This volume examines the relationship between international peace operations and organised crime - which in some cases are clear enemies, and in others, tacit allies. Peace operations are increasingly on the front line in the international community's fight against organized crime, in venues such as Afghanistan, the Balkans, Haiti, Iraq, and West Africa. The threat posed by organized crime to international and human security has become a matter of considerable strategic concern for national and international decision-makers in recent years, but the literature is fragmented and reactive, with only isolated attempts to provide systematic thinking. This book addresses that gap in the literature - and questions the emerging orthodoxy that portrays organized crime as an external threat to the liberal peace offered by the international community, delivered through peace operations. The orthodox position suggests that organized crime emerges out of rational actors' exploitation of the weak conditions of governance inherent in conflict-affected territories.
The danger of characterizing contemporary conflict as 'systematically criminalized' is that it may blur significant differences between different actors involved in this 'criminal system', giving rise to simplistic policy prescriptions, and end up regarding entire populations engaged in conflict as 'criminals' who must be repressed by the international community acting through peace operations and other forms of international intervention. Effective maintenance of international peace and security requires a more nuanced analysis of the role of organized crime in local and transnational political economies, and an understanding of how existing international tools will interact with them. This book provides scholars, practitioners and policy makers with a more well-rounded evidentiary base detailing the complex interactions between peace operations and organized crime, a more nuanced analytical framework for making sense of those interactions, and thus an improved basis for effective policy-making and operational response. The book will be of great interest to students of peacebuilding, peace and conflict studies, organised crime, and IR/Security Studies.