Warlordism and Drug Trafficking: From Southeast Asia to Sub-Saharan Africa

  • Glen Segell


This chapter will examine warlordism in Sub-Saharan Africa and compare it with warlordism in Southeast Asia in the context of drug trafficking.1 The significance of drug trafficking is how it has financed the warlord against the weapon-state. The Asian and African warlordism in this context of drugs trafficking must first be placed in respect to the global role of the criminal aspects of drugs when evaluating its military dimension as an actor of ethnic and sub-state conflict. It is the changing crime problem throughout the world which generates the most important link between warlordism and drug trafficking, and the warlordism in both geographic regions. This increasing network of criminal activities crosses traditional boundaries and merges heretofore separate offences in pursuit of common goals. It also erodes the state’s power both economically and militarily generating a new military dimension to the funding of ethnic and sub-state conflict on a global scale. The root of warlordism, however, is an ethnic aspect of the structure and culture of society where drug trafficking and its associated criminal activities are mere catalysts towards generating the means for conflict. Drug trafficking does not create new warlordism in Africa and Asia. Drug trafficking sustains existing warlordism.


Death Penalty Organize Crime Drug Trafficking Drug Trade Military Power 
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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Glen Segell

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