West Africa suffers from a combination of factors that make it vulnerable to organized crime. It is one of the poorest regions on earth. In many countries governance is weak. The region is located along illicit trafficking routes. And criminal groups can recruit foot soldiers from a large pool of desperate youth. West Africa is under attack, from within and especially from abroad. It is time for the world - and the governments concerned - to respond to the threat before more of the common wealth is stolen, more lives are lost, and before criminality deepens its penetration of state institutions and society at large.