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1.1. Introductory remarks

Terrorism and organized crime are regarded by the researchers as the most serious delinquencies in the contemporary world. However, only a negligible number of researchers have managed to make specific insights into the available intersections between the vicious natures of both phenomena. In other words, terrorism and organized crime, being separate types of illicit activities, are regarded by certain scholars as reciprocal.

Thus, Grabovsky and Stohl (2010) are disposed to think that organized crime and terrorism are similar in some respects. Taking into consideration the suggested feasibility of Grabovsky and Stohl’s approach to the issues of terrorism and organized crime, it should be asserted that the present study is going to follow the author’s way of thinking in order to verify the existence of linkages between terrorism and organized crime. Moreover, the current independent research is conceived to detect those ties between the analyzed phenomena that the previous authors have ignored. Also, the most appropriate methodology is deemed to provide sufficient furtherance on the road towards the scientific success.

1.2. Theoretical framework

The core purpose of the current study lies in the exploration of relationship between organized crime and terrorism. Moreover, the present research is conceived to clarify both separate and joint menaces of terrorism and organized crime to the present world. To elaborate further, there will be evaluated in the current research both theoretical and practical implications of anti-terrorist policy measures in order to expand criminology empirical and theoretical domain. Hence, the thesis statement needs to be formulated as follows: There is an undeniable interplay between terrorism and organized crime, which is dictated by common requirements for prosperity and survival.  In order to augment the coherence and logical consistency of the study appropriate research objectives must be elaborated. The research objectives should be enumerated as follows:

  • To expound on both theoretical and practical dimensions of the phenomenon of terrorism.
  • To explicate the phenomenon of organized crime in its relation to terrorism.
  • To examine the nexus between terrorism and organized crime.
  • To investigate the implications of anti-terrorist policies, as well as their secondary impacts on organized crime.

Also, the success of the present study highly depends on the proper answers to the research questions, which must be specified as follows:

  1. Is there a direct nexus between organized crime and terrorism?
  2. What types of organized crime are compatible with terrorist activities?
  3. Are there sorts of organized crime stringently focused on the attainment of political spoils or achievements beside the profit-making activities?
  4.  What are benefits in the cooperation between organized crime and terrorist organizations?

Apart from the above, the current study is going to test the following research hypotheses: a) Organized crime and terrorism intersect only if interdependent interests between two types of illicit organizations emerge; b) The transition from organized crime to terrorism, and vice versa, is possible only if the “status quo” of previous activities changes; c) There are no universal panacea against terrorism and organized crime and, therefore, each emergent threat requires individually elaborated countermeasures.


2.1. Introductory remarks

The core significance of the present chapter lies in its capability to demonstrate all relevant to the research objective opinions, approaches, and judgments of previous authors. However, the current chapter is not composed merely to depict the already comprehended findings in respect of terrorism and organized crime, but rather to attain the research objectives by means of the critical evaluation of the secondary data.

Furthermore, the available researches are considered to be helpful in grasping the meaning of the terms. However, it should be taken into consideration that the review of existent publications is a secondary data collection method. Therefore, the method of literature review, being insufficient for the ubiquitously valid and reliable study, is going to be supplemented by appropriate primary data collection method, described in the chapter “Methodology”.

2.2. Terrorism

2.2.1. Definition of terrorism

First and foremost, it might be appropriate to note that there are a large number of various definitions of terrorism. Grabovsky and Stohl (2010) give preference to the determination of terrorism as “an act or threat of violence to create fear and/or compliant behavior in a victim or wider audience for the purpose of achieving political ends” (p. 5).

Also, according to the U.S. Code the concept of terrorism is associated with premeditated, politically motivated violence, which is conducted against noncombatant targets by subnational groups of clandestine agents (U.S. Code Title 22, Ch.38, Par. 2656 f(d)). The aforesaid definition of terrorism accentuates on the following characteristics of the phenomenon: a) - the politically motivated deliberate actions; b) - the actions are directed against noncombatant targets; c) - the actions are performed by sub-national groups of clandestine agents.

To put it briefly, the US Code does not recognize any other motivation of terrorism with the exception of political. It means that each terrorist act is conceived to deliver a peculiar message in order to incite the players in the domain of politics to either perform certain actions or refrain from conducting specific deeds. In the context of the second particularity of terrorism, a mental note should be made that the US Code confines the range of targets of terrorists by noncombatants only. Hence, it follows that any politically motivated action, which is conducted against combatants is not recognized as a terrorist act.

