Increasingly since the end of the Cold War and the subsequent decline of state sponsorship for terrorism, organised criminal activities have become a major revenue source for terrorist groups worldwide. Building on the precedent set by narco-terrorism, as it emerged in Latin America in the 1980s, the use of crime has become an important factor in the evolution of terrorism. As such, the 1990s can be described as the decade in which the crime–terror nexus was consolidated: the rise of transnational organised crime and the changing nature of terrorism mean that two traditionally separate phenomena have begun to reveal many operational and organisational similarities. Indeed, criminal and terrorist groups appear to be learning from one another, and adapting to each other’s successes and failures, meaning that it is necessary to acknowledge, and to understand the crime–terror continuum to formulate effective state responses to these evolving, and periodically converging, threats.
Terrorism is illegal. Terrorism is crime.
With that thought in mind, it seems to me that the crime-terror nexus has always existed, but that, even now, it is being inappropriately named.
What we in fact have here are illegal, criminal activities which can be differentiated based upon their motive: politics or profit. It follows that this is not a crime-terror nexus, but rather a criminal world, in which a politics-profit nexus can be distinguished.
The September 11th 2001 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington DC unleashed unprecedented academic, corporate, and government interest in uncovering the contemporary dynamics of international terrorism. As a result, a plethora of post-9/11 literature has emerged, seeking to provide explanations of various issues related to the terrorist threat. In addition to specific accounts of Al Qaeda, the role of ideology, recruitment, state relations, group organisation, and target selection, have also elicited growing analytical attention. One topic, however, that has received comparatively limited analytical interest is the financing of terrorism. Although the immediate post-9/11 environment—with a concentrated focus on Al Qaeda—has provoked the need to understand hawala banking , the abuse of charities and donations from diaspora communities, and the use of legitimate business by terrorist groups, few comprehensive accounts of terrorist financing exist . Furthermore, despite sporadic media coverage and official references to the use of criminal activities by terrorist groups, the relationship between organised crime and terrorism remains under-investigated in the public domain.
Increasingly since the end of the Cold War and the subsequent decline of state sponsorship for terrorism, organised criminal activities have become a major revenue source for terrorist groups worldwide. Building on the precedent set by narco-terrorism, as it emerged in Latin America in the 1980s, the use of crime has become an important factor in the evolution of terrorism. As such, the 1990s can be described as the decade in which the crime–terror nexus was consolidated. Generally referring to the relationship between organised crime and terrorism, the nexus most commonly applies to the straightforward use of crime by terrorist groups as a source of funding—such as taxing the drug trade, or engaging in creditcard fraud. The nexus has also been used to relate to the formation of alliances between criminal and terrorist organisations. These two types of relationship constitute the major components of the nexus, as it currently exists; however, the relationship between organised crime and terrorism has evolved into something more complex. Taking advantage of the immediate post-Cold War environment—which offered relatively unrestricted access to technological advancements, financial and global market structures, diaspora communities worldwide, weak states faced with civil war, and numerous geographical safe-havens—the distinction between political and criminal motivated violence is often blurred. In many respects, the rise of transnational organised crime in the 1990s, and the changing nature of terrorism, have produced two traditionally separate phenomena that have begun to reveal many operational and organisational similarities . Security, as a result, should now be viewed as a cauldron of traditional and emerging threats that interact with one another, and at times, converge. It is in this context that the crime–terror continuum exists.
Looked at another way, profit-motivated crime was self-sufficient, but politically-motivated crime was not, and always had some quasi-legitimate sponsor. Since the end of the Cold War, with the advent of the circumstances described above, politically-motivated crime has had to find a way to fund itself.
Notice this excerpt: "the abuse of charities and donations from diaspora communities, and the use of legitimate business by terrorist groups".
Outlining the Crime–Terror Continuum 
Relations that have developed between transnational organised crime and terrorism are not static, but have evolved over the past decade into a continuum that inherently seeks to trace how organisational dynamics and the operational nature of both phenomena changes over time. The crime–terror nexus is placed on a continuum (Figure 1) precisely because it illustrates the fact that a single group can slide up and down the scale—between what is traditionally referred to as organised crime and terrorism—depending on the environment in which it operates.
As depicted in Figure 1, organised crime and terrorism exist on the same plane, and thus are theoretically capable of converging at a central point. Organised crime is situated on the far left, with traditional terrorism situated on the far right—each holding distinct and separate positions. At the fulcrum of the continuum lies the point of ‘convergence’, where a single entity simultaneously exhibits criminal and terrorist characteristics. In assessing the various relationships that have developed between criminally and politically motivated groups, seven categories are discernible—each of which are illustrated as distinct points along the continuum. These seven points, however, can be divided into four general groups: alliances (1), operational motivations (2), convergence (3), and the ‘black hole’ (4).
Again, very well-explained.
As addressed in the excerpt highlighted above, legitimate business plays a role. Similarly, legitimate and quasi-legitimate political organizations -- political parties, political action committees, governments -- also play a role.
Even in a purely profit-driven criminal venture, legitimate business interests help launder money, and help provide cover for criminal activities. Similarly, corrupt government functionaries can help obstruct justice and enable criminal endeavors.
When politically-motivated violence is factored in, the need for sympathetic government officials, political parties and political action committees becomes quite obvious.
Factor in religious motivation to criminal acts, and the situation becomes complex indeed, and more dynamic.
Consequently, while Makarenko's thinking here is certainly brilliant, the "crime-terror nexus" model is too one-dimensional. When these other factors are considered, and when their influence is examined, it becomes apparent that this is a multi-dimensional problem, and not all to do with crime and terror, or with profit and politics.
To me, this "nexus" that Makarenko is describing seems like a world where motivations, often far from obvious, interact to yield results, often surprising and unexpected relative to what we would encounter in everyday life; it is a dark world where loyalties can be hidden and can shift, where image and reality are difficult to distinguish, where logic may not apply, and where actions can be manipulated to yield unpredictable results.
It is a shadow realm.