This report is part of the United Nations University Centre for Policy Research’s Crime-Conflict Nexus Series
Since the terrorist attacks of 9/11, it has become obvious that belligerent groups, such as the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan and the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, derive multiple benefits, including extensive financial profits, from participating in illicit economies such as the drug trade. Thus, the international community has come to focus on organized crime, illicit economies, and their relationship to conflict as crucial factors influencing stability. In addition to expanding the resources of terrorist and belligerent groups, the persistence and growth of illegal economies have complicated post-conflict stabilization and reconstruction efforts in countries that have emerged from civil wars, such as Cambodia or Haiti.
The evolved standard understanding is that illicit economies and organized crime fuel conflict, increase the fragility of states, and undermine democratization. Thus reducing conflict, building up state resilience, and promoting democratization—especially in countries in the process of regime transition or post-conflict transition—requires suppressing illicit economies and organized crime.
In this report on the impact of political-criminal alliances in Afghanistan and Myanmar, the author shows the limitations of this conventional wisdom in both its analytical components and its prescriptions. She suggests how a sharpened analysis can give rise to policies with better prospects for reducing the role of illicit economies and crime in post-conflict and regime-change situations.
There is a blog and a brief video interview with the author
This research was funded under the Department for International Development’s Policy Research Fund
Felbab-Brown, Vanda. The Hellish Road to Good Intentions How to Break Political-Criminal Alliancesin Contexts of Transition. United Nations University Centre for Policy Research Crime-Conflict Nexus Series: No 7, April 2017, 9p
The Hellish Road to Good Intentions: How to Break Political-Criminal Alliances in Contexts of Transition
Published 26 September 2016