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Criminals, Militias, and Insurgents: Organized Crime in Iraq

Criminals, Militias, and Insurgents: Organized Crime in Iraq

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Dr. Williams looks in detail at major criminal activities, including the theft, diversion, and smuggling of oil, the kidnapping of both Iraqis and foreigners, extortion, car theft, and the theft and smuggling of antiquities. He also considers the critical role played by corruption in facilitating and strengthening organized crime and shows how al-Qaeda in Iraq, Jaish-al-Mahdi, and the Sunni tribes used criminal activities to fund their campaigns of political violence. Dr. Williams identifies the roots of organized crime in post-Ba’athist Iraq in an authoritarian and corrupt state dominated by Saddam Hussein and subject to international sanctions. He also explains the rise of organized crime after the U.S. invasion in terms of two distinct waves: the first wave followed the collapse of the state and was accompanied by the breakdown of social control mechanisms and the development of anomie; the second wave was driven by anarchy, insecurity, political ambition, and the imperatives of resource generation for militias, insurgents, and other groups. He also identifies necessary responses to organized crime and corruption in Iraq, including efforts to reduce criminal opportunities, change incentive structures, and more directly target criminal organizations and activities. His analysis also emphasizes the vulnerability of conflict and post-conflict situations to organized crime and the requirement for a holistic or comprehensive strategy in which security, development, and the rule of law complement one another.
Dr. Williams looks in detail at major criminal activities, including the theft, diversion, and smuggling of oil, the kidnapping of both Iraqis and foreigners, extortion, car theft, and the theft and smuggling of antiquities. He also considers the critical role played by corruption in facilitating and strengthening organized crime and shows how al-Qaeda in Iraq, Jaish-al-Mahdi, and the Sunni tribes used criminal activities to fund their campaigns of political violence. Dr. Williams identifies the roots of organized crime in post-Ba’athist Iraq in an authoritarian and corrupt state dominated by Saddam Hussein and subject to international sanctions. He also explains the rise of organized crime after the U.S. invasion in terms of two distinct waves: the first wave followed the collapse of the state and was accompanied by the breakdown of social control mechanisms and the development of anomie; the second wave was driven by anarchy, insecurity, political ambition, and the imperatives of resource generation for militias, insurgents, and other groups. He also identifies necessary responses to organized crime and corruption in Iraq, including efforts to reduce criminal opportunities, change incentive structures, and more directly target criminal organizations and activities. His analysis also emphasizes the vulnerability of conflict and post-conflict situations to organized crime and the requirement for a holistic or comprehensive strategy in which security, development, and the rule of law complement one another.

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11/17/2012

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CRIMINALS, MILITIAS, AND INSURGENTS:ORGANIZED CRIME IN IRAQPhil WilliamsJune 2009
The views expressed in this report are those of the author and do not
necessarily reect the ofcial policy or position of the Departmentof the Army, the Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government.Authors of Strategic Studies Institute (SSI) publications enjoyfull academic freedom, provided they do not disclose classiedinformation, jeopardize operations security, or misrepresentofcial U.S. policy. Such academic freedom empowers them tooffer new and sometimes controversial perspectives in the interestof furthering debate on key issues. This report is cleared for publicrelease; distribution is unlimited.
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This publication is subject to Title 17, United States Code,Sections 101 and 105. It is in the public domain and may not becopyrighted.
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In the course of researching and writing this manuscript, theauthor has had help from a number of people. In particular, Dr.Steven Metz was a source of constant help, encouragement, andadvice. Working in the Strategic Studies Institute (SSI) under thedirector, Professor Douglas Lovelace, has been a delightful andhighly congenial experience, and I am grateful for his unfailingsupport and encouragement. Several other colleagues were veryhelpful in the preparation of this monograph. Dr. Alex Crowtherwas particularly generous with his time and provided invaluableinsights into kidnapping in Iraq, while Dr. W. Andrew Terrilland Dr. Sharifa Zuhur answered many questions about politicaldevelopments in Iraq and the roles played by a wide variety ofactors. Mr. Nathan Freier, Dr. Max Manwaring, Dr. DouglasJohnson, Dr. Robin Dorff, Dr. Stephen Blank, Dr. Dallas Owens,Dr. Antulio Echevarria, Colonel Trey Braun, and Colonel LouisJordan were unfailingly stimulating and encouraging.The author is also grateful to several people outside SSI,especially Dr. Paul Kan of the Department of National Security andStrategy at the U.S. Army War College, and Dr. Lawrence Cline,both of whom read the manuscript and offered many incisivecomments and suggestions. Mr. Marc Hess provided invaluablecomments on the law enforcement efforts in Iraq and the difcultiesof combining law enforcement and military intelligence. He wasalso of great assistance in framing the oil smuggling issue. Inaddition, Dr. William Rosenau and Mr. Austin Long at the RANDCorporation provided helpful comments and advice as well asconstant encouragement. The author was helped by several formerstudents from the Graduate School of Public and InternationalAffairs at the University of Pittsburgh who provided invaluableinsights. Mr. Daniel Malik of the Department of Treasury offeredcandid and constructive comments on insurgency and terroristnances. During a presentation on organized crime in Iraq at theMatthew B. Ridgway Center, University of Pittsburgh, ProfessorsDonald Goldstein, Dennis Gormley and Michael Brenner offeredconstructive comments. In addition, Mr. James Cockayne and Dr.Adam Lupel of the International Peace Institute offered helpfulsuggestions on an earlier iteration of the analysis.
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Comments pertaining to this report are invited and should be
 
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forwarded to: Director, Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army WarCollege, 122 Forbes Ave, Carlisle, PA 17013-5244.
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All Strategic Studies Institute (SSI) publications are availableon the SSI homepage for electronic dissemination. Hard copiesof this report also may be ordered from our homepage. SSI’shomepage address is:
www.StrategicStudiesInstitute.army.mil
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The Strategic Studies Institute publishes a monthly e-mailnewsletter to update the national security community on theresearch of our analysts, recent and forthcoming publications, andupcoming conferences sponsored by the Institute. Each newsletteralso provides a strategic commentary by one of our researchanalysts. If you are interested in receiving this newsletter, pleasesubscribe on our homepage at
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ISBN 1-58487-397-3

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