Turkey announced that they believe
the Kurdish separatist organization, the PKK, has an income of over $600
million a year, with half of that coming from drug smuggling and sales. That
estimate is about eight times previous ones. This assertion will generate a
debate over which numbers are true. But one there is one thing most everyone
will agree on. All armies need to be
supplied. That goes for armies of irregulars or terrorists as well. People have
to eat, need a place to live, and often have families to support. Warlords get
that way because they have found some way to make enough money to support his
gunmen. The PKK supports some 3,000 fighters, who are based in northern Iraq,
and operate in southeastern Turkey.
proliferation of laptop computers has led to all manner of irregular and
criminal organizations keeping records on these computers. The computers get
captured, and police now have a better idea of what the finances of these
organizations are. Basically, people got to be fed, paid and supplied with the
tools of their trade (weapons, transport, whatever).
may indeed lay hands on over $600 million a year. And a lot of that may be
payments for drugs (to be smuggled and later sold), as well as money for all
manner of middlemen. And then there are bribes for police, soldiers and civil
servants. The needs are immense, and there's never enough cash to go around.
Criminal enterprises are a common source of funds for rebel organizations. As
law enforcement goes after more of these rebel support activities, they are
finding that the extent of these criminal operations are surprisingly large.
There are far more PKK members out there raising money and getting supplies to
the gunmen, just like a traditional army.