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Strip the World’s Worst Actors of a Key Financial Tool

This article was originally published by Defense One.

Beginning with the U.S. intervention in Somalia in 1992, an entire generation of military personnel has been deployed to bring stability to places like Haiti, Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq. None of these interventions has resulted in a lasting peace. What explains this dismal record? During our deployments to the latter four, at least, we confronted a common theme.

In Bosnia, our efforts were obstructed by “parallel power structures.” In Kosovo, we discovered that the Kosovo Liberation Army’s intelligence apparatus had links to organized crime and were engaging in reverse ethnic cleansing of Serbs and assassinations of their Kosovo Albanian political rivals. In Afghanistan, the Karzai government was delegitimized because of the “criminal patronage networks” that permeated his regime. In Iraq, the Maliki government hollowed out the Iraqi Army with ghost soldiers and replaced professional commanders with political loyalists. In all these cases, our efforts were thwarted by the kleptocractic nature of the national governments.

As we survey the international landscape today, there is a vast array of threats that are caused or exacerbated by kleptocracies, in addition to their obstruction of peace and stability operations. These include great-power competitors, nuclear aspirants like North Korea and Iran, terrorism, organized crime, state failure, and genocide.

Continue Reading: the full op-ed can be found here.

John Agoglia, a retired U.S. Army colonel, served as director of the Counterinsurgency Training Center-Afghanistan in Kabul from 2008-2010 and director of the U.S. Army Peacekeeping and Stability Operations Institute. Michael Dziedzi, a retired U.S. Air Force colonel, served in El Salvador, Bosnia, Kosovo, and Afghanistan and taught at the National War College and the Air Force Academy. ​

This article was originally published by Defense One.