Date of Award

Fall 2019

Degree Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

School

Social Science and Global Studies

Committee Chair

Dr. Robert J. Pauly

Committee Chair School

Social Science and Global Studies

Committee Member 2

Dr. Joseph J. St. Marie

Committee Member 2 School

Social Science and Global Studies

Committee Member 3

Dr. Tom Lansford

Committee Member 3 School

Social Science and Global Studies

Abstract

With the spread of terrorism and its growing risks since the start of the 21st century, a wide range of reports and studies have emerged. This funding comes from a special relationship between terrorist organizations, organized crime syndicates, and their cooperation with each other, which has enabled terrorist organizations in particular to carry out recruitment efforts and operations alike. It has also fueled an international black market for smuggling and trade in drugs and arms. Under what conditions do violent terrorist groups driven by extreme Islamist ideology collaborate with organized criminal enterprises to generate the requisite resources to pursue their strategic objectives? Given that question, this thesis assessed the extent of the validity of the following hypothesis/central argument: As Islamist extremist terrorist groups’ financial needs increase, they are more likely to use collaboration with organized criminal enterprises, relative to other sources, as their principal means of funding. It has also assessed the extent of the argument through the presentation of comparative case studies on Western Europe and the Sahel of North/West Africa. The findings indicate that the lines of demarcation between terrorist groups and criminal organizations operating in both Western Europe and the Sahel are becoming increasingly blurred. It could, reasonably, be argued that terrorism in Western Europe and the Sahel of North/West Africa is a variant of serious organized crime in view of the modus operandi of Islamist extremist movements and their mode of financing.

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