Posts Tagged ‘Egypt’

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Egypt: Muslim Brotherhood growing poppies and cannabis in Sinai to fund their resurgence

May 14, 2014

Islamic terrorists argue that profiting from drugs is acceptable if done with the intent to damage infidels and apostates. We’ve seen Hezbollah, the Taliban, al-Shabaab, and Boko Haram embrace this approach, and now we learn that Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood is doing it too. The Brotherhood is hopeful that they can use the illicit trade to finance the reestablishment of sharia law and their control over Egypt.

From Raymond Ibrahim (h/t to 1389blog.com):

Muslim Brotherhood Dealing Drugs to Fund Terrorism

The Muslim Brotherhood and its jihadi supporters are the latest terrorists to grow and cultivate illegal drugs in the hills of Sinai, in order to sell them and fund their terrorism campaign with the proceeds—not unlike Afghanistan’s Taliban earlier.

A security source from Egypt’s Interior Ministry who chose to remain anonymous recently made these revelations to reporters.

Among other things, he said the numbers of such drug plantations in the Sinai had dramatically grown since the January 25 Revolution, which brought the Muslim Brotherhood to power.

Since the June 30 Revolution, however, which saw the ousting of the Brotherhood, the military has found and destroyed dozens of acres where poppy and cannabis were being cultivated, plants from which opium, heroin, and hashish are extracted.

Although such drugs are generally banned in Islam, the Brotherhood and its supporters, explained the security source, grow them under the Islamic maxim “Necessity makes the prohibited permissible”…

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Al-Shabaab financial news roundup

April 24, 2014

Thanks to all the tipsters who sent in these items:

» Kenyan police have identified two youth outreach coordinators in Mombasa who incite violence during sermons at mosques and offer who small signing bonuses for new al-Shabaab recruits.  (Hat tip to El Grillo)

» Also in Mombasa, Kenyan authorities are are investigating local businessmen for their role in trafficking weapons and recruiting fighters for al-Shabaab.  The businessmen have used up to 20 domestic and international banks to for their activities.  Officials are also monitoring Riyadh mosque in Nairobi, and Masjid Mujahideen (formerly known as Sakina mosque) and Masjid Shuhadaa (f.k.a. Masjid Musa) in Mombasa for their promotion of jihad in Somalia.

» Meanwhile in downtown Nairobi, a dozen shops are financing al-Shabaab and radical madrasas as well.  The shops are still in business.  Nobody in Kenya appears to have been arrested yet despite the fact that authorities have tipped them off.

» An Ethiopian member of parliament has pointed to a different culprit in fattening al-Shabaab’s portfolio–Egypt.   Egypt is spending money on weapons, indoctrination, and training for al-Shabaab according to the MP who says, “American taxpayers should demand answers from the Obama administration on why billions of their money is going to a country that funds terrorism in East Africa.”  Indeed.

» Barclays attempted to stop doing business with Dahabshiil over the Somali wire service’s lax money laundering and terror finance controls last year, but a court injunction forced their relationship to continue temporarily (despite reports that Dahabshiil pays $1 million to al-Shabaab annually).  Now Barclays and Dahabshiil have struck an agreement which will keep them in business together until Dahabshiil finds another bank to transfer its funds. (H/t Mean Kitteh)

» Foreign aid to Somalia has not been accurately accounted for, and has either been stolen or used or to fund militias, according to an investigative report.   The UAE sent $48 million in 2013 off-the-books, Qatar sent $25 million of which only $5 million was properly accounted for, and Iran sent $20 million in cash that was never deposited through official channels. The report revealed that “The diversion of public funds in Somalia is made easier by the fact that most Arab donors prefer to give their aid in cash.”   (H/t SomaliSijui)

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Russia-Egypt arms deal worth $2 billion

December 6, 2013

Egypt may purchase $2 billion in weapons from Russia—a deal which could be underwritten by Saudi Arabia.  Cairo has its eyes set in particular on a batch of MiG-29 interceptor jets.

What are the motives of the players?

The Egyptian military gains a new source of arms and aid after losing some U.S. support in the wake of Muhammad Morsi’s fall from power.

Russia gains financially through the sale and politically by further reestablishing its influence in the Middle East.

Saudi Arabia gets another way of expressing its dissatisfaction with U.S. policy on Syria and Iran.

From the business pages of United Press International:

Egypt said to edge closer to Russian arms package

Nov. 26, 2013

CAIRO, Nov. 26 (UPI) — Speculation persists regarding an emerging Egyptian-Russian military accord that may include the sale by Moscow of a package of weapons systems worth at least $2 billion.

