The rise of terrorism and transnational organised crime (TOC) post-9/11, two previously separate phenomena, are now both a plague of the 21st century. The emergence of unconventional forms of terrorist organisations such as the Islamic State (IS) indicates new features in the crime-terror nexus. This requires rethinking of the conventional crime-terror convergence frameworks; including the crime-terror continuum (CTC) model, which is used to explain and categorise the relationships between organised crime (OC) and terrorism. The original 2003-2004 CTC model suggests that the relationship between crime and terrorism is not static but has evolved into a continuum. The CTC tracks down how the organisational dynamics and operational nature of both terrorism and OC changes over time. A single group can slide up and down between OC and terrorism, depending on the operational environment.
Contemporary terrorism practices suggest that post-9/11 terrorist organisations have undergone significant transformations, and that the boundaries between organised crime and terrorism have become blurred. This brings into question the explanatory power and applicability of the conventional convergence trends, which are depicted in the 2003-2014 versions of the CTC model, to the reality of the transformation of terrorist organisations post-9/11. The conventional convergence trends revolve around ‘realities’ of relationships between OC and terrorism in the form of alliances, appropriation of tactics, integration, hybridisation, and transformation from terrorist to criminal entities or vice versa.
The current realities raise several questions about the applicability of the CTC model, as an explanatory tool. Terrorist organisations can originate as criminal organisations, using ideological motives as a recruiting poster for criminal activities. This points to gaps in the relationship of contemporary terrorism and OC, which are found in the crime-terror nexus and its discourse. These gaps pave the way for rethinking and critical evaluation of the explanatory power of the CTC model in the post-9/11 period and lay the basis for the development of an alternative framework as a foundation for further research.
This study aims to critically rethink the explanatory power and revisit the applicability of the CTC to changes in the relationship between crime and terrorism post-9/11. This study employs a systematic literature overview design followed by critical evaluation. It isolates key works on the
crime-terror nexus and convergence phenomenon, and assesses their limitations, so as to better understand and tackle terrorism in the post-9/11 period.
Mini Dissertation (MSS)--University of Pretoria, 2018.