Furthermore, the U.S. Code prescribes that terrorist’s acts are performed exclusively by sub-national groups of clandestine agents. Taking into consideration the aforementioned constituent of the US legal definition of terrorism, it is possible to notice that the US Code does not admit the possibility of the terrorist’s acts conducted by lone perpetrators. According to the US statutory law, a terrorist act may be conducted by a group of people only. Moreover, the aforesaid groups of people must consist of clandestine agents, who are well-disguised in order to surpass the law-enforcement and security agencies.

In view of the above, the legal definition of terrorism, which is available from the US Code, is insufficient for the comprehensive evaluation of its characteristics. To elaborate further, it should be noted that there is a large number of various definitions of terrorism in the domain of international law and politics.

For instance, United Nations Security Council Resolution 1566 offers the definition of terrorists’ acts as “criminal acts”, particularly against citizens, which are committed with the intent to inflict death or serious bodily injury, or capturing of hostages, aiming to ignite a “state of terror” in the general public or within a particular group of persons, and to incite the authorities to do or to abstain from doing any act (UN Security Council Resolution 1566, 2004).

Taking into account the characteristics of terrorism, which are expressed in the aforesaid definition, it should be conceded that the international apprehension of the term is much wider than that in the US Code. Thus, the principal disparities between the already analyzed definitions lie in the fact that the UN Convention does not confine the range of targets affected by terrorists’ acts. The convention prescribes that terrorism particularly, but not exclusively, strikes against citizens.

In contradistinction to the international conception of terrorism, the US Code constricts the targets of terrorism to noncombatants only. In this light, the acts of violence against military men are not considered to be terrorists’ acts according to the US Code, which evinces one of the drawbacks of the legal statute.

Nevertheless, both definitions condemn the existence of terrorism in all forms. Also, in both documents terrorism is defined as a politically motivated violence, which makes terrorism extremely threatening not only to individual humans, but also to the stability in political systems and global community. In order to grasp the salient features of terrorism, a more profound analysis is required.   

2.2.2. Theoretical and practical dimensions of terrorism

Investigating the nature of terrorism, it is possible to agree with Grabovsky and Stohl (2010) that terrorism is a rather ancient phenomenon, which is enrooted in the history of human civilization. According to the author, the phenomenon of “crime”, which is frequently used correlatively with the notion of terrorism, is much more contemporary concept than terrorism itself.

The authors reckon that crime is purely social and political compound, which depends on the capabilities of authoritative prescription of law (Grabovsky and Stohl, 2010, p. 4).

As far as the problem of terrorism is concerned, it might be appropriate to note that various countries define terrorism differently. Notwithstanding this, it is still possible to discern forms of terrorism and evaluate the dimensions of each form. According to Grabovsky and Stohl (2010), contemporary terrorism manifests itself predominantly in such forms as bombing, kidnapping, and assassinations (p. 36). In the context of the first form, it is possible to notice that explosives are usually positioned and detonated “when distributed by the victim” (Grabovsky and Stohl, 2010, p. 36).

Furthermore, there are several ways the bomb to be activated. For example, the bomb may be set off by a timing device. Otherwise, the bombs may be detonated by triggering a remote control. In this case, the construction of bombs may be very simple including a mobile phone as its constituent. Besides, the researchers accentuate on an alternative method of bombing - the direct bearers of bombs as suicide bombers (Grabovsky and Stohl, 2010, p. 36).

The destructive capabilities of suicide bombers may be dramatically exemplified by the events of 9/11 attacks, in which the aircrafts have been hijacked and subsequently used as flying bombs against prominent or densely populated targets. A mental note should be made that the menace of the aforesaid type of bombing lies in the potentiality of suicide bombers to reach the target as tightly as possible, which inevitably causes a large-scale damage.

Additionally, it is possible to give prominence to such hazardous type of bombing as the use of chemical, biological, or radiological weapons, as well as the phenomenon of “cyber-terrorism”, which imposes threats of terrorists’ attacks by means of the malicious use of the Internet and computer technologies.

