Counter-Terrorism: It's Just Business

February 10, 2012: While oil and natural gas pipelines bring prosperity to developing nations, and high-speed fiber-optic communications cables bring information and entertainment, these resources are frequently seen as income opportunities by local bandits, warlords, and tribal leaders. That's because the pipelines and cables can easily be cut. To prevent that the most powerful non-government armed groups in the area the pipelines and cables pass through will often demand regular payments to ensure "security." This is a form of terrorism that is ancient and difficult to deal with.

This sort of thing only occurs if the local groups are strong enough to overcome government security efforts. In many parts of the world this is the case and the payments are made. In some situations the vandals are demanding more (like freeing some people from prison, or simply too much cash) than the government can, or is willing to, pay.

Because of this situation pipelines will sometimes be routed around unruly areas, even if this is a lot more expensive. While Internet supplied by cable is faster and cheaper, in some areas the protection payments are too high and Internet and cell phone suppliers have to rely on the more expensive, and slower, satellite based systems.

 

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