Criminal Enterprise in the Political Economy of Middle Eastern Terrorism

Matthew Levitt
Content Type
Policy Brief
The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
At least five terrorist suspects who entered the United States illegally from Canada during the Christmas holidays are now the subjects of an international manhunt. The suspects' international travel was apparently facilitated by Pakistani criminal elements engaged in the production of false documents, including forged visas and passports. The nexus between criminal and terrorist activity is not new. Indeed, international terrorism is facilitated and financed by an array of states, groups, fronts, individuals, businesses, banks, criminal enterprises, and nominally humanitarian organizations. Since the attacks of September 11, experts and decisionmakers have focused much attention on charitable and humanitarian organizations, as well as official and unofficial banking systems in the network of terrorist financing. The political economy of terrorism, however, relies just as heavily on legitimate businesses and, increasingly, criminal activity.
Security, Political Economy, Religion
Political Geography
Afghanistan, Africa, United States, Europe, Middle East, Taliban, Arab Countries, Syria, North America