Article: “NGOs are now reemerging as sponsors of jihadi activity”March 11, 2013
Gartenstein-Ross and Zelin’s analysis is insightful on the escalation of relief aid activities by Islamist rebel groups and Islamic charities themselves in Arab Spring countries. But just one little quibble on their their statement that NGOs are “reemerging” as sponsors of jihad: “reemerging” denotes that the phenomenon if Islamic charities funding terrorism stopped at some point and has resumed.
It would indeed be fair to say that there were several significant setbacks for terrorist financing in the 2000s: the closure of seven terror-financing Islamic charities by the Bush administration after 9/11, the successful prosecution of the Hamas-funding Holy Land Foundation, and the defeat of Al Qaeda in Iraq and their Iraqi financial network by coalition forces during the Iraq war.
But apart from those successes, there hasn’t been much of a lull in the flow of petrodollars to fund Wahhabi Islam and terrorist operations since Saudi sponsorship first ramped up in the 1970s.
It may appear as a reemergence because the Arab Spring is such a visible reminder of the power of the terror financiers to arm and fund Islamist rebels. In any case, and whatever verbs we use, it’s good that mainstream counter-terror observers are recognizing that Muslim charities continue to play the starring role in the financing of terrorism in the world today.