The Relationship of Terrorism and Drugs
Terrorism has many and varied links to the drug trade. Terrorists may use drugs for funding of their cause; may include drugs as part of their cause, as in Peru; or terrorism may be the result of the drug trade, as it is in Columbia's Extraditables and Italy's mafia. With the many linkages between the two crimes it seems that to crackdown on one you must crackdown on the other. The ties between the two are such that enforcement of one will hurt the other, to stop terrorism it would be useful to stop it's funding, purpose, and cause.
Drugs are a renewable resource, it?s relatively inexpensive to grow them in fertile soil. There is an enormous profit margin in the drug trade so to those, like terrorists, who are already outside the law, the lure of easy money is strong. Many groups engage in drug trafficking. A notable example is Fuerzas Armadas Revolutionarias de Columbia (FARC) in Columbia. FARC is the military wing of the Columbian Communist Party and has been established since 1966. FARC has ?cooperated with drug interests, offering protection in exchange for money to purchase weapons and supplies? (Henderson, 61). There are other examples throughout the golden triangle and golden crescent where drugs are big business. ?Drugs have become the principle currency for the purchase of weapons? (Jamieson, 72) and this is a problem. Countries then find themselves attacked on two fronts, by both terrorists and the illicit drugs used for funding. Drugs provide funds through more than cultivation. Various groups aid in drug trafficking and gain funding through services, not growing, ?Tamils also find employment as couriers...as a means of financing their independence struggle in Sri Lanka? (Jamieson, 81). Drugs are ready currency in the illicit economy and are creeping through many different avenues into the coffers of terrorist organizations.
In the case of Peru?s Sendero Luminoso, or Shining Path, drugs are both a source of income and a source of support. Peru has a large supply of drug growers, pressure from the United States encourages the Peruvian government to crackdown on the cultivation of drugs. However, ?local eradication teams have faced widespread hostility from growers? (Palmer, 68). The problems are increased by Sendero Luminoso who ?by protecting coca-growing peasants there from joint Peruvian-US government efforts to combat the drug trade, Sendero believes it can gain additional support? (Palmer, 69). For the large part these ideas worked. Drug cultivation is one of the few profitable crops in the area and growers value it. Government crackdowns force growers out of a lucrative business in an area where there is little alternative. Crop substitution is uneffective since there is little that will grow that equals the profit margin of coca and the other...