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167 Colombia consistently ranks as one of the more corrupt countries in the world; it ranked 3.8 out of 10 on the 2008 Corruption Perceptions Index. Incidentally, Colombia has suffered decades of terrorist attacks conducted by one of the most enduring terrorist groups in the world—the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC). Conventional wisdom suggests, and U.S. policy subscribes to the belief, that corruption and terrorism coexist in a mutually reinforcing relationship.1 Such a conclusion seems intuitive given conditions in Colombia and elsewhere, where corruption and terrorism seem to coincide.This relationship,however,has always been a matter of speculation; it has not yet been systematically assessed. This chapter explores the connection between corruption and terrorism to determine whether and how corruption increases terrorist activity. Assuming that corruption and terrorism do go together, there exist two potential explanations for this relationship in the literature.According to one perspective, terrorists may develop within or attack corrupt states because they resent the government’s inconsistent application of the rule of law. This motivational explanation contends that poor governance increases terrorists’ motivations to attack or organize. The motivational approach predicts that terrorists attack corrupt governments out of frustration. Moreover, when the government adopts practices that undermine public confidence in the state’s legitimacy, terrorist groups can exploit this mistrust by providing public goods to society to win its sympathy and support. This approach explains why Hamas remains popular in the Palestinian Territories in light of Fatah’s corruption and inability to provide public goods. Thus, according to this theoretical approach, corruption has a direct relationship to terrorism. Corruption 7 To Bribe or to Bomb: Do Corruption and Terrorism Go Together? jessica c. teets and erica chenoweth 07 0328-0 ch7.qxd 7/15/09 3:48 PM Page 167 168 Jessica C. Teets and Erica Chenoweth motivates groups to pursue terrorist tactics and motivates the public to support such groups. According to a second logic, corruption does not directly cause terrorism. Rather, it indirectly increases the ability of groups to carry out attacks. Corrupt states create opportunities for terrorist organizations because of an inability or unwillingness to enforce the rule of law, which reduces the costs of operating within such territories. In addition, the presence of corruption allows for the creation of a criminal infrastructure that groups use for funding , weapons, transport, and forged documents, thereby strengthening terrorist organizations.2 This criminal infrastructure supports illicit trade in arms, people, and drugs, and creates three conditions of which terrorist groups take advantage: 1) a signal to potential terrorists that the state does not have the capacity to enforce the rule of law; 2) an infrastructure in money laundering, secretive transportation, and forged documents; and 3) a flow of materials and independent funding by which terrorists can conduct their activities, thereby lowering the costs to terrorists of operating from within these countries. In contradistinction to the motivational approach, the facilitation explanation argues that corruption and terrorism coexist, but that the relationship between the two is indirect rather than direct. This approach predicts that terrorist attacks will emanate from states with high levels of corruption , but not necessarily target those states directly. This chapter explores the relationship between corruption and terrorism to determine whether such a relationship exists and, if so, whether the motivational or facilitation approach better explains the relationship. Using quantitative data on terrorist activity, we tested whether corruption motivates or facilitates terrorism. We developed several models that test the effects of corruption rankings, money laundering, drug trafficking, and arms imports on the emergence of homegrown terrorist groups and the production of terrorist attacks against other countries. To investigate the motivational and facilitation hypotheses, we conducted these tests on a sample of 30 countries from 1980–2001, and 169 additional countries from 1995–2001. Our findings support the facilitation approach, in that higher levels of corruption in a country increase the number of terrorist attacks originating from that country. More indirectly, countries that facilitate illicit drug trade, money laundering, and major arms imports also produce an increased number of transnational terrorist attacks. In addition, corrupt countries with vast arms imports are likely to produce transnational terrorist attacks. Interestingly, the presence of money laundering increases the number of homegrown terrorist groups while the presence of an illicit drug trade decreases the number of these groups. To 07 0328-0 ch7.qxd 7/15/09 3:48 PM Page 168 account for this puzzling finding, we posit that the interests of drug...


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MARC Record
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