In Spring 2015, I received a grant from the Office of Naval Research Minerva initiative ($953,540, 09/01/2015-08/31/2018) to pursue a new line of research on intersections of drug trafficking, human trafficking, and terrorism in Eurasia.
Through the systematic analysis of the trafficking/terrorist intersections in Eurasia, this project seeks to answer the following research questions:
(1) What is the nature of terrorism-criminal connections?
(2) What are the conditions under which terrorist-trafficking alliances are forged and change?
(3) What is the capacity of national and foreign governments and international organizations to prevent, monitor, and dismantle the trafficking/terrorism nexus?
This research utilizes a unique combination of quantitative, qualitative, and GIS methods that enable collection, analysis, and visualization of data on patterns of trafficking/terrorist intersections in Eurasia. Drawing on the comparative study of terrorism and organized crime, Lawrence Markowitz and I developed a comprehensive typology of trafficking/terrorism linkages and proposed a model of the causal factors driving the nexus. Second, we applied GIS-enabled tools to map trafficking/terrorism connections and produced a series of maps visualizing locational patterns of the nexus in Eurasia. Third, we used geospatial data extracted using the GIS and the provincial-level data collected from the states’ statistical agencies to estimate the effects of socio-economic, political, and geospatial factors on the nexus. Lastly, utilizing a series of in-depth interviews conducted in the states of Eurasia, we specified the critical role of the state and the causal mechanisms by which state involvement forges particular relationships between terrorism and trafficking within the nexus.
The main output of this project is the monograph, Webs of Corruption:
Trafficking and Terrorism in Central Asia (with Lawrence Markowitz),
forthcoming with Columbia University Press.
The data, maps, publications, and other updates on the project
can be found on its website: The Trafficking/Terrorism Nexus.
The initial findings of this project appeared in
Violence in Central Asia" (with Lawrence P. Markowitz, Studies in
Conflict and Terrorism) followed by another co-author piece,
and State Violence in Central Asia’s Autocracies" (Post-Soviet Affairs).