Illicit Drug Funding: The Surprising Systemic Similarities Between the FARC and the Taliban [open pdf - 2MB]
From the thesis abstract: "The preponderance of literature and scholarly debate on counterinsurgency (COIN) focuses on the strategic or operational approach: leader-focused; large group-focused; special operations; conventional operations; enemy centric; and the latest, population-centric. While the criticism on the latter approach accuses it of plagiarizing work on the subject written in the 1960s, the current debate may result in distraction from how to effectively do long-term damage to insurgent groups. There is a relatively small conglomerate of scholarly work that focuses on the illicit sources of funding for insurgencies. More to the point, this work addresses the commonalities of this type of funding among seemingly disparate insurgent groups. This monograph will present case studies on the two groups that details their origins, ostensible reasons for existing, and how both groups came to subsume the cultivation, production, and trafficking of illicit drugs into their organizations. A comparison of the two groups as complex systems as well as the correlations drawn between illicit crop cultivation and the size and strength of both groups will underscore this. Illicit drug funding is not simply a functional effort that is subordinate to the COIN approach 'du jour.' Any serious study of how to defeat these two groups absolutely must consider leveraging what has become both groups' primary source of financing against them."
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