As far as cyber-terrorism is concerned, it might be relevant to claim that each attack against a governmental or major commercial website must manifest the previously analyzed salient features of terrorism in order to be qualified as such. In determining the nature of cyber-terrorism, Grabovsky and Stohl (2010) make use of Professor Dorothy Denning’s elaborations that cyber-terrorism is “unlawful attacks against computers, networks and the information stored therein when done to intimidate or coerce a government or its people in furtherance of political or social objectives” (Grabovsky and Stohl, 2010, p. 38). In this light, Denning’s definition of cyber-terrorism helps to discern the phenomenon from other cyber-crimes. Assuredly, the distinguishing features of cyber-terrorism lie in its political motivation, coupled with the intention to intimidate or coerce either a government or its people. This notwithstanding, some researchers believe that the threats of cyber-terrorism are exaggerated (Lachow and Richardson, 2009).  

To elaborate further, the researchers are disposed to think that targeted assassination as the second widely spread form of terrorism, has always been a well-recognized tactic of terrorist groups for many centuries (Grabovsky and Stohl, 2010, p. 36). In this sense, the standard victims of target assassinations are senior public officials, as well as the representatives of law-enforcement agencies and military personnel.

In such a manner, it should be clarified that the related kidnapping is frequently regarded as a common tactic of terrorism, as well as a separate form of the phenomenon. Geographically, the technique of kidnapping is frequently practiced in diverse locations, such as Pakistan, Colombia, Mexico, Somalia, Afghanistan, and Philippines. Grabovsky and Stohl (2010) are prone to believe that there can be several motives for kidnapping: a) - the intention to gain ransom for the promotion of other terrorists’ operations; b) - to capture hostages in order to “extract concessions from an adversary”; c) - to make a psychological effect (p. 37).

As far as the third motive is concerned, it might be appropriate to note that the distribution of beheadings of kidnapping victims around the globe via the Internet inevitably makes an appalling psychological impact on the targeted audience.

Apart from the above, it should be conceded that terrorism is practiced not only by a group of people but also by lone individuals. According to Grabovsky and Stohl’s considerations, it is possible to discern a wide range of motives, which incite persons and groups of persons to commit terroristic acts. To all the intents and purpose, the most popular impetuses to terrorism may be explicated as follows: a) - a generalized protest; b) - a desire for revenge in response to an apprehended injustice; c) - an incentive to change the political regime, or d) - an aspiration to assert a sense of manhood in a “disempowering world” (Grabovsky and Stohl, 2010, p. 37).

Taking into consideration the above-mentioned examples of motives which drive the perpetrators to commit terroristic acts, it should be elucidated that contemporary forms of terrorism are frequently provoked by the dissatisfaction over the presence of occupational foreign forces in the homelands of terrorists. For instance, Osama bin Laden has unambiguously expressed outrage at the presence of US forces in Saudi Arabia, the Islam’s country of origin (Grabovsky and Stohl, 2010, p. 37).

To generalize, it should be remarked that the aforementioned dimensions of terrorism give birth to the discussion of levels, in which terrorism functions. However, the significance of such discussion requires the creation of a separate element of the research. Thus, the peculiarities and reciprocities between state terrorism and international level of terrorism are going to be discussed in the following subsection.

2.2.3. State Terrorism versus International terrorism

The issue of state terrorism is very profound, whereas the term of “state terrorism” is not well-discussed in the contemporary literature. According to the researchers, the essence of state terrorism is genuinely variegated (Grabovsky and Stohl, 2010, p. 37). The fact is that particular states are prone to engage in terrorism in order to restrain their own citizens, or to attain certain political aim in relation to another state, or to gain a specific political purpose vis-à-vis some non-state group.

Taking into account Grabovsky and Stohl’s reflections on the phenomenon of state terrorism, it should be construed that the first version of state terrorism implies the infliction of harm, both physical and psychological, by state authorities on the citizens of the same country. The aforesaid type of terrorism manifests itself as a stringently national violence, which takes place within the borders of one state. The historical cases of such acts may be exemplified by the terror in the Soviet Union, Saddam’s Iraq, and Ottoman Turkey etc. The distinctiveness of the first type of state terrorism lies in the character of terrorists’ measures, which are conducted by the state within its borders and against its citizens.

As far as the second and third types of state terrorism are concerned, it might be appropriate to note that a state may be involved in terroristic acts, which are conducted against the citizens of another state, or the members of a non-state group. Also, the researchers emphasize the variability of state complicity in terrorism.

Thus, according to Grabovsky and Stohl (2010), state can be involved in terroristic acts through the actions of either state employees or private contractors, or private citizens, who are encouraged or assisted by the state (p. 37). Hence, it follows that state terrorism implies either direct actions or indirect actions of the state, which may be legally qualified as terroristic acts.

