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Given today's existence of hundreds of terrorist groups and thousands of criminal ones (Schmid, 2005) it is not surprisingly that in 'some cases a symbiosis between terrorism and organised crime occurred that did not exist before' (Laqueur, 1999, p. 211). In fact, since the early 1990's 'Western law enforcement agencies have noted an increased reliance on criminal activities by terrorist groups' (Mili, 2006, p. 8) a relationship that seems only natural given that terrorism itself is always a crime (Gorka, 2000). Hence, it is assumed that there is a 'close connection between international terrorism and transnational organized crime' (United Nations Security Council, 2001). Some even argue that both criminal activities 'bleed into one another' (Makarenko, 2003) and that there is a 'possibly irreversible trend towards a convergence of these activities' (Williams & Sanova, 1995, p. 28). In the following this paper will argue that the linkages between criminal and terrorist activities have increased since the end of Cold War in the early 1990's. However, the structure of these linkages is contested in the scholarly debate. In order to find a conclusion, this paper will analyze major changes in the structure of terrorist and criminal groups. In a second section the prevailing scenarios of a terrorist-criminal nexus will be outlined and critically discussed.

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