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Week 7 Summary: Narco-Terrorists MILS671: The Non State Soldier American Military University Instructor: Scott Catino, Ph.D.

Here are some of the key points, but not all, regarding our study of narco-terrorists. 1. Identifying the Center of Gravity (CoG) of narco-terrorists. The CoG is not power to acquire governance over a population, land, and resources (in general) but power to control, dominate, and increase the trafficking in narcotics, which is illegal in most countries. But the manifestations and effects are similar to other Non State Soldiers (NSS): increasing weaponization and complexity of operations; leadership networks that are growing, decentralized, and transnational; population dynamics used and cajoled to varying degrees; and other aspects of modern warfare. Therefore, combating narco-terrorists is more complex than just basic police work against the local drug dealer. 2. Blurred lines between political and economic objectives. While the CoG is indeed economic (control and expansion/profiting from the drug trade), achieving political support, state support, incorporation and enfranchisement of local governance, are all

major objectives. So we find Drug Trade Organizations (DTOs) installing their supporters, or making supporters, at the local and regional levels of governance. This infiltration and cooption of government power structures make the DTO difficult to penetrate and prosecute. Advanced warning intelligence, diplomatic protection, and impunity from prosecution are just a few of the assets narco-terrorists acquire when the coopt state governance. 3. Morphing political and economic motives. The DTOs are in one sense the most powerful of the NSS in that many NSS organizations started out as ideologically and politically driven only to become narco-terrorists as the corruption of money and personal power trumped original political motivation. This happened within the FARC of Columbia as well as other groups, which often chide members for losing their ideological drive and political aspirations. It is interesting that Iran fears its eastern border with Afghanistan more than any other border even though Iran's opponents, not least the United States, have worked for decades to "influence" these areas by engaging the ethnic groups of Iran (Azeri, Kurds, Arabs, Turkomen, Baluch, etc.). Why the fear from Tehran? In short, Iranian agents who are among the most dedicated often are corrupted by the heavy drug trafficking in the eastern areas bordering Afghanistan and thus create huge holes in Iranian security. 4. Exploitation of networks created by DTOs. NSS and other Insurgents embrace the DTOs among many reasons, but one in particular involves the access to covert sanctuary, funding, movement, safe havens, support networks, document forgeries, and information and Word of Mouth (WOM) communication channels. These are the very assets that nearly all insurgencies seek to obtain. 5. Corruption and co-option of the human terrain. Whether we discuss Mexico, Columbia, inner city America, or elsewhere, the fact is that DTO leaders are often admired and seen as Robin Hood figures by locals, particularly the youth. The Sinaloa Cartel even pays local musicians to sing songs of praise about this drug cartel and praise its love of the people (economic benefits). The human terrain is thus co-opted at the local level and the lowest classes, not just the higher political ones. This is significant for understanding their success.

Bibliography Chepesiuk, Ron. The Bullet or the Bribe: Taking Down Colombia's Cali Drug Cartel. West Port, CT. : Praeger, 2003. Decker, Scott. Drug Smugglers on Drug Smuggling: Lessons from the Inside. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2008.

Gootenburg, Paul. Andean Cocaine: The Making of a Global Drug. Contributors: Chapel Hill, NC : University of North Carolina Press, 2008. Lee, Gregory D. Global Drug Enforcement: Practical Investigative Techniques. Boca Raton, FL. CRC Press, 2004. Leech, Gary. Beyond Bogotaa: Diary of a Drug War Journalist in Colombia. Boston: Beacon Press, 2009. Stares, Paul B. Global Habit:The Drug Problem in a Borderless World. Washington, D.C. : Brookings, 1996. Steinberg, Michael K. ed. Dangerous Harvest: Drug Plants and the Transformation of Indigenous Landscapes. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004