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CIA: funding rebels doesn’t work

October 31, 2014

An internal review conducted by the CIA found that U.S. financing, training, and arming foreign fighters has seldom worked in the past 70 years. According to The New York Times (hat tip to Drugs and Thugs Blog), the Obama administration asked the CIA to report on the subject when the White House was considering whether to increase aid to Syrian rebels in 2012 and 2013. The CIA found that there was only one significant example of support to rebels that was effective in the short-term, which was aid to the Afghan mujahideen in the 1980s—an initiative now viewed as a long-term strategic blunder that contributed to the eventual rise of Al Qaeda and the Taliban.

Nevertheless, the Obama administration has shifted course and decided to arm and fund “vetted, moderate,” Syrian rebels anyway. Funding the rebels has likewise been championed by interventionists including John McCain, Lindsey Graham, and Hillary Clinton.

Other studies have shown even worse consequences than the CIA’s report. Rather than just being ineffective, such efforts tend to make matters worse according to Dr. Marc Lynch:

In general, external support for rebels almost always make wars longer, bloodier and harder to resolve (for more on this, see the proceedings of this Project on Middle East Political Science symposium in the free PDF download). Worse, as the University of Maryland’s David Cunningham has shown, Syria had most of the characteristics of the type of civil war in which external support for rebels is least effective…

Why are we choosing the least effective option?

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Qatar terror finance news: recommended reading

October 30, 2014
  • Qatar paid for thousands of rockets for Hamas to fire at Israeli civilians… more>>
  • Qatar offers $1 billion to Gaza. What could go wrong? More>>
  • Money for some of Denmark’s 100 ISIS fighters came from Qatarmore>>
  • Qatar will pay Turkish front charity IHH to launch a second anti-Israel flotilla (h/t Scot Infidel)… more>>
  • Turns out that a man who sent hundreds of thousands of dollars to Al Qaeda was working for the government of Qatar  (h/t El Grillo)… more>>
  • Britain sanctions a Qatari who was sending £1 million a month to Al Qaeda (h/t El Grillo)… more>>
  • Israel’s economy minister says Qatar pays a quarter billion dollars to Hamas chief Khaled Meshaalmore>>
  • With a straight face, the emir of Qatar says “We don’t fund extremists”… more>>
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Treasury hopes ISIS will go broke on its own

October 28, 2014

In remarks last week (hat tip to @HSPI), Treasury official David Cohen confirmed that the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria makes $1 million a day from oil sales, that it has made $20 million this year in ransoms, and that it makes millions a month from extortion. Cohen laid out plans to counter each facet of ISIS’s funding.

Cohen also acknowledged that some of Treasury’s tools aren’t well suited to the task of bankrupting ISIS, but noted with some optimism that “Attempting to govern the cities, towns and sprawling territory in Iraq and Syria where it currently operates, much less delivering some modicum of services to the millions of people it seeks to subjugate, is expensive,” and that ISIS would ultimately be unable “to meet the cost of governing.”

To support his argument, Cohen cited a journalist with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace who reckons that, although ISIS is well funded, the budgetary demands of controlling such a large territory exceed even their financial resources. ISIS’s revenues may be $1.5 billion annually, but prior Iraqi budgets for the provinces under ISIS’s control exceeded $2.5 billion per year.

ISIS’s potential budget deficits become even starker when one considers that most of its money isn’t spent on public services. Die Welt has reported (hat tip to Puneet) that just one-third of ISIS’s money is spent on providing basic utilities and social services to the population within its territory, while one-third go to salaries for fighters and employees, and one-third is spent on weapons.

So there is hope that ISIS could be taken down a peg financially, but it won’t be through sanctions and monitoring suspicious financial activity: it could come through diplomacy, military action, and by the harsh realities of governance.

(Thanks to Terrorism Watch, El Grillo, and Red Team Red Queen for sending in news coverage of Cohen’s remarks.)

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Socialists urge West to arm the PKK

October 27, 2014

Leading Marxist voices are calling on the EU and U.S. to ship weapons to the terrorist-designated Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Morning Star, the flagship newspaper of British communists, has editorialized that “Nato member states, including the US, have to rethink previous self-defeating positions, drop their sanctions against the anti-Isis alliance and send arms to those in the front line of this epic struggle,” referring to the PKK and their Syrian Kurd counterparts known as the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG).

The leading American socialist newspaper The Militant also bemoaned in a recent front page headline that the PKK and YPG are “low on arms.” The self-described anarchist think tank Center for a Stateless Society says that “Supporting the PKK would arguably be far more effective” than current Obama administration policies against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. A petition is also being circulated for submission to the White House for the U.S. to arm the YPG.

Leftist intellectuals are normally highly critical of arms manufacturers and weapons shipments to conflict zones, but are making an exception in this case because they would like to see the formation of a socialist Kurdish state carved out of portions of Syria, Turkey, Iraq, and Iran.

