Global Dispatch

Sep 28, 2017 0 Comments

Turning the Tables: How Brazil Defeated an ISIS Threat

by Leonardo Coutinho

September 2017 • Issue 5

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For several decades, Brazil has been criticized for serving as a haven for Islamist extremists in South America. Foz da Iguaçu, a southwestern Brazilian city within the Tri-Border Area, at the crossroads of Argentina, Paraguay, and Brazil, was used as a logistical base to carry out the 1994 terrorist attack on the Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina (AMIA) in Buenos Aires. Brazil’s historic lack of legislation for effectively combatting terrorism, further incentivized a larger presence of Islamist militants in the country leading to several sanctions by the U.S. Treasury since 2004.

On March 16, 2016, the legal conditions changed when the Brazilian Parliament passed its first antiterrorism law, despite opposition from left-leaning political and social movements. Those opposed to the law believed it “unnecessary;” viewing it unlikely that terror groups at home or abroad would “import” the threat of terrorism to a country that’s never suffered such an attack. Recent events proved its opponents wrong merely four months after the new law went into effect. On July 21, 2016, Brazilian federal police arrested twelve ISIS sympathizers for plotting a terrorist attack at the Rio Summer Olympics. One year later, on May 4, 2017, Brazilian courts upheld the charges against those arrested, convicting eight of them of terrorist crimes. One more was sentenced a month later, sending to prison a total of nine Jihadists in what is the first Islamist terror conviction in Latin America’s history.

This Dispatch describes the environment and circumstances that led to the first antiterrorism law in Brazil, detailing Brazil’s evolution from a country poorly informed of the Islamist terror threat to the first country to successfully try and convict Islamist extremists in Latin America for terrorist activity.

May 15, 2017 0 Comments

May 2017 • Issue 4

Checking Iran’s Gambit: A Review of Canada’s Policy Toward the Islamic Republic

by Candice Malcolm

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This Dispatch provides an overview of Iran’s activities in Canada, including those of its proxy group Hezbollah, that led to Canada’s firm response in 2012. In detailing the steps taken by the Harper government to halt Iran’s efforts inside Canada, while also working to undermine Iran’s ability to raise funds and bankroll global terrorist groups around the world, this paper provides an important case study for dealing with Iran. Under Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, elected in 2015, Canada’s position towards Iran has shifted and has since fallen in line with other Western nations in lifting sanctions, re-opening diplomatic channels, and engaging in appeasement towards the regime in Tehran. Without a well-founded position against Iran, Canada could once again be vulnerable to Iran’s subversive agenda. This paper will conclude with a policy framework and recommendations for the Trump administration on how best to deal with the threat posed by the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Mar 14, 2017 0 Comments

March 2017 • Issue 3

Suriname: The New Paradigm of a Criminalized State

by Douglas Farah and Kathryn Babineau

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Paramaribo, Suriname—An isolated country on the Caribbean coast of South America, Suriname, has long been identified as an ideal “transit zone” for narco-traffickers and other nefarious actors. Its weak borders and corrupt government allows for ease of unsupervised entry and egress. Recently, the use of gold to accommodate the flow of illicit funds and to launder money has become an attractive vehicle for transnational organized crime (TOC) groups and some terrorist organizations. The nature of the gold market readily allows actors to convert bullion into exchangeable assets.

The Dispatch examines how the government of Desi Bouterse has become a vertically integrated criminal structure, benefiting in TOC and embedding criminals in state organs. It also looks at the Bouterse government’s involvement in the gold trade. Covering up illegal transactions and serving as a safe-space for TOC, Suriname has become the perfect paradigm of a criminalized state.