It would likely hinge on Saudi Arabia, a supporter of Egypt’s military-backed regime, underwriting a deal that would be a major boost for Russian efforts to regain influence in a changing Middle East as U.S. power in the region is eroding.

The Saudis, the United Arab Emirates and its partners in the Gulf Cooperation Council have pledged $12 billion to Cairo and have delivered about $7 billion.

There are reports Riyadh has agreed to pay for the Russian arms. But the switch from U.S. weapons — supplied to Egypt since 1979 — back to Russia, the primary supplier to throughout the 1970s will entail a significant expenditure that could signal a possible shift in Arab military procurement policies…

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Egypt arrests 50, says Muslim Brotherhood funds Al Qaeda

December 5, 2013

Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim says that Egypt has detained over 50 members of the Muslim Brotherhood including the brother of Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri.  The detainees killed over 100 people in the last few months and their group is funding terrorists abroad, the minister said.

Part of the money that the Muslim Brotherhood collects is stolen or extorted from Coptic Christians after their loved ones have been kidnapped for exorbitant ransoms by the Brotherhood (see here and here).

The Muslim Brotherhood and its leaders claim to be non-violent, but they frequently turn around and fund violent, militant Sunni terrorist organizations.  Actions speak louder than words.

By Agence France Presse via News 24:

Muslim Brotherhood ‘financing terror’

2013-11-24

Cairo – Egypt’s interior minister on Saturday announced the arrest of dozens of “extremists” and accused the Muslim Brotherhood of deposed president Mohamed Morsi of financing radical Islamists linked to al-Qaeda.

Mohamed Ibrahim told reporters security forces had arrested more than 50 members of “extremist groups” with ties to the network founded by Osama bin Laden and now led by his Egyptian successor, Ayman al-Zawahiri.

The minister said the suspects were connected with attacks on police and soldiers that have multiplied and killed more than 100 people since the army deposed Morsi on 3 July.

The Brotherhood “supports and massively finances from abroad numerous radical terrorists in several groups” that have since the summer “launched a series of terrorist acts seeking to sow terror”, Ibrahim said.

He said some of those held had been pardoned of offences during Morsi’s year-long rule, and that others were linked to jihadist groups Ansar Beit al-Maqdis in the Sinai and the Libya-based Ansar al-Sharia.

Ibrahim said that among them was Mohammed al-Zawahiri, brother of the al-Qaeda chief, who was detained in August after being freed in the 2011 revolt that ousted Hosni Mubarak.

Ibrahim said some of the arrests came after a failed attempt on his own life on September 5 when a suicide bomber attacked his convoy in Cairo.

He said others were detained after an 19 August attack killed 25 police in the Sinai – the deadliest in years in the arid desert peninsula.

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Muslim Brotherhood fills coffers with jizya from 80 Coptic families

November 17, 2013

Muslim Brotherhood gangsters have demanded from 3,000 to 15,000 USD apiece from 80 Coptic Christian households in Malawi, Egypt, according to a recent broadcast on CTV.  The report doesn’t specify how the Muslim Brotherhood is using the money it has collected, but typically such funds are used to pay Muslim Brotherhood operatives and to buy weapons.

Raymond Ibrahim has the details on the Brotherhood’s latest enterprise:

The Kidnapping and Plundering of Christian Copts

By Raymond Ibrahim on November 2, 2013

The kidnapping and plundering of Egypt’s Christian Copts continues unabated.

As recently revealed on CTV, in a village called Maghlaga, in the district of Malawi—where Muslim Brotherhood supporters earlier ransacked and plundered a museum housing Egyptian antiquities—a Muslim gang leader known as “Saddam” has been going to every one of the approximately 80 Coptic households in the village demanding jizya/extortion money from them.

One inhabitant of the village confirmed that Muslim Brotherhood members are behind Saddam, specifically informing him how much money each household can be squeezed of, so that most households are paying anywhere from 20,000-100,000 Egyptian pounds (from 3-15 thousand U.S. dollars).

Yasser, the village resident reporting, said that Saddam told the Copts that “Everyone is going to pay and whoever doesn’t pay we’ll take his son, his wife—we’ll violate the people to the utmost extreme.”

During the live news show it was further revealed that in the region of Shubrat al-Khaima, another young Coptic child was kidnapped, with demands that his parents pay 250,000 EP (nearly 40,000 USD).  After the father complied and met them alone with the money in a secret place, the kidnappers took the money, beat the father severely, and still kept his child.