Such aid to the PKK, in addition to threatening existing regional borders, would violate current U.S. and EU sanctions. The PKK is designated as a foreign terrorist organization by the State Department, and is a specially designated global terrorist group which means that the PKK is subject to sanctions enforced by Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). It is unlikely that these sanctions will be lifted unless it’s part of a grand bargain with Turkish president Recep Erdogan involving peace talks with the PKK and Turkish support for U.S. policies in Iraq and Syria.

For now, even shipments to non-PKK Kurdish forces run the risk of violating sanctions against the PKK. The University of Queensland’s Dr. Tristan Dunning told Australian radio that, “What’s happened in the past is that Peshmerga arms have actually ended up with the PKK. So one of the reasons that I’ve heard that the collapse so quickly at Sinjar is actually because the Peshmerga generals in change of that Yezidi town had actually already sold the heavy weapons to the PKK for personal profit. There’s several Peshmerga generals on trial at the moment for selling the weapons for profit.”

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5-year anniversary of Money Jihad

October 12, 2014

Five years ago today, the first post of this blog was published.

Since then, Money Jihad has blown the lid off connections among Islamic charities including the Zakat Foundation and Muslim Hands, the close financial relationship between Islamic Relief USA and Islamic Relief Worldwide in Britain, and partnerships between Islamic Relief and the Turkish front charity IHH.

Money Jihad has also documented the relationships between sharia banks and terrorist financing—relationships which were previously only discernible through scattered evidence and rumors.

On top of that, this blog has exposed information that was known in Somalia and Bangladesh about terrorist financing in those countries that had never been reported before to Western readers. On several occasions, this blog has helped give voice to dissidents and expatriates from those and other nations who have shared their knowledge about financial mischief in their home countries with Money Jihad to reach a wider audience.

None of this would have been possible if it weren’t for some wonderful people and organizations. Special thanks to Shariah Finance Watch and Creeping Sharia blogs for putting Money Jihad on the map in the first place. Individual thanks go to the vice president at the Center for Security Policy Christopher Holton, human rights activist Puneet Madaan, and American Center for Democracy fellow Ilan Weinglass who have each done a great deal to expand the reach of this blog.

Without additional support and engagement by 1389 Blog, The Counter Jihad Report, EuropeNews, BlazingCatFur, and other counter-jihad blogs—all wonderful blogs in their own right—in addition to news sites Free Republic, American Thinker, FrontPage Mag, The Washington Free Beacon, The Washington Post, and International Business Times, this blog would never have reached the level of influence or readership that it currently enjoys.

Then there’s the vibrant community of readers, sources, jokers and curmudgeons on Twitter! This whole endeavor would be much quieter and boring without them. A special thanks goes out to all-star Twitter users Rushette, El Grillo, MeanKitteh, Sal, Michael, Jackie, Zac, Jack, and FRamabama for all the support and the wealth of information and insights they provide.

Twitter also allows Money Jihad to mutually follow and connect with noted leaders of the counter-jihad movement including author Tarek Fatah, Act for America organizer Brigitte Gabriel, former Navy officer Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, author Diana West, author Dr. Mark Walia, Gatestone Institute president Nina Rosenwald and terror analysts Patrick Poole and Ryan Mauro. TV stars Roseanne Barr and David Boreanaz have helped too (seriously); and prominent financial crimes experts including anti-money laundering reporter Colby Adams; finance and security analyst Tom Keatinge; anti-money laundering attorney Christine Duhaime; Wall Street Journal risk & compliance reporter Rachel Louise Ensign; terrorism and terror finance expert J.C. Brisard; author Jeffery Robinson; fellow financial crime bloggers Helen Gorman and Eric “Mr. Watchlist” Sohn; and a host of certified public accounts, trade and sanctions lawyers, certified fraud examiners, and certified anti-money laundering specialists.

Thanks also to Rachel Ehrenfeld, Robert Spencer, and Kenneth Rijock. The insights and expertise in their writings have helped shape the perspective of this blog.

Now, friends and readers, it’s time for a two-week break. Hasta luego!

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Video: halal food and its indirect funding of terror

October 10, 2014

Leading up to our 5-year anniversary, Money Jihad continues looking back at some of the more significant videos over the past few years.

CBN is one of the few media outlets to have ever investigated the disturbing and growing trend of halal food certification funding Muslim Brotherhood affiliates.  Check out their report from 2011 (which we also covered at the time):

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Clandestine money news: recommended reading

October 9, 2014
  • Qatar is arming the revolutionary Islamist militia known as “Libya Dawn”… more>>
  • The international watchdog Financial Action Task Force finds that soccer and money laundering are a perfect match for each other… more>>
  • Arab Bank wasn’t the only financial institution funding Hamas.  Enter National Westminster Bank… more>>
  • How ISIS’s antiquities smuggling and the Islamic khums tax finance the blood-letting in Iraq and Syria… more>>
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