Threat and Violence
Terrorism and transnational crime are often spoken to be of the same sphere. People say that they are the same; others say they are not. Actually, both have differences and similarities. By definition itself, crime is a law-breaking act. And it is something that could be punishable by law. Transnational crime, however, is a crime done in a particular place but extends its effect(s) upon the other countries and states. In effect, these crimes destroy and offend any values and partnerships in the international community. On the contrary, terrorism is a human activity that uses terror by means of coercion; it is a violent act that forces something into the society, having particular goals such as religious, ideological, economic, or political intentions. To say it, terrorism is used to identify violent acts that are politically and often emotionally stimulated. In fact, it is these political, religious, ideological, and/or economic intentions that make the term hard for description. The greater difference between the two is that in terrorism violence is indiscriminately done upon the public. That is, everyone – whatever race, gender or status one has – is drastically affected.
However, terrorists and transnational criminal groups share some common characteristics; history attests that they could be transformed and developed into having similar goals and organizational compositions. Thus, in general, the two can be similar through the following ways: having common tactics and methods; the process of transformation from one type of group into the other; and the short-term or long-term transaction-based service-for-hire activities within the groups (Rollins, Wyler, & Rosen, 2010). Criminal groups could develop into having greater organizational composition and more capabilities, by which they may also be able to do violence in greater extents. But in a more dangerous manner, the groups are more likely to join each other through shared goals – especially financial gains and politics-related intentions.
In order to identify what actions are necessary to treat both violent schemes, factors that sustain such activities should be identified as well. Of course, since the issue of transnational crime and terrorism is very wide (because the human mind is somehow incomprehensible, human activities are also unanticipated), identification of such factors are limited. Two major factors that sustain the two violent acts are the globalization and government corruption. As a result of globalization processes, such as globalization of market and large-scale migration, development of cross border flows and international networks also went up (Fiedler, 2010, p. 2) for the advantage of the terrorist and criminal groups. Due to large-scale migration, both groups are able to recruit more people for expanding their strategies. Major developments of technology, trade, and the financial sector have given criminals greater opportunities to exploit vulnerabilities in rising criminal sectors, such as the “cybercrime, credit card fraud, and trade-based money laundering” (Rollins, Wyler, & Rosen, 2010, p. 1). Terrorist groups also became more resilient to financial destruction due to entrepreneurial expansion used for more violent activities. Moreover, another factor that sustains these is the government itself. Through corruption, these groups are able to “minimize the risk of prosecution and therefore do not fear the state institutions” (Shelley, 2005, p. 101). In Islamic-based terrorisms in 1990s, for instance, the drug trade in Afghanistan funded the Taliban and organized crime activities sustained the violence in Chechen and Kosovo (Shelley, 2005). The mafias in Sicily, the Japanese Yakuza, the Chinese triads, etc., are altogether sustained by these two factors. It is doubtless that the government allows this drug trades – which they know will sustain these terrorism and crimes – to operate within their jurisdictions. Furthermore, how will these groups gain arms – guns, bombs, etc. – that they use violently without the supplication from the military groups and/or the financial sustenance from the state institutions?
The development of various security measures against international crimes and terrorism started before and after the September 11, 2001 event in US. One thing to do is intensification of private and public security. Like the Emergency Provisions Act (EPA) in United Kingdom, the police and army should be given broader powers to arrest even those who are just suspected as terrorists (Breau, Livingstone, & O’Connell, n.d.). Explosive-detecting canines and surveillance/alarm systems should be well provided in both public and private places. Another is unity between international states and countries. Unions like the European Union and the United Nations should be very well established to make accountability – which is to deal with criminal and terrorist groups, as well as campaign for peace – among the countries. However, since we have seen that the goals of these violent acts are against the government sectors, the government should reach for these people. It could somehow be wise if they will restrict these groups from the global economy – as some anti-terrorism acts do – but it will only ‘trigger their violence more’. What should be done is making peace with the groups themselves through providing better livelihood. Instead of allowing drug trades and human trafficking – which only make way to provide for criminal purposes – the government should give them good-paying and legal means of living. Most of these groups are isolated from the civilized and developed cities/places in states and countries. Thus, they tend to feel that they are not part of the community; they are more likely to be against the public. These people should be placed in the society as contributors, not as enemies. They should be granted technology, money, and land to cultivate for the purpose of national and global development. The government should peacefully reach out to them, making them realize that they are part of humanity and that they are people who are also capable of developing things for the better good of everyone – not for the worse. It is all about giving them the [legal] rights and privileges of a common people, not putting restrictions upon them.
Breau, S., Livingstone, S., & O’Connell, R. (n.d.). Anti-terrorism law and human rights in the
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Fiedler, R. (2010). Links between terrorism and transnational crime groups. Norderstedt, DE:
Rollins, J., Wyler, L. S., & Rosen, S. (2010). International terrorism and transnational crime:
Security threats, U.S. policy, and considerations for congress. Collingdale, PA: Diane
Shelley, L. (2005). The unholy trinity: Transnational crime, corruption, and terrorism. Brown
Journal of World Affairs, 11(2), 101-111.