The utilisation of transnational organised crime by Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant
Traditionally, terrorist organisations and organised crime groups have been viewed as two separate entities that diverge in strategic objectives, ideological principles, motives and operational strategy. However, upon examining terrorist organisations which have displayed operational longevity or have made a large-scale global impact, such as Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (IS), it is inferable that an organisation’s involvement in transnational crime has been complementary to their operational and strategic success. This thesis presents a comparative case study analysis of both Al-Qaeda and IS’ utilisation of transnational crime and assesses the extent to which transnational crime has supported these terrorist organisations. The research will be framed as a qualitative study with information sourced through document analysis and online data searching. Preliminary results yielded suggest that transnational organised crime is utilised by Al-Qaeda and IS as an avenue for operational financing, resource acquisition and human-resource acquisition. The specific avenues include; the acquisition and selling of antiquities, kidnapping for ransom, human trafficking and drug trafficking. The discussion presented in this thesis may aid in the development of more comprehensively informed counter-terrorism responses and policy. Furthermore, key operational centres of gravity relating to differing terrorist organisations will be determined.