Watch for in 2013

Mali, Boko Haram, the Quint-border region.   

Keep an eye out for a U.S. Army presence in Mali, a Foreign Terrorist Organization designation for Boko Haram, the Nigerian extremist group and the Quint-border region (a border region of five different nations- Nigeria, Benin, Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger).

The establishment of an al Qaeda haven in northern Mali – along with al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, al Shabaab in East Africa, and Boko Haram in Nigeria – has drawn the attention of the U.S., especially in light of the drawn down of troops from Afghanistan.  At least one expert believes that when it comes to Islamic terrorists, a great amount of their support comes from the Quint-border region.

As the Army proceeds it is important for analysts and others to consider the effects of a U.S. presence, particularly the unintended consequences of such participation.   If tensions escalate the Obama administration may implement OFAC sanctions and designate Boko Haram as a Foreign Terrorist Organization and any additions to the Specially Designated Nations List will shift responsibility of tracking assets and financial flows onto the private sector.

Supply chain security, supply chain due diligence and mobile money transfer.

Designations and sanctions will trigger a renewed focus on other types of activities in the region such as supply chain security, supply chain due diligence and mobile money transfer.  All three of these topics have remained on the fringe of conversations within CIKR and the government for quite some time.  Mobile money transfer will become the way of the future, tablets and smart phones will ensure that.  The anti-money laundering and private security industry must be prepared.  Local law enforcement (stateside) should continue to consider how local crime problems could be part of larger, transnational networks.

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