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. Read more
Archive for Strategy-Geopolitics
Geopolitics is about the political organization of space, and about how this is conceived, represented, and used in political discussion. The term refers to power at the largest of scales and simultaneously to the geographical arrangements of that power. It is linked directly to European modes of conceiving the world as a whole and then discussing how it is divided and ruled by many political organizations (Agnew 2003).
Inevitably it has a military dimension because political power is never entirely divorced from matters of coercion and violence. Strategy and political power have unavoidable geographical dimensions, but ones that are not always well understood by either politicians or the publics who advocate the use of military force.
But first and foremost geopolitics is about the initial specification of the world in ways that subsequently facilitate policy in the world presented in that particular manner. Thus places with certain attributes can be presented as requiring certain policies. Modes of conduct are tied to these prior contextualisations in much policy discourse, a simple but obvious point that is so unremarkable as to frequently pass without comment.
In the aftermath of September 11th 2001 the world was remapped in the political discourses of the war on terror (Dalby 2003). Initially it was unclear what the appropriate geography was to specify what had happened; ‘9/11,’ a temporal designation rather than a geographical one, is still used to specify the new circumstances. But remapped the world was, into the categories of the Bush doctrine and its ‘global war on terror’.
The Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA) is a label attached to discussions of the modernization of the U.S. military particularly in the last couple of decades, but has implications for other military forces too (Sloan 2002). The term is used loosely to refer both to technological innovations in weapon systems, and in particular the important changes wrought by computer technologies and communication systems. Most obvious in the “smart” weapons publicly revealed in the 1991 Gulf war, the technological innovations are supported by global positioning navigation systems and numerous communications technologies that enhance command systems and situational awareness on the part of commanders.