Such hate for Egypt’s Christians is hardly unprecedented.  Earlier another Muslim man kidnapped a 6-year-old Christian boy and, after the family paid the ransom, still killed the child and threw his body in his sewer.

See prior Money Jihad coverage of how the Muslim Brotherhood finances itself through the traditional Islamic jizya tax here, here, and here.

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Muslim Brothers’ revenue tactic: ransoming Copts

September 20, 2013

Copying the tactics of jihadists in Pakistan, the Philippines, and the Sahel, the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood has increasingly turned towards kidnap-for-ransom schemes as a fundraising method.  As the Brotherhood will also tell you, the imposition of ransoms is justified by Islamic law.  The revenues also help them buy arms or fund terrorists in the Sinai.

One difference, however, in the Egyptian case is that the captors seem to have an inflated sense of how much money the Coptic minority can pay to redeem their loved ones.  Many of the ransom demands are simply too high, resulting in no profit for the abductors and the death of the captive.

From the Middle East Forum:

Egypt: Christians Killed for Ransom

by Raymond Ibrahim
September 2, 2013

Not only are the churches, monasteries, and institutions of Egypt’s Christians under attack by the Muslim Brotherhood and its supporters—nearly 100 now have been torched, destroyed, ransacked, etc.—but Christians themselves are under attack all throughout Egypt, with practically zero coverage in Western media.

Days ago, for example, Copts held a funeral for Wahid Jacob, a young Christian deacon who used to serve in St. John the Baptist Church, part of the Qusiya diocese in Asyut, Egypt. He was kidnapped on August 21 by “unknown persons” who demanded an exorbitant ransom from his impoverished family—1,200,000 Egyptian pounds (equivalent to $171,000 USD). Because his family could not raise the sum, he was executed—his body dumped in a field where it was later found. The priest who conducted his funeral service said that the youth’s body bore signs of severe torture.

In fact, kidnapping young Christians and holding them for ransom has become increasingly common in Egypt. Last April, 10-year-old Sameh George, another deacon, or altar boy, at St. Abdul Masih (“Servant of Christ”) Church in Minya, Egypt, was also abducted by “unknown persons” while on his way to church to participate in Holy Pascha prayers leading up to Orthodox Easter. His parents said that it was his custom to go to church and worship in the evening, but when he failed to return, and they began to panic, they received an anonymous phone call from the kidnappers, informing them that they had the Christian child in their possession, and would execute him unless they received 250,000 Egyptian pounds in ransom money.

If those in Egypt being kidnapped and sometimes killed for ransom money are not all deacons, they are almost always church-attending Christians. Last April, for example, another Coptic Christian boy, 12-year-old Abanoub Ashraf, was also kidnapped right in front of his church, St. Paul Church in Shubra al-Khayma district. His abductors, four men, put a knife to his throat, dragged him to their car, opened fire on the church, and then sped away. Later they called the boy’s family demanding a large amount of money to ransom child’s life.

The hate for these Christians—who are seen as no better than dogs—is such that sometimes after being paid their ransom, the Muslim abductors still slaughter them anyway. This was the fate of 6-year-old Cyril Joseph, who was kidnapped last May. In the words of the Arabic report, the boy’s “family is in tatters after paying 30,000 pounds to the abductor, who still killed the innocent child and threw his body into the toilet of his home, where the body, swollen and moldy, was exhumed”…

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Egypt: Islamists levy jizya against Copts

September 15, 2013

And what do they do with the proceeds?  Buy weapons to wage further assaults against non-Muslims, the military, and moderate Muslims.  Excerpts from a recent article in The Times of London follow:

  • “Some Coptic Christian communities are being made to pay bribes as local Islamists exploit the turmoil by seeking to revive a seventh-century tax, called jizya, levied on non-Muslims.”
  • “In Minya, home to one of the largest communities of Coptic Christians, families said that they had had to pay protection money to their Muslim attackers.”
  • “‘…A local thug [in Deir Mawas], together with representatives of the two most important Muslim families in the city, came around to the Christian families demanding money or they will burn their buildings,’ he said. ‘The starting price was 2,000LE (£190), but because I own quite a large shop, I had to pay 5,000LE.’ For many this is several months’ earnings.”

Additionally, Raymond Ibrahim reports:

  • “…the Muslim Brotherhood and its supporters are forcing the roughly 15,000 Christian Copts of Dalga village in south Minya province to pay jizya…”
  • “‘…Some are being expected to pay 200 Egyptian pounds per day, others 500 Egyptian pounds per day’.”
  • “…some 40 Christian families have now fled Dalga…”

And just yesterday, two Coptic Christians in Sahel Selim in Assuit Province were killed for refusing to pay 10,000 Egyptian pounds in jizya to a “Muslim gang.”  CBN has video:

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Sinai Peninsula flooded with one-quarter billion dollars for jihad

September 13, 2013

First, let’s put in perspective exactly how much $250 million is.  It’s a lot.  Especially for jihadist groups, most of which—even the world’s biggest ones—barely take in that much money in a year.

