda.

MR. DE BOUCHGRAVE: John, if I could butt in at this point. Surely, Colombia is a convergence of transnational crime and transnational terrorism, as Afghanistan and those mountainous areas between Pakistan and Afghanistan are today.

MR. PISTOLE: Absolutely. Yes, there’s a number of other groups and if we went into detail, whether it’s FARC or Hezbollah or other groups, but not core al Qaeda, thus far.

Yet here is DEA Chief of Ops Braun:

"Terrorist organizations have chosen to participate in the narcotics market for several reasons....very good job at identifying private donors and disrupting the flows of terror financing....Partly for this reason, al-Qaeda has shifted from a corporate to a franchise leadership model in recent years."
He makes does not make the connection of the drug trade to AQ, it is almost a bait and switch. Later he acknowledges that "al-Qaeda or affiliate cell that carried out the Madrid train bombing funded that operation in almost its entirety through the sale of illicit drugs." That's the closest he comes to linking to AQ core, but the big caveat is "affiliate cell". I am familiar with the decentralized jihad paradigm.

What gives? Just seems like there is some incongruence.

02-25-2010, 02:00 PM
UNODC, 24 Feb 10: Crime and Instability: Case Studies of Transnational Threats (http://www.unodc.org/documents/frontpage/Crime_and_instability_2010_final_low_res.pdf)

Transnational organized crime is attracting increased attention because whereas in the past the problem was mostly national (mafia, mobsters, cartels, triads), now, as a result of globalization, it poses a threat to international security.

This report looks at the relationship between organized crime and instability: how illicit commodities usually originate in trouble spots, are then trafficked through vulnerable regions, to affluent markets. It focuses in particular on the impact of drug flows (cocaine and heroin), as well as piracy around the Horn of Africa, and the impact of minerals smuggling on Central Africa......

William F. Owen
02-25-2010, 02:14 PM
What does "Transnational" mean? How is it different from International?

02-25-2010, 03:55 PM
What does "Transnational" mean? How is it different from International?

As far as I can remember of my IR classes "International" refers to the state to state (or nation to nation) contatcs such as diplomacy (track 1 and 2), war, international law, etc. which result in the creation of an international system of states (or society of states, for a "thicker" description which includes social/cultural elements of interaction). Transnational on the other hand refers to the burgeoning non-state interaction (in terms of dynamic density) at and beyond the level of the world inter-state/international system such as international finance (think Hawala rather than WTO), migration, telecommunications (i.e., internet) which states do not directly control, instigate or generate (i.e, are system level effects which are not attributable to states to state interactions). The international and transnational are parallel, parasitic and mutually supporting. In some regions consititing of exclusivly failed states transnational (non-state) forces may take over functions that would otherwise have been provided by states (such as INGOs, Hawala type financial transactions, barter, etc.). Sorry if that sounds a bit confused but its been a while since I cracked open my IR books.

07-10-2010, 06:42 PM
Stumbled on this, related :

As the Obama administration ramps up the Drug Enforcement Administration's presence in Afghanistan, some special-agent pilots contend that they're being illegally forced to go to a combat zone, while others who've volunteered say they're not being properly equipped.

In interviews with McClatchy Newspapers, more than a dozen DEA agents describe a badly managed system in which some pilots hav More..e been sent to Afghanistan under duress or as punishment for bucking their superiors.

Such complaints, so far mostly arising from the DEA's Aviation Division, could complicate the Obama administration's efforts to send dozens of additional DEA agents to Afghanistan as part of a civilian and military personnel "surge" that aims to stabilize the country.


07-10-2010, 07:21 PM
other than revenue-it also has created a army of junkies! what a mess.



12-15-2017, 05:25 PM
Thread re-opened as this BBC News item is different and intriguing:
The UN has warned of a rise in trafficking of the synthetic opioid tramadol across West Africa, as one official revealed it is being found in the pockets of suicide bombers.....The opioid is known to be popular with Islamist militants Boko Haram.Link:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-42326253

Moderator at work

Two small threads were merged after opening and the title changed from: Drug Intoxicated Irregular Fighters and Drug Trafficking and Middle Eastern Terrorist Groups, to 'Drug use by insurgents and terrorists'.

12-19-2017, 12:57 PM
The Islamist militant group Hezbollah exploded into a major cocaine trafficker for the United States over the past decade — and it happened under former President Barack Obama's watch to help score a nuclear deal with Iran, a report revealed Monday.
Project Cassandra, a campaign launched by the Drug Enforcement Administration in 2008, found that the Iran-backed military and political organization collected $1 billion a year from money laundering, criminal activities, and drug and weapons trade, according to Politico. Over the following eight years, the agency found that Hezbollah was involved in cocaine shipments from Latin America to West Africa, as well as through Venezuela and Mexico to the United States.