By John Prendergast
Throughout history, war may have been hell, but for small groups of conflict profiteers it has also been very lucrative. Today’s deadliest conflicts in Africa — such as those in Sudan, South Sudan, Somalia, northern Nigeria, and the Democratic Republic of Congo — are sustained by extraordinary opportunities for illicit self-enrichment that emerge in war economies, where there is a visible nexus between grand corruption and the instruments of mass atrocities. State armies and rebels use extreme violence to control natural resources, labor, and smuggling networks. Violence becomes self-financing from pillaging, natural resource looting, and the theft of state assets with connections that extend to New York, London, Dubai, and other global financial centers.