Counter-Terrorism: Rebels With An Expense Account


November 24, 2007: Yet another defeated terrorist movement takes the drug trafficking option. The Shining Path organization were Peruvian radical communists, that attacked civilians and security forces for twelve years, until the group was taken down in the early 1990s. After that, remnants of the organization laid low, and some hired out as muscle for local drug gangs. Eventually, former members of the Shining Path reconstituted themselves as cocaine traffickers, with some of the old-time politics on the side.

This is not the first rebel group that morphed into a well-armed drug gang. One of the more spectacular examples, of recent vintage, were the Chinese Nationalist forces that retreated into northern Burma after losing the civil war to the communists in the late 1940s. For over three decades, that bunch supplied most of the world's heroin supply. They have since been replaced by former Taliban and anti-Russian guerillas in Afghanistan. In between we have the IRA (Irish Republican Army), as well as Kosovan, Corsican and Colombian rebels who made the switch. But the idea goes further back, with groups like the Mafia going into criminal business when the revolution failed. It's old, and it won't go away.




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