"This study looks at the interrelationship between illicit activity in the economic and political arenas. It offers a different perspective on the global illicit marketplace and the connectivity between crime and terror through examining the relationships of those who produce and profit from fear for financial or political purposes. Looking across a range of illicit activities that include terrorism, the illegal narcotics trade, organized crime, human smuggling and political corruption, the network analysis includes 2,700 individuals linked by 15,000 relationships spanning 122 countries. Conventional wisdom suggests that criminal-terrorist connectivity is a phenomenon found in failed and economically poor states. This argument relies on four assumptions: (1) poor economic conditions drive people into the illicit sectors; (2) criminal and terrorist actors are more likely to thrive in environments with weak governments and poverty; (3) because it is easy for terrorist and criminals to cooperate, they will; (4) governmental and illicit actors are adversaries. The results of this study suggest that there is good reason to question each of these assumptions and in turn to revisit the fundamental empirical data relating to and explanations of crime-terror connectivity."
Combating Terrorism Center at West Point: https://www.ctc.usma.edu/