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Zona Libre: Terror Financing in the Trade Zones of Latin America(Davis)

Zona Libre: Terror Financing in the Trade Zones of Latin America(Davis)

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Published by Ian Davis
Al-Qaeda has developed an extensive support network throughout the world to support its Jihad to destroy the infidel and establish the Caliphate. Although some actors in the Jihad decide to take up arms and engage the infidel directly, the vast majority of support comes from witting and unwitting Muslims and sympathizers in the form of financial and material support. Choking off the financial support to al-Qaeda became a top priority in the U.S. strategy after the 9/11 attacks and is vital to defeating the global Salfi Jihad.
Al-Qaeda has developed an extensive support network throughout the world to support its Jihad to destroy the infidel and establish the Caliphate. Although some actors in the Jihad decide to take up arms and engage the infidel directly, the vast majority of support comes from witting and unwitting Muslims and sympathizers in the form of financial and material support. Choking off the financial support to al-Qaeda became a top priority in the U.S. strategy after the 9/11 attacks and is vital to defeating the global Salfi Jihad.

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Published by: Ian Davis on Dec 19, 2010
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NAVALPOSTGRADUATESCHOOL
MONTEREY, CALIFORNIA
 Zona Libre
:
Countering Terror Financing inthe Trade Zones of the Americas
 byMAJ Ian DavisSO 4601: Terrorist FinancingProfessor Michael Freeman
 
1
 Zona Libre
:
Countering Terrorist Financing in the Trade Zones of the Americas
In May 2010, President Barack Obama released the National Security Strategy of theUnited States of America that codified America¶s continuing commitment to disrupt, dismantle,and defeat al-Qaeda and its far-reaching network of violence and hatred and integrates all of thetools of U.S. national power in a Whole of Government (WOG) approach.
1
While the overtcombat action and violence on the battlefields of Afghanistan and Iraq in the spotlight of theworld, less subtle terror activities are occurring throughout the world. Al-Qaeda has developedan extensive support network throughout the world to support its Jihad to destroy the infidel andestablish the Caliphate. Although some actors in the
 Jihad 
decide to take up arms and engagethe infidel directly, the vast majority of support comes from witting and unwitting Muslims andsympathizers in the form of financial and material support. Choking off the financial support toal-Qaeda became a top priority in the U.S. strategy after the 9/11 attacks and is vital to defeatingthe global Salfi Jihad.
2
 In Spanish,
 Zona Libre
translates to ³Free Zone´ and used interchangeably with
 Zona Franca
to describe Free Trade Zones (FTZs).
3
FTZ is a general term used to describe aneconomic zone that is generally duty-free and has special regulations to maximize benefit totrade and is commonly used as an umbrella for Special Economic Zones (SEZ) established by
1
Barrack Obama,
 National Security Strategy: May 2010
, The White House (Washington, DC:Government Printing Office, May 2010).
2
John Roth, Douglas Greenburg and Serena Wille,
 Monograph on Terrorist Financing 
, NationalCommission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, August21, 2004).
3
Larrousse,
Concise Spanish-English Englis-Spanish Dictionary
, New, ed. Catherine E. Love (New York, New York: Larousse, 1993).
 
2developing nations.
4
The zones are not only free from excessive tariffs, but also from strictoversight that optimizes the conduct of legal and illegal activities in and around the zones. The permissiveness of the environment provided by FTZs affords the perfect conditions for terroristnetworks to establish finance and support infrastructure that facilitates transnational terror operations. The purpose of this paper is to provide the Commander of United States SouthernCommand (USSOUTHCOM) and the Director of the Joint Interagency Task Force South(JIATF-South) background and policy recommendations for disrupting terrorist financing andsupport operations associated with trade zones in the Americas.
Trade Zones
:
A Permissive Environment for Terror Financing
It can be presumed that illicit financing has been around as long as there has been asystem of value-based trade. The human characteristic as a rational actor to maximize theexpected value of outcome brings out the natural competitor in everyone.
5
A successful businessman prides himself on understanding the competitive environment and exploiting factorswhere he has the upper hand. As long as businessmen operate within the norms and lawsdictated by society, the practice of exploiting advantage for personal gain is highly admired. Onthe other hand, those that operate outside the societal boundaries of trade are actors in dark networks that seek to generate income through covert and illegal means.
6
Whether the decisionto commit illicit financial activity is driven by greed or ideology, the mechanics of this activity isessentially the same. A U.S. government study conducted by the Library of Congress in 2002found that criminals, smugglers, drug dealers, insurgents, and terrorists operating in Europe
4
Gokham Akinci and James Crittle,
Special Economic Zones: Performance, Lessons Learned, and  Implications for Zone Development 
, FIAS, World Bank Group (Washington, DC, April 2008).
5
James Fearon, "Rationalist Explanations for War,"
 International Organization
49, no. 3 (1995): 379-414.John Robb,
 Brave New War: The Next Stage of Terrorism and the End of Globalization
(Hoboken, NewJersey: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2007).
6
Jorg Raab and H. Brinton Milward, "Dark Networks as Problems,"
 Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory
13, no. 4 (October 2003): 413-439.
 

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