Terrorism and Transnational Organized Crime

3 credits / 9 weeks weeks
6 Apr 2020 - 5 Jun 2020

Professor Jorrit Kamminga

Narco-terrorism, narco-jihadism, narco-insurgency, mafia-state, narco-state and even narco-terror state: many labels have been used in the past decades to describe the interlinkages between international phenomena such as the illicit drugs economy, transnational organized crime, conflict and terrorism. Mexico’s dire situation has been described as a narco-conflict. Colombia’s FARC and Afghanistan’s Taliban have both been depicted as drug cartels in recent years. In Afghanistan, NATO has even been bombing heroin processing laboratories since November 2017 to combat ‘Taliban’s narcotics financing’. 
This course on Terrorism and Transnational Organized Crime explores the linkages between crime, terrorism and conflict as key global governance challenges in the 21st century. It aims to help students develop a nuanced view about the extent to which such interlinkages are real or political fabrications to promote certain policies. It also explores main trends. What is the effect of globalization? What has been the influence of 9/11, Al Qaeda and Islamic State on this debate? Is it true, as Robert Muggah and John P. Sullivan claimed in a recent Foreign Policy article from September 2018 that future conflicts will mostly be waged by drug cartels, mafia groups, criminal gangs, and terrorist organizations?
The course will relate these issues to the policy positions of states and international institutions. For example, in Afghanistan there has been quite a political push after 2005 by both the United Nations and NATO to increasingly link the Taliban to the illicit opium economy. What has been the effect of such ‘securitization moves’? The course will also discuss the link between the illicit trade of natural resources in relation to conflict. What are the trends when it comes to the role of so-called conflict resources in perpetuating civil wars and other conflicts?




Jorrit Kamminga

Dr. Jorrit Kamminga is Senior Fellow at the Netherlands Institute of International Relations Clingendael and Policy Lead Inclusive Peace and Security for Oxfam. He holds a PhD in International Relations from the University of Valencia. He is also an advisor to Oxfam in Afghanistan. Throughout his career, Jorrit Kamminga’s main academic specialization has been counter-narcotics policy within the broader nexus of security and development. Ever since graduating from the University of Groningen in 2002 with a thesis on the linkages between the ‘War on Terror’ and the ‘War on Drugs’, he has remained fascinated by the interlinkages between the illicit drugs economy, transnational organized crime, conflict and terrorism. Dr. Kamminga has conducted research into counter-narcotics policy and alternative livelihoods in Afghanistan and Colombia. On the topic of alternative development – development-driven projects aimed at shifting farmers from illicit to licit crop cultivation – he has been a research consultant for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)’s flagship publication, the World Drug Report in 2015 and for UNODC’s Bulletin on Narcotics (Volume LXI, 2017). In April 2014, he received his Ph.D. from the University of Valencia (Spain) following research on the nexus between economic security and alternative livelihood strategies for coca farmers in Colombia. Based on field research in the Colombian regions of Meta, Tumaco and Santa Marta, this experience again showed how closely the illicit drug trade is intertwined with patterns of conflict and fragility. In addition to his experience in Colombia, Dr. Kamminga has been working on the ground in Afghanistan since 2005, inter alia conducting field research in Helmand and Kandahar, carrying out opinion surveys with military-aged youth across the country, filming Afghanistan’s ‘Facebook Generation’ in Kabul and working with Chronoscoop on the 2009 documentary Afghanistan, Land of Wonders about the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.


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