To elaborate further, state terrorism must be distinguished from international terrorism. In order to evaluate the dimensions and functionality of state terrorism, the phenomenon of international terrorism must be analyzed in detail.

Broadly speaking, international terrorism should be regarded as the terrorists’ practices in a foreign country, practiced by terrorists who are not the native to that state. In this connection, it is prudent to suggest that salient features of international terrorism are approachable by way of analyzing international terroristic groups as non-state actors in the domain of international politics (Shanty and Mishra, 2007, pp. 342-345).

Theoretically, a lone perpetrator is incapable to plan, get supplies, and perform terroristic acts in the territory of a foreign country without diligence furtherance. In other words, only a group of people may become an actual threat in the area of international terrorism. Moreover, the superiority of non-state terroristic groups over lone terrorists is dictated by the necessity to have a well-ramified organizational links in various countries, as well as to maintain global financial networks (Shanty and Mishra, 2007, pp. 345).

In view of the above, it is possible to notice that international terrorism is much more complicated level of terrorism than state terrorism. However, in order to make certain conclusions about the nature of both levels of terrorism, a comparative analysis must be conducted. Due to the comparative analysis, it is possible to outline the most apparent similarities and discrepancies between state terrorism and international terrorism:

  • State terrorism is perpetrated either directly or indirectly through private persons, or latently, by official authorities of a particular state, whereas international terrorism is usually represented by non-state terroristic groups or non-governmental organizations.
  • The acts of state terrorism are frequently conducted by a state in its territory and against its citizens or non-state groups. Contrary to state terrorism, international terrorism is always practiced by non-state players in the territory of one or more foreign states. Also, the targets of international terrorists may particularly include state officials.
  • State terrorism is both financed and supported by state authorities. As for international terrorism, sometimes, the funds for international terrorists’ activities may be obtained by non-state terroristic groups from disposed countries. However, international terroristic organizations are usually capable to support themselves independently. International terroristic entities exploit various illicit methods of accumulating funds, including their engagement in criminal activities, as well as the cooperation with organized crime.

More detailed examination of the nexus between terrorism and organized crime is available in the next sections of the literature review.

2.3. Organized crime

2.3.1. Definition of organized crime

As far as organized crime is concerned, it might be appropriate to note that this term is consistent with the general definition of crime beyond controversy. Thus, according to Grabovsky and Stohl (2010), crime is a relatively modern concept. At ancient times, the phenomenon of crime is not existent because of the natural state of people’s inhabitance, in which all disputes are resolved by means of physical force and customs.

However, it should be conceded that the evolution of societies into human civilizations makes the rules, regulating behavior of people being more formal and strict (Grabovsky and Stohl, 2010, p. 4). The transformation from the natural liberty to stringent rules of behavior should be associated with the formation of states and development of law. Hence, it follows that only law, as a state or inter-state system of formal and obligatory norms, particularly defines what actions are socially acceptable ones and what behaviors are crimes.

Therefore, from the legal point of view, the concept of “organized crime” must be understood as “a widespread group of professional criminals who rely on illegal activities as a way of life and whose activities are coordinated and controlled through some form of centralized syndicate” (Wild, 2006, p. 192). The aforesaid widely accepted definition of “organized crime” emphasizes the following characteristics of the phenomenon: a) - a highly proliferated group of criminals; b) - the illicit members of organized crime are professional criminals; c) - illegal activities of the group are the main means of subsistence for its members; d) - the group is highly structured, being controlled in a manner of the centralized syndicate.

As far as the first element of the definition is concerned, it should be clarified that organized crime is always a group of people with a well-elaborated structure and control. Thus, the prosperity and success of organized crime is utterly dependent on the ability of its members to organize a hierarchical entity. In the context of the second salient feature of organized crime, it should be expounded that only expert and specialist in criminals with a certain level of criminal experience and record are allowed to participate in organized crime, because the aforesaid form of criminal subsistence neither tolerates amateurs nor  accepts occasional people.

To continue, the third element of the definition implies that criminals take part in organized crime with the primal intention to sustain their existence in the society exclusively by means of organized crime. It means that organized crime does not function as a temporary group of perpetrators who are gathered for a single purpose. Finally, the fourth constituent of the definition states that organized crime is controlled and governed similar to centralized syndicates. The aforesaid method of administration is presumably the most suitable in ensuring the integrity and efficiency of organized crime.

