Do terrorists make a difference in criminal networks? An empirical analysis on illicit drug and narco-terror networks in their prioritization between security and efficiency
Embargo Lift Date: 2021-05-01
1 - 17
Item Usage Stats
By using Social Network Analysis (SNA), this study empirically analyzes five PKK Affiliated narco-terror and five illicit drug networks in the Turkish context to identify and compare their approach to the security-efficiency tradeoff. Results revealed that although terrorist members are in key roles and powerful positions (central and intermediary), average scores of cohesion and centrality of narco-terror networks seem to be only slightly more security driven than those of illicit drug networks. However, analyses of individual networks from both types yield no clear structural distinction in prioritizing between security and efficiency. This study, in general, finds that networks from both camps are structurally more efficiency driven. They are denser with more direct ties; generally clustered into sub-groups attached to networks’ cores and peripheries; they reflect coreness, where key players act in pivotal positions with high power, centrality, and brokerage to efficiently control and coordinate network activities. This is then found to cause security vulnerabilities of greater visibility (susceptibility of disruption) and high dependence on central actors constituting structural holes (possible elimination of entire network when compromised). However, sample networks strive to balance the security by keeping the paths—for the flow of information—shorter and being clustered into denser sub-groups with strong pre-existing trust-ties (kinship and friendship) which reduces the risk of detection and infiltration. This study argues that the nature of objective dominates the structural characteristics regarding the security-efficiency dilemma, and thus, both illicit drug and PKK affiliated narco-terror networks in Turkish context are driven by material incentives relying more on efficiency and striving to balance organizational security with social characteristics (trust ties).