Ongoing Research and Monitoring

 

To date we have identified over 130 and mapped over 80 such Black Spots in all regions of the world and begun to assess the types of interactions going on in these areas as well as the various kinds of insecurity that they are exporting and the directions in which it is or may be going.  We continually scan the globe for other areas where conditions seem right for the presence of a Black Spot.  Using published materials, news-scanning software, formal and informal interviews, and, where feasible, visits to the areas, we piece together a picture of the Global Black Spots, their nature, and their interactions with the outside world.

Our research so far suggests that Black Spots potentially serve as nodes for a global network of transnational criminals and terrorists. We believe that transnational vicious non-state actors use Black Spots as locations between which they can operate undisturbed and out of sight of international law enforcement, intelligence, and security agencies.  What they transfer in, out, and between Black Spots are insecurity flows, defined as movements of assets, people, services, or sensitive know-how in pursuit of illicit criminal or political gain, and with intention of evading law enforcement, intelligence, and related national and international agencies.

Some examples of Global Black Spots that we have been analyzing and monitoring include areas around:

    North America
        - Tohono O'odham 
        - Chetumal 
    South America
        - Tri-Border area (Southern Cone) 
        - Darien jungle 
    Europe
        - Scampia and Secondigliano 
        - Transniestria 
    Africa
        - Goma (DRC) 
        - Gharb Darfur 
    Middle East
        - Sections of the Sinai Peninsula 
        - Bekaa Valley 
    Asia
        - FATA 
        - Ferghana Valley

Being able to pinpoint and monitor Black Spots on an ongoing basis offers the possibility of tracking the movement of criminals and terrorists, their financial assets and illegal weapons, and their skills and expertise.  Such a capability is critical to intelligence gathering and necessary precondition for threat interception and the prevention of the escalation of insecurity. 

E-mail contact: ssbrown@maxwell.syr.edu