Militant Islamists, Organized Crime and the Balkan Diaspora in Europe

The most notable case is the rise of the Albanian mafia and the nexus with the Kosovo Liberation Army in the late 1990s, which expanded out of Albania’s economic downfall following the collapse of “pyramid” investment schemes in 1997. Violent rebellions led to the ransacking of hundreds of military and police storage facilities across the country (Bota Sot, October 25). Over 100,000 weapons are believed to have been stolen over the course of a few months during this period—the majority of which are still used in conflicts or recycled in European markets. Some are also now believed to end up on the hands of terrorist organizations, including sleeper cells based in Western countries, with Belgium providing the largest black market (Financial Times, November 19).

Source: Militant Islamists, Organized Crime and the Balkan Diaspora in Europe

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