Robert Hanser, Kaine Jones and Walonda Wallace (2008) offer another batch of simple definitions of organized crime. Thus, according to Larry Siegel, organized crime should be apprehended as “the ongoing criminal enterprise groups whose ultimate purpose is personal economic gain through illegitimate means” (Hanser et al., 2008, p. 10). In view of the above, organized crime is defined from economical perspective as a conglomerate of business entities, which are established predominantly for the purpose of personal enrichment.

Furthermore, Alan Block and William Chambliss approach to organized crime as to “those illegal activities connected with the management and coordination of racketeering and the vices, particularly illegal drugs, illegal gambling, usury, and prostitution” (Hanser et al., 2008, p. 10). The aforesaid definition of organized crime is conceived to delineate the phenomenon through the specification of particular crimes.

Additionally, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), in defining the concept of organized crime, takes into consideration any group of some formalized structure, “whose primary objective is to obtain money through illegal activities” (Hanser et al., 2008, p. 10). Therefore, the FBI gives prominence to the salient features of organized crime, such as formalized structure of a group, primary objective of gaining profit, and unlawful means of enrichment.     

Apart from the above, it should be explicated that organized crime manifests itself as the most complex as well as one of the most dangerous form of criminal activities alongside with terrorism. This notwithstanding, the United States and international community are reluctant to recognize the phenomenon of “organized crime” as a separate kind of criminal offences. Thereby, Grabovsky and Stohl (2010) ascertain that many activities of organized crime are deemed to be “violations of conventional criminal law” and should be regarded as “ordinary offences” (p. 29).

Grabovsky and Stohl (2010) emphasize the most disputable feature of organized crime - its manifold nature. To be precise, organized crime is not a criminal offence according to traditional legal conceptions, but a combination of various offences. Thence, the aforesaid peculiarity distinguishes organized crime from terrorism. In contrast to organized crime, terrorism is defined by criminal and international laws as an independent crime.     

Also, it might be appropriate to note that the definition of organized crime as a synthesis of different criminal offences gives birth to the obstacles on the road towards the quantification of the phenomenon. It is very difficult to quantify organized crime due to its sheer diversity. Thus, the researchers assay that the concept of organized crime comprises numerous offences, such as piracy, people smuggling, manufacturing and proliferation of drugs, and others (Grabovsky and Stohl, 2010, p. 30).

All things being considered, it is possible to presuppose that a mere definition of organized crime is insufficient for the formation of a profound comprehension of the phenomenon. In this connection, a thorough clarification of both theoretical and practical dimensions of organized crime must be performed next.

2.3.2. Theoretical and practical dimensions of organized crime

Continuing the discussion, it is reasonable to make a categorization of various types of activities, which are comprised by the concept of organized crime. According to Ruggiero (2008), organized crime may be classified as predatory, parasitic, and symbolic (p. 35).

The explanation of the aforementioned types of organized crime is justified by the necessity to evaluate the nexus between organized crime and terrorism, which is going to be detected in the following sections of the present study. Hence, Ruggiero’s first category of organized crime should be construed through the causation theories concerning “notions of strain, subculture, or relative deprivation” (Ruggiero, 2008, p. 35).

In other words, the theoretical dimensions of the predatory organized crime imply that the individuals or groups of persons, who share socially acceptable goals but possess no legitimate means to attain them, will inevitably retreat to illicit means of “deviant adaptation” (Ruggiero, 2008, p. 36).

It is reasonable to agree with Ruggiero’s emphasis on the issue of “deviant adaptation”, because his judgment corresponds with the general characteristic of organized crime as a conduct of illegal activities with the primal intent to satisfy particular needs and necessities of personal subsistence. Hence, it follows that the factor of “deviant adaptation”, which is inherent to predatory organized crime, can comprehensively explain the motives of people to participate in organized crime.

To elaborate further, the parasitic form of organized crime may be juxtaposed with “service-providing organization” (Ruggiero, 2008, p. 36). To put it briefly, the essence of the parasitic form of organized crime lies in its ability to adjust to the requirements of business environment, providing goods, trust, and protection.

That is parasitic organized crime may be characterized as a separate private industry, which aims at filling the economical gap being left by ineffective state. In this sense, it should be conceded that parasitic organized crime is very efficient and proliferated in those countries, in which state authority is weak, incapable to regulate economical processes and has no power to resist deviant influences (Ruggiero, 2008, p. 36).

