Posts Tagged ‘terrorist financing’

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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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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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Top 5 Money Jihad posts

October 7, 2014

This blog has been around for five years next week. Readers may be interested to see what some of the most popular posts here have been. According to WordPress statistics, these have been the five most frequently read/visited posts on this blog to date:

  1. The world’s 20 biggest Muslim NGOs
  2. The world’s 5 richest terror groups
  3. Zakat Foundation & Muslim Hands unite
  4. Islamic tax chart
  5. Welcome to Lilburn, Georgia

Not a bad selection. But we wouldn’t necessarily say those have been our best posts. Now, for the editor’s top 5 favorites:

Lastly, the oddball gallery. These are our top 5 “overlooked” posts—items that, never seemed to gain the traction or readership they deserved. Were these just too weird for popular consumption? You be the judge:

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Arab Bank liable in Hamas money case

October 6, 2014

Litigation can help bankrupt terrorist groups by discouraging banks from providing them with account services. While banks like HSBC have gotten a lot of attention for weak compliance programs, there are some banks—particularly Gulf-based and sharia banks—that have purposefully funded terrorist groups out of shared sympathies or backscratching arrangements with the ruling monarchies. Jordan’s Arab Bank is one of them. Note that in this case, as in almost every other high-fatality terrorist operation in the past 20 years, a Saudi front charity is involved.

From ACAMS MoneyLaundering.com:

By Colby Adams and Kira Zalan

In the first trial of its kind, a federal court said Monday that Arab Bank is liable for deaths caused by Hamas and a Saudi charity that used its accounts to reward terrorism.

A jury in the Eastern District of New York ruled in the decade-old case that the Amman-based financial institution should pay the families of individuals killed by Hamas in reparation for providing banking services to the group’s leaders and facilitating payments to relatives of suicide bombers.

Using Arab Bank accounts, the Saudi Committee in Support of the Intifada Al Quds offered the payments as a reward to the families of any Palestinian terrorist, regardless of group affiliation, according to the plaintiff’s attorneys, who said the program functioned with the financial institution’s consent…

Arab Bank will appeal.

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Look back: the true cost to wage terror

October 3, 2014

Leading up to Money Jihad’s fifth anniversary next week, we’re looking at some of the biggest terror finance stories and commentaries over the past five years.

Although we’ve written about Loretta Napoleoni and her views before, we’ve never shown her important “TED talk” from 2009. Napoleoni makes the valuable point that the amount of money taken to carry out a specific terrorist attack is only a sliver of the money that terrorist organizations need to build, recruit, train, and sustain their operations over time. So much money, in fact, that it becomes difficult to conceal and easier to interdict.

This video is longer than what we normally post, but it won’t bore you. Roll tape:

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Terror payola news: recommended reading

October 2, 2014
  • 300 plaintiffs would have their health or loved ones back if it hadn’t been for Arab Bank and the money they handled for Hamas, a jury finds… more>>
  • Qatar gave $15 million to the institute that keeps a key U.S. negotiator for peace in the Middle East on its payroll.  The summary in Latin is quid pro quomore>>
    (h/t Europe News)
  • The smoke clears on the history of Hezbollah‘s cigarette smuggling in North Carolina with the publication of Lightning out of Lebanonmore>>
    (hat tip El Grillo)
  • The Israel-Gaza rocket war was triggered by a $61.5K contract killing of three Israeli teenagers ordered by Hamas… more>>
  • Treasury’s top authority on the subject says, “Qatar, a longtime U.S. ally, has for many years openly financed Hamas”… more>>
  • On Hamas’s recent bank robbery of $750,000 from the Bank of Palestine in Gaza City… more>>
    (h/t El Grillo)
  • Ukraine lists 172 Russian citizens & 65 Russian companies to be sanctioned “for financing terrorism”… more>>

 

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10 women who’ve funded jihad

September 30, 2014

The wife of Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, Umaymah Hasan Ahmed Muhammed Hasan, once declared that Muslim women “should fulfill whatever they [the mujahideen] ask of us, may it be through monetary aid to them or any service or information or suggestion or participation in fighting or even through a martyrdom operation” (emphasis mine). Several have taken that message to heart.

Money Jihad has compiled profiles of 10 women who have funded Islamic terrorism since 9/11. This list includes several women who lived on the West coast of the U.S., but also the Midwest, U.K., and Europe. Pakistan-based terrorists and al-Shabaab in Somalia are common recipients of their funds. Several of these women worked with other women to carry out their fundraising or cash smuggling activities, while others worked with men.

Readers may also remember several women who have helped secular terrorist groups rob banks to raise money for their causes, including Ulrike Meinhof (Red Army Faction), Patty Hurst (Symbionese Liberation Army), and Assata Shakur (Black Liberation Army).

Are we forgetting any others?

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