The Crime Terror Nexus was delighted to launch its paper on the Crime Terror Nexus in France at IFRI. This paper presents an overview of links between crime and terrorism (the crime-terror nexus) in France, highlights potential risks, and makes a series of recommendations for how such risks can be mitigated.
Though illicit activities are notoriously difficult to measure, the presence of links between crime and terrorism can be seen in three areas: 1. In Corsica, where there have been social and operational links between organised crime and separatists; 2. In areas of high crime and social deprivation, where jihadists with criminal pasts have leveraged criminal skills and connections for the purposes of terrorism, and actively encouraged crime for the sake of jihad; 3. In French prisons, where the management of radicalised individuals has come under scrutiny, with a large number of radicalised individuals scheduled for release over the coming years.
Our recommendations include action on prisons, terrorist financing, information sharing, and collaboration between security agencies as well as between government and non-government actors. Finally, while there is no inherent or automatic link between socio-economic conditions and involvement in terrorism, it seems clear that jihadist “delinquency” in France has occurred in some of the same geographical areas and demographic pools from which “ordinary” delinquency has emerged as well. Rather than further marginalising and excluding those areas, there needs to be a serious and honest discussion about the extent to which state and civil society can address the social conditions in which extremist narratives and ideologies resonate.
This paper is part of a Europe-wide survey that will produce similar reports for all European Union member states. The aim is to generate a more holistic understanding of threats from crime and terrorism, and promote new and innovative ways of tackling them.