In such a manner, it should be asserted that symbiotic forms of organized crime are the most threatening and latent. Briefly speaking, symbiotic organized crime overlaps with entrepreneurship, when criminal enterprises gain access to the legitimate economy and official political arena. According to Ruggiero (2008) the fundamental prerequisites to symbiotic organized crime consist in the particularities of subculture, strain, differential association, and the “inadequacy of the state or the lack of proper entrepreneurial culture” (p. 36).

After the principal categories of organized crime having been analyzed, it is prudent to ascertain the scientific approaches to the causes of the phenomenon. In this connection, Ruggiero (2008) starts the discourse about organized crime by claiming that one of the most apparent preconditions to organized crime, detected by Lombroso, is a long-term existence of the wicked organizations, such as the Mafia and Camorra (p. 36). The aforementioned factor of long-term existence implies that the monotonous reiteration criminal acts changes the nature of such acts transforming them into a custom and subsequently into a norm. Lombroso’s revelations create reasonable grounds for the supposition that the more time organized crime functions, the more enrooted and powerful it is.

To continue, Ruggiero (2008) is prone to believe that Lombroso is correct in his investigations of a substantial causality between organized crime and inadequate government. The aforesaid cause of organized crime implies that the governments, which rule in unjust manner, facilitate the creation of the sense of grievance among people, and, therefore, some groups of people seek to perform and implement their own justice. In this case, the activities of organized crime are justifiable from the common perspective of  the populace.

Another batch of scholars expounds on the causes of the emergence of organized crime by means of the notion of social disorganization. In other words, according to ChicagoSchool theorists, the emergence of organized crime is connected with two reciprocal circumstances. On the one hand, the deterioration of informal social control leads to the formation of organized criminal entities. On the other hand, the emergence of analogous “social and cultural enclaves” fosters the process of criminal organizing (Ruggiero, 2008, p. 37).

Taking into consideration the above-mentioned twofold approach to the issue of organized crime, it should be explicated that the decrease in informal social control is truly responsible for the development of organized crime. The fact is that the prosperity of organized crime depends on the ability of society to control the social environment and prevent the adoption of anti-social behaviors there. If citizens fail to control the environment they are living in, then criminals will experience the lack of restraints for the formation of their own structural society. In this sense, Fernandez-Montalvo, Echeburua and Amor (2005) assay that “the men in the community program group” is more conflictive and emotionally unstable respecting the control of anxiety, jealousy, and anger, than the imprisoned women (p. 164). The aforesaid findings create reasonable grounds to presuppose that the illicit entities, which are dominated by men being more prone to violence and irrational threats.

Apart from the above, a group of researchers believes that the decision to commit serious crime is often dependent on psychopathic traits. Men’s psychological behaviors differ from those of women’s beyond controversy (Echeburua, Fernandez-Montalvo, and Amor, 2006). However, the psychopathic traits sharpen the already available differences.

 The researchers have found that the most distinguishable tendency to commit violent re-offences is presented in the persons with personality disorders and/or substance abuse, whereas non-violent re-offences have not been detected by the scholars (Stadland, Kleindienst, Kroner, Eidt, and Nedopil, 2005, pp. 89-97). Hence, it follows that violent recidivism is more predictable than non-violent re-offences. This knowledge facilitates the investigation of factors affecting personal decisions to participate in organized crime. That is, personal mental disorders and substance abuse should be evaluated in conjunction with traditional incentives to commit serious crimes, such as predatory, parasitic, and symbiotic.  

To elaborate further, it should be presupposed that the essential peculiarities of organized crime can not be understood in the framework of theoretical approaches to the phenomenon only. Thus, practical dimensions of organized crime need to be disclosed next.

Thus, according to Deflem (2006), in practice, the specificities of organized crime are always predefined by the features of the society or a group (p. 100). Therefore, analysis of the organization of the criminal society is the key prerequisite to the apprehension of practical dimensions of organized crime. In this light, various criminal organizations have different hierarchical structure. Mafia, for instance, consists of families. Therefore, the family structure of mafia helps to identify that the peculiarities of social interaction, role-taking, and joint actions are similar to those existent in big families.

In a like manner, the examination of the organization of the gang assists in the process of understanding the actions of a gang member, which are frequently motivated by the desires to achieve respect, reputation, and protection, as well as the gang’s role within the structure of society (Deflem, 2006, p. 100). Assuredly, the practical dimensions of gangs as organized crime may be reduced to actual plans, behaviors and deeds of their members.

