Terrorism breeds new threats
Terrorists are increasingly cooperating with criminal gangs, while Lebanon could go the way of Libya.
Two developments in the strategies and tactics of terrorism merit careful analysis:
One is the growing nexus between terrorist organizations and criminal gangs. That relationship has existed for years in Colombia, where drug gangs have been allied with the terrorist organizations FARC and ELN. The terrorists provide protection and the gangs provide financing. It is a purely commercial arrangement; with equivalent value-added on both sides.
In the Middle East this combination takes various forms. Both Hezbollah and Hamas were to some extent self-financed, through the profits from smuggling. It is estimated that Hezbollah acquires about 40% of its yearly budget of some $500 million from the proceeds of smuggling. The same was true of Hamas, until the Egyptians closed the smuggling tunnels between Gaza and Sinai, which plunged Hamas into a financial crisis which continues to worsen. The Islamic State (IS) makes money from looting banks in the areas it controls and trying to sell oil from the fields it occupies. Most of these activities require cooperation with criminal distribution and sales networks.