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Trafficking/terrorism nexus in Eurasia

PI: Mariya Omelicheva, University of Kansas

Year Selected for Award: 2015

Trafficking/terrorism nexus in Eurasia

Principal Investigator: Mariya Omelicheva, University of Kansas

Co-investigator: Lawerence Markowitz, Rowan University

Years of Award: 2015-2018

Managing Service Agency: Office of Naval Research

Project Description:

The convergence of terrorist and criminal milieus threatens international peace and security. Yet, the prevalence of the crime-terror nexus remains overestimated and often poorly understood by much of the academic and policy worlds. Through the systematic analysis of trafficking/terrorist intersections in Eurasia, this Program investigates the following research questions:

(1) What conditions facilitate or obstruct the formation of trafficking/terrorism alliances and changes in trafficking/terrorism intersections?
(2) What is the nature of trafficking/terrorism connections (how do they vary across countries)?
(3) What is the capacity of national and foreign governments and international organizations to prevent, monitor, and dismantle the trafficking/terrorism nexus?

The program confirmed that the trafficking/ terrorism nexus does not occur randomly. Certain geospatial and socioeconomic factors as well as the critical involvement of the state in illicit economies facilitate the convergence of terrorism with crime. The program disconfirmed an assumption that intersections of drug trafficking or human trafficking with terrorism are necessarily a prevalent, or even a common, occurrence, and questioned a simplistic view of drug trafficking as a driver of the nexus and an amplifier of terrorism.

Owl in the Olive Tree post:
Beneath the "Crime-Terror Nexus": Local Power Struggles, Competition over Resources, and Corrupt State

Associated Publications:
Markowitz, Lawrence P., and Mariya Y. Omelicheva. 2018. Disciplined And Undisciplined Repression: Illicit Economies And State Violence In Central Asia’s Autocracies. Post-Soviet Affairs. 34(6): 367-383.
Omelicheva, Mariya Y, and Lawrence P Markowitz. 2019. Webs Of Corruption. Columbia University Press.
Omelicheva, Mariya Y., and Lawrence P Markowitz. 2018. Does Drug Trafficking Impact Terrorism? Afghan Opioids And Terrorist Violence In Central Asia. Studies In Conflict & Terrorism. 1-23.
Omelicheva, Mariya. 2017. Eurasia’s CSTO And SCO: A Failure To Address The Trafficking/Terrorism Nexus.
Omelicheva, Mariya. 2018. The Nature And Sources Of Terrorist Threat In Russia: An “Armed Underground" Or ISIL?
Omelicheva, Mariya. 2017. U.S. Security Assistance To Central Asia: Examining Limits, Exploring Opportunities.