In October 2008, Colombian authorities arrested thirty-six Lebanese expatriates on money laundering and drug charges. This was more than a standard criminal syndicate, however -- the group was transferring a portion of its profits back to Hizballah. Michael Jacobson and Matthew Levitt discuss how such cases point to a new target for U.S. counterterrorism efforts: traditional criminal activities. In particular, Washington should leverage its strategy of international cooperation and diplomatic engagement to gain broader support against the growing terrorism-crime nexus.
Michael Jacobson is a senior fellow at The Washington Institute's Stein Program on Counterterrorism and Intelligence. Matthew Levitt is a senior fellow and director of the Stein Program.