Posts Tagged ‘Turkey’

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Terrorist money news: recommended reading

December 4, 2014
  • A lawsuit by 11 terror victims’ families against the Palestinian Authority—not against Hamas, Hezbollah, nor PIJ—will begin in January… more>>
  • Beware that money exchanged with Turkish individuals, companies, and government agencies could end up in Hamas‘s hands… more>>
  • Despite aerial bombardment, ISIS grosses €4.5 million daily… more>>
  • Obama administration bows to Turkish diplomatic pressure, removes Al Qaeda financier from blacklist… more>>
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International terror finance news: suggested reading

November 23, 2014
  • A plain account of Hamas’s $1 billion budget… more>>
  • Police arrest 9 Salafists who robbed churches in Germany to fund ISISmore>>
  • Hezbollah in South America gave C4 explosives to a Brazilian prison gang in exchange for protection of Lebanese inmates (h/t @RedQRedT)… more>>
  • Hamas recently smuggled $12 million from Syria to Turkey—money which is being held by the brother-in-law of Hamas leader Khaled Meshaalmore>>
  • Turkey’s cross-border smuggling with Iraq and Syria wouldn’t be so worrisome if it weren’t for Turkey’s porous northern border with EU member Bulgaria… more>>
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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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3 Islamic Relief affiliates reliant on Turkey’s IHH

September 5, 2014

The Turkish front charity IHH partnered with either Islamic Relief UK or its parent organization, Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW), during earthquake recovery operations in early 2013. IHH said its work was carried out, “in cooperation with Islamic Relief from Britain,” where IRW is headquartered.

The Australian affiliate of IRW has also partnered with IHH to conduct activities in Syria in 2013 according to a report on Syrian aid issued by IR-Australia. IHH was responsible for the procurement and delivery of supplies into Syria on behalf of IR-Australia.

In addition to previous evidence of cooperation between IR-Deutschland and IHH, these finding indicate consistent international collaboration between Islamic Relief affiliates and IHH. IHH was behind the violent, blockade-running flotilla against Israel in 2010, and has also worked with terrorist groups including al-Shabaab in Somalia.

All developed countries and their charitable regulators advise their charities against working with IHH overseas, particularly in jurisdictions such as Syria where the risks of aid falling into the wrong hands are so high. Islamic Relief USA would do well to note the red flags raised by IHH. According to U.S. Treasury publications, charities should exercise due diligence over the charities with which they partner, and should refrain from working with any charities suspected of financing terrorism.

IRW is currently investigating its own activities after being banned from the West Bank by Israel for funding Hamas.  The Charities Aid Foundation, which provides services to charities, and Islamic Relief UK have ceased working together in the wake of Israel’s ban.

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Exclusive: Islamic Relief Deutschland partners with Hamas-funding charity in Syria

September 4, 2014

Islamic Relief Worldwide's German affiliate links

Islamic Relief Deutschland, the German chapter of Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW), listed the Islamic front charity IHH as an “implementation partner” for a €150,000 aid project within Syria in a 2013 press release, raising serious questions about IR-Deutschland’s willingness or competence to vet partner charities abroad.

The partnership is striking considering that the German interior ministry previously banned IHH from operating in Germany because it had contributed money to Hamas. A German federal court upheld that ban in 2012 although an agreement was later reach that allowed IHH to operate under certain conditions.

IHH instigated the violent, blockade-running, anti-Israeli Mavi Marmara flotilla in 2010, and it has worked in concert with the terrorist group al-Shabaab in Somalia. IHH’s accounts in the Netherlands were frozen by Dutch authorities in 2011. IHH was reported to have smuggled weapons to the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood as early as 2012.

IRW itself has been banned from Israel because of its support for Hamas. The behaviors of IRW’s German affiliate may help to explain why Israel regards IRW as a threat.

Meanwhile, Al Qaeda has capitalized on the flow of international aid of all kinds to Syrian fighters. That aid includes significant support from Turkey, which has provided ongoing assistance to militants fighting Bashar al-Assad in Syria, and has allowed fighters to cross its border with Iraq to join ISIS. Western charities have a responsibility to carefully examine any partner charities in Turkey, Iraq, or Syria prior to sharing money and supplies with them, but this German revelation casts further doubt on the thoroughness of the due diligence conducted for these international relief efforts.

Islamic Relief USA, the American affiliate of IRW, has conducted several humanitarian relief operations in Syria over the last few years. From December 2012 to May 2013, IR-USA conducted a project which, according to their own website, “provided emergency aid to Syrians in need inside of Syria through Islamic Relief partner offices in Turkey” (emphasis mine). The national affiliation of those “partner offices” in Turkey is unclear since Turkey does not appear to have its own, permanent Islamic Relief chapter.

IRW’s official and current affiliates are located in the U.S., Australia, Belgium, Canada, Germany, Italy, Malaysia, Mauritius, the Netherlands, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, and the U.K. IRW says it has field offices in Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq, but that its presence in Turkey is limited to “seasonal and emergency campaigns.”

Germany’s sizable Turkish immigrant community gives IR-Deutschland better connections and access than most international Islamic charities to the Turkish border.

