You are looking at 1 - 9 of 9 items

  • Author or Editor: Florian Weigand x
Clear All Modify Search
Open access

Florian Weigand

Armed conflict and transnational crime often make headlines together: ‘Congolese blood diamonds’, ‘Afghan opium’ and ‘made-in-Myanmar meth’. Such reports depict conflict zones as ‘ungoverned’ spaces where insurgents and criminals cannot be distinguished. Countering such assumptions, Chapter 1 illustrates how today’s armed conflicts and smuggling economies function. It demonstrates that three key factors shape the consideration of rebel groups and other political authorities, including states, whether and in what role to get involved in the transnational smuggling economy of conflict zones: economic incentives, territorial control, and legitimacy. Based on these key factors, the chapter proposes a typology, which helps to explain why some political authorities are more involved in smuggling economies than others.

Open access

Florian Weigand

Chapter 2 looks at the border between Thailand and Malaysia, where violent conflict has been ongoing for more than 50 years. Insurgency groups like the Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN) are fighting for independence. While this conflict experienced a spike in violence around 2007, hundreds of mainly small attacks continue to take place every year. In addition to the conflict, the border is home also to a vibrant smuggling economy. It is a major regional transit route for the smuggling of licit goods and illicit goods, including drugs. Often, these activities happen before the eyes of the security forces.

Open access

Florian Weigand

Myanmar’s northern Kachin and Shan states, in close proximity to the Chinese border, are the subject of Chapter 3. The Kachin Independence Army (KIA) is one of the most prominent ethnic armed organisations in Myanmar, with an estimated 10,000 troops. In Shan State, groups such as the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) are active. Myanmar is also one of the main countries of origin for the smuggling of illegal drugs, natural resources, migrant workers, and trafficked people in the region, much of which are smuggled across the border into China. But while groups like the KIA are commonly accused of producing and smuggling drugs, much of the meth originates from areas that are controlled by state-affiliated militias.

Open access

Florian Weigand

Chapter 4 examines the Bangladesh–Myanmar border in the context of an episode of violence in August 2017 that resulted in the displacement of more than 700,000 Rohingya refugees from Myanmar, who crossed the border into Bangladesh. A number of non-state armed groups are active in the area, most prominently the shadowy Rohingya insurgency group Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA). The large number of refugees who wanted to cross the river from Myanmar to Bangladesh was an opportunity for people smugglers. The river is also a major smuggling route for licit goods, including daily consumption goods, as well as illicit goods. Drugs, which are produced on a large scale in Myanmar’s Shan State, are smuggled across the river into Bangladesh. But the hands of the Bangladeshi security forces to counter the activities of a mafia-like network are tied.

Open access

Florian Weigand

Different types of non-state armed actors are also active in the maritime border region of Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines, the subject of Chapter 5. In Mindanao, in the south of the Philippines, organised non-state armed groups fight for more regional autonomy of the Moro people. Meanwhile, other non-state armed groups, particularly the Abu Sayyaf Group, have more criminal motives. In Indonesia, more extremist networks, some linked to the Islamic State, conduct attacks that are often directed against civilians. But the area is also home to a flourishing smuggling economy. Because of its maritime character and large size, including many small islands, the area is difficult to patrol, rendering it a popular smuggling route for all types of goods as well as many migrant workers who try to find work in Malaysia. Such smuggling routes also come in handy for some of the armed groups.

Open access

Florian Weigand

The concluding chapter compares the findings from the empirical chapters, identifying general trends and overarching themes. It shows that even though there is a conflict–crime nexus, there also in a striking conflict–crime disconnect. Drawing on the conceptual framework and ideal types developed in the introduction, the chapter explains the involvement of different political authorities in the smuggling economies of conflict zones, particularly the dominance of state actors over non-state actors.

Open access

Florian Weigand

Open access

Conflict and Transnational Crime

Borders, Bullets & Business in Southeast Asia

Florian Weigand

Exploring the links between armed conflict and transnational crime, Florian Weigand builds on in-depth empirical research into some of Southeast Asia’s murkiest borders. The disparate voices of drug traffickers, rebel fighters, government officials and victims of armed conflict are heard in Conflict and Transnational Crime, exploring perspectives that have been previously disregarded in understanding the field.
You do not have access to this content

Florian Weigand

This chapter explores the trend of bunkerized international aid interventions in conflict-torn spaces. In response to insecurity, aid agencies and other organizations that operate in conflict-torn spaces increasingly attempt to protect their staff though ‘hard’ security measures. However, this trend of bunkerization and fortification is at odds with basic values and goals of statebuilding, peacebuilding and the delivery of humanitarian aid. In particular, the trend draws new ‘hard’ borders between ‘locals’ and ‘expatriate’ staff, isolates foreign staff and creates new security risks, particularly for local staff. In order to illustrate these dynamics, the chapter draws on interviews conducted with people in Afghanistan and on a survey conducted with aid workers in various conflict zones around the world.