Double trouble: Europe faces terrorist cooperation with organized crime syndicates
Terrorist groups depend on material, human and ideological factors in their strategies to spread. Therefore, states' plans to combat violent extremist organizations are concerned with cutting off sources of funding as a fundamental variable to undermine the spread of these groups and prevent them from recruiting and eluding, which is what the European Union countries have recently been developing to face the growing threats.
The European Council announced the adoption of the EU's Committee of Ministers, a new mandatory memorandum aimed at combating terrorism by addressing problems related to cooperation between terrorist organizations and organized crime syndicates.
In its statement, the Committee of Ministers believes that organized gangs that work in human trafficking or trading drugs, weapons or contraband in general are among the main pillars facilitating the financing of terrorist groups. The emergence of these gangs and their settlement in a globally defined geography is considered a favorable focus for attracting terrorism as factors of cooperation that threaten European security.
The new vision of the European Council aims to address the frameworks for cooperation between terrorists and transcontinental organized gangs, noting that this cooperation threatens the security of the region and makes the passage of money, weapons and explosives difficult to track by the security services. The European Council added that prisons may be a variable for cooperation between the two parties and could create an enabling environment for the development of this cooperation.
Europe faces new issues
The Council of Europe Committee on Counter-Terrorism (CDCT) adopted new legal rules amounting to about 48 principles to undermine cooperation between criminal gangs and terrorist groups in order to help the authorities improve means of combating extremism, noting the need for cooperation between EU countries for the success of efforts made in this regard.
The new European memorandum indicates the need to confront the evolution in terrorist groups as well as combating them carefully, noting that the profitability achieved by the gangs is working to transform extremist groups over time into criminal organizations, which increases the entanglement of the security threat.
The European Council directed the use of internal and external intelligence for countries to confront the suspicious cooperation between the organizations and to prevent opportunities for increasing terrorist financing, in addition to creating new investigative tools to help the competent authorities.
It also called for tracking electronic means and the use of the internet in suspicious cooperation between criminals and terrorists, as European authorities confirm that modern communications and information technology play a role in threatening the region, and therefore reviewing them periodically to uncover manipulations in their systems is important in preventing terrorist attacks.
European prisons are facing growing challenges from the possibility of remaining as a focal point for developing the cooperation between terrorists and criminals, and thus the European Council directed prison intelligence to scrutinize surveillance so as to uncover criminals recruited to supply funds to terrorist groups.
The memorandum pointed to corruption as an important factor related to allowing the crime of cooperation between terrorist organizations and gangs to grow, pointing to the need to confront corruption in state bodies as well as review it at the general level of citizens, in addition to the need for international cooperation to protect everyone from the dangers of terrorism, which has become an international phenomenon that affects everyone.
Europe is looking forward to tightening anti-terrorism regulations after recently returning to experiencing major terrorist operations, as happened in France and Austria at the end of 2020, which has rekindled talk of the continuity of the terrorist threat in the region.