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This excellent and interesting report has been professionally converted for accurate flowing-text e-book format reproduction. This thesis investigates Albanian organized crime with a focus on the transnational crime of trafficking cannabis cultivated in Albania. It argues that the illicit cannabis market has flourished due to a difficult transition from communism to democracy, and efforts to combat the market, until recently, have been largely an afterthought by government officials. Additionally, organized crime has infiltrated portions of Albanian politics and its economy, which has had significant negative effects on Albania, its citizens, and its candidacy toward European Union (EU) membership.
This compilation includes a reproduction of the 2019 Worldwide Threat Assessment of the U.S. Intelligence Community.
I. Introduction * A. Research Question * B. Significance Of The Research Question * C. Literature Review * 1. Efforts to Define Organized Crime * 2. The Effects of Organized Crime * 3. Organized Crime as an Economy * 4. Transnational Organized Crime * 5. Organized Crime in International Relations * D. Hypotheses * II. Albanian Organized Crime * A. The Rise of Albanian Organized Crime * B. Albanian Organized Crime Across Borders * C. The Albanian Cannabis Market * D. Destabilizing Effects * 1. Political Corruption and Power Struggles * 2. Gray Economy * E. Chapter Summary * III. Albanian Transnational Crime and International Concerns * A. Cannabis From a Global Perspective * 1. Global Concerns about TOC * 2. Global Debate about Cannabis * 3. Global Effects of Albanian Cannabis Trafficking * B. The European Union and Albania * C. NATO and Albania * D. Chapter Summary * IV. The Unlikely Link Between Terrorism and Albanian Cannabis * A. Terrorism, Terrorist Organizations, and Narco-Terrorism * B. The Taliban * C. The Loyalist Paramilitaries * D. The Medellin Drug Cartel * E. Ideological Narco-Terrorism in Albania * F. Sectarian Narco-Terrorism in Albania * G. Financial Narco-Terrorism in Albania * H. Chapter Summary * V. Conclusion
The research question takes into account the complexities of Albanian integration with the West while focusing on the country's struggle to combat organized crime, an extremely broad category of activity in Albania. To avoid an overly broad analysis, this thesis focuses on the illicit Albanian markets of cannabis production and trafficking. Cannabis is unique because the level of actual harm the drug is responsible for is heavily debated. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) argues that this debate has resulted in inconsistencies in the severity of cannabis laws and cannabis law enforcement. As a result, the drug has become a uniquely suitable product for transnational organized crime. If Albanian organized crime has indeed hurt the country's relations with European governments and international organizations, as evidence suggests, this thesis investigates how severe the impacts have been and the role the illicit cannabis market has played in this respect.