SIPRI Yearbook 2010
2. Armed conflict, crime and criminal violence
Crime and criminal violence can pose as great a threat to national stability as armed conflict over government or territory.1 Furthermore, in some areas of armed conflict, high-profile criminal business may have broader transnational implications and resonance than the conflict itself—but both are manifestations of the same weakness, dysfunction or absence of state structures. In many conflict and post-conflict contexts, a fragmentation of violence and diversification and proliferation of armed actors has been coupled with growing reliance by non-state actors on shadow—including criminal—economic activity as a source of funding. This process has contributed to the erosion of boundaries between political and criminal violence and between many ideologically driven actors and organized criminal groups.
This chapter aims to encourage a more active integration of the study of organized crime, especially transnational, and criminal violence into the broader analysis of collective organized armed violence. It also seeks to show that such integration should be broader than a narrow focus on crime–terrorism or crime–insurgency links in the context of armed conflicts.
Section II of this chapter explains the focus on criminal violence in and beyond conflict-related contexts. It addresses the main data and methodological issues in the field; provides an outline of some global trends in crime and criminal violence; and examines the nature and scale of the links between armed conflict on the one hand and crime and criminal violence on the other. Section III analyses the causes and impacts of organized crime in 2009 in armed conflict settings. One case study examines the patterns and transnational implications of piracy based in Somalia. A second illustrates the dynamics of and interaction between the drug economy and armed conflict in Afghanistan. Section IV goes outside the classic conflict setting to examine the similarities and differences between armed conflict, as it is usually defined, and intense criminal violence of a comparable scale and intensity that undermines the security and stability of the affected states. A case study of Mexico is presented, where drug trade-related violence has become the main form of organized collective violence in recent years. Conclusions are presented in Section V. Appendix 2A presents the UCDP data on patterns of major armed conflicts in 2000–2009. Appendix 2B presents the 2010 Global Peace Index.
(1) ‘Organized crime’ is defined, for the purpose of this chapter, as self-perpetuating illegal activity carried out by a structured group over a period of time for material benefit. ‘Criminal violence’ refers to violence perpetrated by an organized criminal group in the pursuit of such a material benefit. On the definition of ‘armed conflict’see appendix 2A.
- Citation (MLA):
- Stepanova, Ekaterina. "2. Armed conflict, crime and criminal violence." SIPRI Yearbook. SIPRI. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2016. Web. 24 Feb. 2017. <http://www.sipriyearbook.org/view/9780199581122/sipri-9780199581122-chapter-3.xml>.
- Citation (APA):
- Stepanova, E. (2016). 2. Armed conflict, crime and criminal violence. In SIPRI, SIPRI Yearbook 2010: Armaments, Disarmament and International Security. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Retrieved 24 Feb. 2017, from http://www.sipriyearbook.org/view/9780199581122/sipri-9780199581122-chapter-3.xml
- Citation (Chicago):
- Stepanova, Ekaterina. "2. Armed conflict, crime and criminal violence." In SIPRI Yearbook 2010: Armaments, Disarmament and International Security, SIPRI. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016). Retrieved 24 Feb. 2017, from http://www.sipriyearbook.org/view/9780199581122/sipri-9780199581122-chapter-3.xml