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Money and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria

August 11, 2014

In 2007, the Islamic State of Iraq was seen as “the richest of the insurgency groups” in Iraq with $1 billion to 1.5 billion “collected in revenue by the group through foreign donations, enforced taxation and confiscation of the property and funds of Iraqis.” But the U.S. surge and ISI missteps significantly damaged the jihadist group’s ability to raise funds.

Seven years and three names later, ISIS amassed a $2 billion comeback and took control of large swathes of territory in northern Iraq including Mosul and 35 percent of Syria.

ISIS’s financial recovery has been marked by a slight shift away from reliance on local extortion networks (although those are still in effect), improved organizational and financial management by ISIS leader and self-proclaimed caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and the departure of U.S. troops in 2011.

The most important elements of ISIS’s funding are sadaqa (voluntary donations) from Arab donors in the Gulf; sales and tolls collected on sales of oil from fields under its control; and increasingly through money made by controlling key infrastructure.

Here’s a rundown of ISIS’s main funding channels:

Sadaqa from private donors

Fundraising is aided by contemporary marketing methods

Oil

  • ISIS controls 60 percent of Syrian oil including the lucrative Omar field
  • In Iraq, ISIS controls Butmah and Ain Zalah oil fields, the refinery in Baiji, and oil and gas resources in Ajeel in northern Iraq
  • ISIS sells or collects a portion on black market sales to Turkey, Iran, and in Syria itself
  • Revenue estimates for ISIS range from $1 million to $3 million daily

Dams

  • In addition to oil, control of key infrastructure such as the dams in Mosul, Fallujah, and Tabqa present increasingly significant revenue potential for ISIS.
  • Professor Ariel Ahram notes this is already occurring at Tabqa, where ISIS is involved in selling electricity.
  • New York Times reporter Tim Arango says that possession of the Mosul dam can enable ISIS to “use it as a method of finance” through extortion schemes to continue their operations.

Other sources

  • Isis has seized arms from Iraqi depots, including U.S. weapons given to Iraqi forces, plus weapons smuggled from Turkey and Croatia
  • The collection of ransom money has sustained ISIS throughout its existence
  • Antiquities smuggling

Incidently, little is being done by the Gulf states to curtail the flow of donations to ISIS because they either want an independent Sunni state carved out of Iraq or to replace Iraq’s Shia-led government with Sunnis. Washington should designate Saudi Arabia and Qatar as state sponsors of terrorism, but it won’t because of diplomatic considerations.

Without interdicting the donations and the contraband oil, U.S. airstrikes will have limited effect on ISIS’s coffers.

This piece is also published at Terror Finance Blog.

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Terror finance trio: Qatar, Kuwait, and KSA

July 22, 2014

They left out Turkey. It is great that more people are coming to this realization and that books are being written about it, but it doesn’t seem to be significantly changing the policies of the West (apart from a growing rift between the U.S. and the Sunni powers in the region over how we’re dealing with Iran). We have yet to designate the major institutional terror donors in Qatar Saudi Arabia as terrorist entities. Kuwait was never blacklisted by FATF even though it took it 10 years after 9/11 to outlaw terrorist financing. NATO has retained Turkey as a member even though it is partnering with Al Qaeda in Syria and helps Iran evade sanctions. And we mostly ignored attacks by Qatari-backed rebels in Mali fighting against our oldest ally, France. Instead of doing something significant, we just nod our heads and say, “yep, the Gulf is where the money for terrorism comes from,” and then we turn the page of the newspaper to something else.

From VOA on July 7 (h/t El Grillo):

Islamist Insurgency Fueled by Global Finance Web

Jeffrey Young

The little cans were at cash registers everywhere in Kuwait, where I lived during much of the 1990s. Covered with pictures of children in anguish amid burning rubble, these cans collected coins and cash for “Palestinian Relief” or the like. Sometimes, I put my change into these cans, causing the person behind the counter to often give me a puzzled look. Then, I learned from my Kuwaiti friends that these collection cans were not always helping those kids – many were funding Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, and other violent groups.

Now, 20 years later, there is an international web of finance that leads to deadly insurgents such as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Part of it runs through so-called “charities,” while another funding stream for terrorists is enabled by official complicity. And, these sources also intersect.

Colin Clarke, author of an upcoming book titled “Terrorism Inc: The Funding of Terrorism, Insurgency, and Irregular Warfare” says much of the cash now pouring into ISIL and other violent groups comes from three regional sources.

“A key component of support to Sunni extremist groups [including ISIL] comes from wealthy individuals in the Arab Gulf states of Kuwait, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia,” Clarke told VOA, adding “The majority of donors likely know exactly where their money is going. Some are blatant about it, while others enjoy the plausible deniability of ambiguity.”

Clarke also contends these three states are using this funding stream as a means of achieving influence with insurgent groups. “The Saudis,” he said, “are reportedly fearful of the threat posed by ISIL, but certainly contribute to radical groups, battling for a leadership role with Qatar, another country active in this funding.”

Kuwait has also allegedly kept the flames of insurgency fueled with cash. Until recently, one of those streams reportedly ran through Kuwait’s Aqaf, its Ministry of Islamic Affairs. In May, Aqaf Minister Nayef al-Ajmi resigned in the wake of accusations by a senior U.S. official that he was enabling terrorists…

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