Book Chapter

The crime-terror nexus in Syria and Iraq


This chapter investigates the connection between the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and organized crime in Iraq and Syria. It argues that the crime-terror nexus here is one where an organization whose primary aim is overwhelmingly political, largely develops its own use of organized crime methods to raise funds for its political and military aims – with some opportunistic cooperation with existing organized crime networks. The chapter outlines the involvement of ISIS in oil smuggling, the illegal trade in antiquities and human trafficking (including kidnapping). Its shows how three factors determine the nature of the nexus in this case:  pre-existing networks and practices of organized crime; the availability of valuable resources and lastly, ISIS’s objective of territorial control and state building. The chapter ends with a consideration of ISIS’s involvement in organized crime since the fall of the Caliphate.

Attached files


Steenkamp, Christina

Oxford Brookes departments

Department of Social Sciences


Year of publication: 2022
Date of RADAR deposit: 2022-01-18

"This is a draft chapter/article. The final version is available in The nexus between organized crime and terrorism: Types and responses / edited by by Letizia Paoli, Cyrille Fijnaut and Jan Wouters, published in 2022, Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd: The material cannot be used for any other purpose without further permission of the publisher, and is for private use only."

Related resources

This RADAR resource is the Accepted Manuscript of The crime-terror nexus in Syria and Iraq
This RADAR resource is Part of The nexus between organized crime and terrorism: Types and responses [ISBN: 9781788979290] / edited by Letizia Paoli, Jan Wouters and Cyrille Fijnaut (Edward Elgar).


  • Owner: Joseph Ripp
  • Collection: Outputs
  • Version: 1 (show all)
  • Status: Live
  • Views (since Sept 2022): 451