The possibility that the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood could have diverted that much money to Islamic terrorists in the Sinai suggests that groups like relatively low-profile groups al-Gama’a al-Islamiya and the Salah al-Dine Brigades could potentially carry out attacks equal to or great than operations by the Taliban, al-Shabaab, or Al Qaeda, while still having money left over in the bank.

From Elder of Ziyon (hat tip to Genug):

Report: Muslim Brotherhood gave $250M to Sinai jihadists to attack police and army

Al Monitor translates an interview in Iraqi newspaper Azzaman with Hussein Abdel Rahman, spokesman of the Brothers Without Violence group, a Muslim Brotherhood offshoot that adheres to the same principles as the MB but eschews violence.

At the very end of the interview Rahman – who apparently knows quite a bit about what is going on in the Ikhwan – reveals a bombshell:

Azzaman: Amid persisting violence in the Sinai against the army and the police, some people are accusing Muslim Brotherhood leaders, mainly Mohamed Beltagy and Ezzat, of being involved in those incidents. Are these claims valid?

Abdel Rahman: The international organization of the Muslim Brotherhood earmarked a sum of $250 million to fund some jihadist movements in the Sinai, like al-Gama’a al-Islamiya and the Salah al-Dine Brigades, and supply them with arms sometimes to conduct acts of violence against the army and the police. Unfortunately, some are accusing Muslim Brotherhood youth of committing these acts, but it is not true. They are innocent of such acts that are caused by some leaders who have adopted the approach of Sayyid Qutb, such as Essam al-Aryan, Safwat Hegazi and Tarek al-Zomor. As for Badie, he did not manage any recent acts; Ezzat is actually the current mastermind of the Muslim Brotherhood.

While he denies direct involvement of the MB with the jihadist attacks in the Sinai, he admits freely that the jihadists are funded by the MB.

In this light, the Egyptian arrests of the Brotherhood leaders seems much more grounded in reality and less in harassment, as it sometimes appears. The implication is also that if the MB has given $250M to the Sinai jihadists, then certainly they must have bankrolled their fellow Hamas movement – and the idea that Hamas was involved in the Sinai attacks in some form becomes far more plausible as well.

(h/t Max S)

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Covert finance: recommended reading

June 20, 2013
  • Egyptian imam says that zakat is being used to fund fightersmore>>
  • With prepaid cards and fraud, the sky’s the limit… more>>
  • Sick of drug money funding terrorism? Plant science has developed to the point where we could eradicate the coca shrub and opium poppy, if we really wanted to… more>>
  • Sanctions violation:  the president of Panama’s private trading company is shipping 20 containers a month to Iranmore>>
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Iran financing Gaza’s jihad by land, sea, and air

January 18, 2013

Whether through Sudanese ports, Libyan overland routes, the Rafah border crossing, or smuggling tunnels, Iran has been reasserting its role as the leading regional state sponsor of terror against Israel by funneling arms to Gaza.

Were reports of imminent financial collapse of Iran premature?  If Iran can fund weapons shipments to Gaza to the degree alleged by Israeli officials in this report, it would seem so.

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Saudi Arabia still head of terror finance octopus

December 7, 2012

Saudi Arabia remains the world’s top financier of terrorism and sponsor of fundamentalist Islam throughout the Arab Spring.  U.S. media and Treasury officials don’t really like to discuss it in public, but a report earlier this fall from France 24 gives further confirmation, if you needed it, of the fact that Saudi petrodollars are behind the latest Salafist inroads in the Middle East.

Read it all:

How Saudi petrodollars fuel rise of Salafism

Since the 2011 Arab revolts, a loose network of underground zealots has evolved into a potent and highly vocal force. Behind the remarkable rise of Salafism lies the world’s leading producer of oil – and extremist Islam: Saudi Arabia.

By Marc DAOU

When protesters incensed by an anti-Muslim video scaled the walls of the US embassy in Cairo on September 11, tearing down the Stars and Stripes, a black flag could be seen floating above the battered compound. From Sanaa, in Yemen, to Libya’s Benghazi, the same black banner, emblem of the Salafists, soon became a ubiquitous sight as anti-US protests spread like wildfire across the Arab world. The 2011 Arab uprisings have served the Salafists well. With the old dictators gone, a once subterranean network of hardliners has sprung into prominence – funded by a wealthy Gulf patron locked in a post-Arab Spring rivalry with a fellow Gulf monarchy.

