By James F. Miskel
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Extra resources for A Fevered Crescent: Security and Insecurity in the Greater Near East
The areas that have been identified are not particularly surprising. Very broadly speaking, they include the northern branches of the Andean mountains and the Amazonian jungle—particularly in the far west (from Rio de Janeiro) and the north where the jungle edges into southern Venezuela and Guyana and Surinam, the interior of Central 30 A Fevered Crescent Africa, the mountainous regions across Afghanistan and Pakistan, the dense jungles of Southeast Asia, and the rugged islands in the Indonesian and Philippine archipelago.
The city hosts more than 50 banks, which testifies more to the volume of money laundering and the sheltering of illicit gains than to the value of the city’s legitimate commerce or the financial acumen of its citizens. Ciudad del Este is the hub of a rural area that is remote from the urban centers of Brazil and Argentina, and the border controls in the area for all three states have traditionally been lax. In the case of Paraguay, this laxity may have been deliberate. Under the Stroessner regime (1954–1989), elements of the government actively connived at smuggling, and the country has long been known as being indifferent toward the regulation of goods transiting its territory.
Admittedly, the integrity of the sovereignty shield has been weakening in recent years, but for parastates and terrorist organizations, some such protection is certainly better than none, and as we have seen in both Pakistan’s agency areas and the outback of Afghanistan, there is also protection in the very remoteness of the safe haven. While it is certainly possible that al-Qaeda will eventually be suppressed by international law enforcement efforts and American military initiatives, other terrorists or major criminal operations will take their place.