When all things are considered, it is possible to make a generalization. The points of the generalization should be enumerated as follows:

  • Organized crime is a very complex and profound phenomenon, which has the direct nexus with the level of social of social development in the state.
  • According to Ruggiero (2008), there are three main categories of organized crime: predatory, parasitic, and symbiotic ones.
  • The emergence of organized crime is connected with various factors, such as social inadequacies, deviant adaptations, strain, grievances, insufficiency of social control, weaknesses of state power, etc.
  • Practical dimensions of organized crime are approachable through the diligent analysis of the structure and role of members of specific criminal organizations.

2.3.3. State organized crime versus transnational organized crime

According to Don Liddick (2008), organized crime should be analyzed on two levels - national (state) and multinational (p. 1). As far as the former is concerned, it might be appropriate to note that the state level of organized crime is represented by gangs and other criminal organizations, which conduct their illicit activities in the territory of one state only. The fact is that the most powerful criminal organizations prioritize the way of international criminal practices, rather than local criminal offences.

However, some illicit organizations do not seek to extend their business to the international level. Moreover, they feel themselves comfortable in their cities, territories, or regions. Nevertheless, even national criminal organizations are sometimes involved in multinational criminal activities due to the necessity of dealing with foreign partner, or laundering their illicitly gained profits abroad.

To all intents and purposes, in the international level, there is a wider range of possibilities and advantages for illicit business than in the national level. Thus, the pursuit of benefits, such as profit and power, is the key precondition to the proliferation of multinational organized crime (Liddick, 2008, p. 1).

In this light, Liddick (2008) reckons that transnational crime can be found in almost every geographical region of our planet. The ability of the organized crime to destabilize state economies is practiced through the following measures: the restraints of trade, functioning of various black markets, illegal trade in arms, tax evasion, trafficking of people, drugs, or other contraband, etc.

Also, Liddick (2008) is disposed to think that the intensification of transnational criminal activities in the contemporary world is affected by different factors. To all the intents and purposes, the core prerequisites to the proliferation of organized crime need to be identified as follows: a) - economic liberalization and globalization; b) - restrictive provisions of prohibition laws, which foster illicit trade; c) - the increasing worldwide demand for illegal goods and services; d) - shortcomings of states and civil wars (Liddick, 2008).

All things being considered, the relationships between national (state) organized crime and transnational (global) organized crime should be generalized as follows:

  • State organized crime, being confined within a single state or a particular intrastate territory, is not potent enough to affect global processes, whereas transnational organized crime is a menacing phenomenon, which is enrooted in the multiplicity of countries.
  • Multinational organized crime is more structured and organized than state organized crime, which is dictated by the primary objective to gain profit from various criminal activities, such as money laundering, trafficking of people, illegal drugs, and goods, functioning of various black markets, fraud, etc.  
  • The proliferation of transnational organized crime is dependent on global processes as well as on gaps in international regulation and policies, including restraints of trade, prohibition laws, liberalization of global economy, etc. In contrast to multinational organized crime, state organized crime predominantly depends on the processes being existent within the borders of a particular state.

In the final analysis, it should be presuppose that, in the international level, the nexus between terrorism and organized crime is the most apparent. However, the aforesaid presupposition must be substantiated with relevant facts and scientific evidence, which are going to be researched in the following section.   


After everything having been given due consideration, it should be generalized that there is a true linkage between terrorism and organized crime, which is ignited by the necessity to survive and thrive in a challenging global environment.  Thus, the thesis statement has been followed and tested as true. Also, the research objectives have been achieved completely:

  • Both theoretical and practical dimensions of the phenomenon of terrorism have been explicated.
  • The phenomenon of organized crime has been evaluated in its relation to terrorism.
  • The nexus between terrorism and organized crime has been ascertained.
  • The implications of anti-terroristic policies, as well as their secondary impacts on organized crime have been depicted.

Also, the success of the conducted study has been augmented by the proper answers to the research questions.

Apart from the above, the conducted study has verified the research hypotheses as true: a) Organized crime and terrorism genuinely intersect only if interdependent interests between two types of illicit organizations emerge; b) The transition from organized crime to terrorism, and vice versa, is possible only if the “status quo” of previous activities changes; c) There are not any universal panacea against terrorism and organized crime and, therefore, each emergent threat requires individually elaborated countermeasures.

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