The ‘predecessors’

A puritanical branch of Islam, Salafism advocates a strict, literalist interpretation of the Koran and a return to the practices of the “Salaf” (the predecessors), as the Prophet Mohammed and his disciples are known. While Salafist groups can differ widely, from the peaceful, quietist kind to the more violent clusters, it is the latter who have attracted most attention in recent months.

In Libya and Mali, radical Salafists have been busy destroying ancient shrines built by more moderate groups, such as Sufi Muslims. Fellow extremists in Tunisia have tried to silence secular media and destroy “heretical” artwork. And the presence of Salafist fighting units in Syria has been largely documented. Less well known is who is paying for all this – and why.

‘Export-Wahhabism’

For regional experts, diplomats and intelligence services, the answer to the first question lies in the seemingly endless flow of petrodollars coming from oil-rich Saudi Arabia. “There is plenty of evidence pointing to the fact that Saudi money is financing the various Salafist groups,” said Samir Amghar, author of “Le salafisme d’aujourd’hui. Mouvements sectaires en Occident” (Contemporary Salafism: Sectarian movements in the West).

According to Antoine Basbous, who heads the Paris-based Observatory of Arab Countries, “the Salafism we hear about in Mali and North Africa is in fact the export version of Wahhabism,” a conservative branch of Sunni Islam actively promoted and practised by Saudi Arabia’s ruling family. Since the 1970s oil crises provided the ruling House of Saud with a seemingly endless supply of cash, “the Saudis have been financing [Wahhabism] around the world to the tune of several million euros,” Basbous told FRANCE 24.

Opaque channels

Not all of the cash comes from Saudi state coffers. “Traditionally, the money is handed out by members of the royal family, businessmen or religious leaders, and channelled via Muslim charities and humanitarian organizations,” said Karim Sader, a political analyst who specializes in the Gulf states, in an interview with FRANCE 24.

Until the Arab Spring revolts upended the region’s political landscape, these hidden channels enabled the Salafists’ Saudi patrons to circumvent the authoritarian regimes who were bent on crushing all Islamist groups. These were the same opaque channels that allegedly supplied arms to extremist groups, particularly in Pakistan and Afghanistan, according to Western intelligence officials.

Free education

Other, slightly less shadowy recipients of Saudi petrodollars include the numerous religious institutions built around the Arab world to preach Wahhabi Islam, as well as the growing list of Saudi satellite channels that provide a platform for radical Salafist preachers. A large share of the booty also goes to Arab students attending religious courses at the kingdom’s universities in Medina, Riyadh and the Mecca.

“Most of the students at Medina University are foreigners who benefit from generous scholarships handed out by Saudi patrons, as well as free accommodation and plane tickets,” said Amghar. “Once they have graduated, the brightest are hired by the Saudi monarchy, while the rest return to their respective countries to preach Wahhabi Islam”. According to Amghar, the members of France’s nascent Salafist movement follow a similar path.

Direct funding

Exporting its own brand of Islam is not the only item on Saudi Arabia’s foreign policy agenda. “While they see themselves as the guardians of Islamic doctrine and have always generously financed Muslim missionaries, the Saudis’ priority is not to ‘salafise’ the Muslim world,” explained Amghar. “Their real aim is to consolidate their political and ideological influence by establishing a network of supporters capable of defending the kingdom’s strategic and economic interests.”

Since last year’s Arab revolutions, these supporters have benefited from more direct – and politically motivated – funding. “With the region’s former dictators out of the way, Salafist groups have evolved into well-established parties benefiting from more official Saudi aid,” said Sader, pointing to the spectacular rise of Egypt’s al-Nour party, which picked up a surprising 24% of the vote in January’s parliamentary polls.

“The Saudis were genuinely surprised by the Arab Spring revolts,” said Mohamed-Ali Adraoui, a political analyst who specialises in the Muslim world. “Riyadh’s response was to back certain Salafist groups (…) so that it may gain further clout in their respective countries,” Adraoui told FRANCE 24.

Gulf rivalries

The Saudi strategy is similar to that adopted by its arch Gulf rival Qatar – a smaller but equally oil-rich kingdom – in its dealings with the Muslim Brotherhood, the other great beneficiary of the Arab Spring. “When it comes to financing Islamist parties, there is intense competition between Qatar and Saudi Arabia,” said Sader.

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