There are several concepts to keep in mind for CTCB State of Play Newsletter No. 8.Sweeping identity labels, kinship, ideology as a substitute for political institutions, and lack of security and employment as driving crime and combat. Theme 3 of this issue, on the possible economic causes of illicit violence, can be applied to Afghanistan and Iraq. These remain poorly regulated conflict zones with significant asset damage and instability. Employment with militias and other forms of armed service is a pull factor, but many are also pushed to seek protection or allegiance with perceived kin groups.
That’s for the earthly realm. Economic analysis for some cultures requires calculating the cost-benefit not just in the market today, but the Hereafter. Think of this as a muhtasib and mullah format, with recognition of human selfishness. Had Pope Urban II not claimed cleansing of all worldly sin and assured immediate entry to Heaven for joining the First Crusade (1095 CE speech), the People’s Crusade as directed by Peter the Hermit may not have gone rampaging across Europe, killing dissimilar religious sects on the way to recapture Jerusalem.
Incidentally, the feudal, criminally bloody, and impoverished Europe of this time had similarities with current day Afghanistan. The holy regulator in this case, Mullah Omar (d. 2013), prohibited the Taliban from tactics such as kidnappings and pressure-plate IEDs (UNAMA, 2021). In another conflict zone, Syria, the two market levels have supported an industry of amateur archaeology supervised by local terrorist organisations, with administered matters including jinn safety, and defacing smuggled idols to mitigate their ‘blasphemous potency’ (Moos, 2020).
Caveat: Before getting too enthusiastic about G. Schiffman’s (Roberts, 2020) economic drivers of violence, even if grounded if historic fact and great for targeted countering of group ops and capability, there are many instances to which a biologist could go ‘Hah! Too simplified and thus inaccurate! …But continue to curb your enthusiasm.’ (Sapolsky, 2018). However, the clear validity of this lens remains for a successful counter-insurgency campaign – stabilisation stage – and regional security and development. The value of economics for resource efficiency, demobilisation, and reconstruction lies in separating the driven from the wicked, and ending a tit-for-tat spiral.In recognition of the major security challenges posed by explosive devices and targeted assassinations around the world, a sizeable portion of our Certified Counter Terrorism Practitioner (CCTP) preparatory course and testing is allocated to these topics. CCTP preparatory materials will soon be available on our ONDEMAND platform. Stay tuned. If you have any special interests or requests, do let us know.
Some terms that may be of interest as you explore the material:Haala: in Osama Bin Laden’s unaired interview with Allouni of al-Jazeera in 2002, he states: “There is a very huge awe [haala] about America, which it uses to scare people before it engages the battle.”. Awe is a complex emotion linguistically linked to terror and respect for an authority. It can be elicited by things as diverse as mountain views, massive destruction, and fantastic feats of structural engineering. If a combatant inspires awe, it usually inspires the adversary to flee or submit before it is surely destroyed. This is closely linked to the strategic and tactical value of deterrence, audacite, and overwhelm by communicating, in a very primitive way, the terrible cost of even trying.
Pseudo / Fictive Kinship: A deliberate or naturally occurring process in which persons are made to believe they are more alike and linked than their genetic or geographic reality. This applies to phenomena such as patriotism, religion, gangs, and football team supporters. In trade and security, you are likelier to trust your actual and fictive kin.
Pseudospeciation: This is the step past and mirror of pseudo kinship. It involves considering anyone outside your in-group a lesser ‘species’. This is represented more often in nationalism, exclusionary politics, and punishing violence. Example of theory using this concept is Stevens, A. (2004). The roots of war and terror. NY: Continuum, and Sapolsky (2018).