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Geospatial Intelligence Report: Transnational Arms Trafficking in West Africa

Team Name: Ciro Mazzola, Janice Zhong, CRIME Date: September 21, 2020 Key judgments West Africa has long been a favored region for extremist groups and militias. Powerful terrorist organizations combined with instability within country governments offer the perfect conditions for an illicit arm industry. Here, criminals and insurgents looking to oversee a revolution are able to buy/rent weapons from corrupt police or military personnel.[1] In addition to being one of the poorest regions in the world, nations within West Africa often have long unguarded borders and expansive land which allows for the transnational nature of illicit arms trafficking. Key geographic features such as rivers play

Dealing in Terror: Reverberations of ISIS Antiquities Theft

Henry Carson, Aimee Hanstein, Caroline Hilty, ILLICIT FINANCE September 20th, 2020 While occupying territory in Syria and Iraq, one of ISIS’ major sources of income was the sale of antiques. These looted items were run through ISIS’s elaborate illicit trading market and sold all around the world. Recently, open-source intelligence (OSINT) suggests that even though the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is not looting the antiquities as much as before, they are still trafficking and exploiting stolen antiquities and art. After further analysis, without community buy-in and awareness, partnerships in the private/public sectors, and law enforcement participation and cooperation, it is clear

Stopping the Selling: Examining the Shortfalls of the Fight against the Illicit Ivory Trade

Marissa Bruder, Michelle Kaplun, Rob Maxey, and Breana Stringer, ILLICIT FINANCE September 20, 2020 The Counterterrorism Group continues to assess the growing concern related to illicit ivory trade as it poses a global threat to many important ecological and humanitarian efforts, including species conservation, local and regional development projects, and international security infrastructure. This is an extremely lucrative business by nature, which serves to protect the identity of money launderers and smugglers from the eye of law enforcement officials. The secrecy of the ivory market creates an appeal for terrorist groups to partake in trafficking ivory as a way to finance their operation

Unresolved Territorial Disputes between Regional Powers: China and India

Alessandro Gagaridis, Bakhit Ikranbekov, Elizabeth Fisher, Jeremy Robinson, Phil Acey, Jenson Hu PACOM Team September 20, 2020 The Chinese and Indian governments have agreed to ease tensions following various territorial disputes  throughout the region of Southern Asia and along the Chinese-Indian border, including physical fights that took the life of 20 Indian soldiers and an unknown number of Chinese soldiers in June. The Chinese have claimed the rights to the Aksai Chin region, in the northwestern section of the Ladakh District in India, as well as various parts of the Himalayas. China has been utilizing various forms of coercion such as leveraging debts and diverting rivers to assert th

Al-Qaeda’s Case for Crypto

Marissa Bruder and Michelle Kaplun, ILLICIT FINANCE September 12, 2020 The Counterterrorism Group assesses that the existence of cryptocurrency has presented an opportunity for terrorist groups, and Al-Qaeda in particular, to fund their operations in a new and relatively unregulated environment. The novelty of the cryptocurrency environment has made it difficult to evaluate the extent to which it has benefited Al-Qaeda. Recently, evidence has suggested that the group may be exploiting this emerging market for its own gain. After further analysis, it can be concluded that sufficient evidence exists that terrorist groups, like Al-Qaeda, have sought to take advantage of cryptocurrencies in orde

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