Archive for the ‘News commentary’ Category

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Moroccans nabbed in Spanish raid on ISIS funding

July 28, 2016

Large amounts of cash and “telecommunications data?”  Meaning phone numbers of ISIS operatives and financial intermediaries?  The cash suggests smuggling, but we don’t have enough details yet.  Something tells me this isn’t the older brother’s first run-in with the authorities.

From Deutsche Welle on July 27 (h/t El Grillo):

Spain arrests Moroccan brothers suspected of financing ‘Islamic State’

Spanish police on Wednesday arrested two Moroccan brothers, aged 33 and 22, in the northeastern city of Girona for helping finance the “Islamic State” (“IS”) militant group’s operations in Syria and Iraq, Spain’s interior ministry said in a statement.

Police discovered a large amount of cash and telecommunications data at the brothers’ home. The information is expected to assist authorities in exposing the militant group’s presence in Europe, police said.

“Investigators found that the two suspects, along with their brother who died in Syria, managed to send funds to financial administrators of the ‘Islamic State’ using false identities attributed to the terrorist organization’s managers,” the Interior Ministry said.

“These suspected identities form part of the ‘Islamic State’s’ economic recruitment center at the international level, as evidenced by international contacts identified in the investigation,” the ministry added…

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U.S. sanctions Al Qaeda officials sheltered by Iran

July 25, 2016

The U.S. has levied sanctions against three Al Qaeda leaders residing in Iran.  The sanctions mean that you can’t give money or business with these guys.  They’ll be on sanctions list databases and financial institutions will be checking transactions against those databases to help enforce the sanctions.  Wouldn’t it be nice if Iran helped us enforce these sanctions, since we freed up billions of dollars for Iran in the nuclear deal?

From The Long War Journal:

Treasury designates 3 senior al Qaeda members in Iran

The Treasury Department announced today that three senior al Qaeda members have been added to the US government’s list of designated terrorists. All three of them are “located in Iran.”

The newly-designated al Qaeda operatives are: Faisal Jassim Mohammed Al Amri Al Khalidi, Yisra Muhammad Ibrahim Bayumi, and Abu Bakr Muhammad Muhammad Ghumayn.

The Iranian government has maintained a relationship with al Qaeda since the early 1990s. Although the two sides are sometimes at odds, including inside Syria, Treasury’s announcement indicates that some of al Qaeda’s most important commanders are able to evade the American drone campaign by sheltering inside Iran.

Read about each of the three men on The Long War Journal here.

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Arabs realize khums funds terror

May 13, 2016

The Koran 8:42 says that “when ye have taken any booty, a fifth part belongeth to God and to the Apostle…” This one-fifth tax, or khums, on booty or the spoils of war has been a common revenue-raising measure employed by caliphs, sultans, and Muslim military commanders since the eighth century.  Shia Muslims regard the concept more broadly to apply to one-fifth of personal net profits.

The problem with khums is that it has been used to fund Hezbollah for years, that it has funded jihadist movements for decades including the Iranian Revolution itself, and it has been used more recently to fund subversive activities in Bahrain.  Even Iraqi Shia have been critical of Iran’s abuse of khums, calling khums haram and equating it to flushing money down the toilet.  It’s amusing that Sunni Muslim figures in the Gulf are just now catching on to the scourge.

From the Jerusalem Post on May 4 (h/t El Grillo):

Gulf Shi’ites paying religious tax to Iran are funding terror, Sunni campaign says

The age-old Sunni-Shi’ite split is now the underlying cause of a new Sunni outcry against the expansionist policy of Iran in the Middle East.

A social media campaign launched recently by Sunni Muslims seeks to protest over the transfer of a religious tax payed by Shi’ites living in the Gulf to the main centers of Shia scholarship in Iran and Iraq.

The Khums (meaning fifth in Arabic), is a tax mentioned in the Koran and consisting of 20% of a person’s excess earning. The money is donated to poor and orphans, as well as to Islamic institutions.

According to the Koran, the Khums should be collected by the Imam Mahdi (the Shi’ite messiah). However, because the day of judgement has not yet arrived, the religious establishment in Iran is the one getting the money.

Since these endowments arrive directly to Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, without any supervision by Iranian state institutions, they are allegedly used for political purposes and not for religious and moral ones, as the Koran obligates.

According to Arab media reports, hundreds of millions of dollars payed annually by Gulf Shi’ites to the religious scholars in Qom (the major Shi’ite center in Iran) are transferred to Iran’s militias in Iraq and Syria, which are fighting the local Sunni population.

The Khums is also a major income source for Hezbollah. In 2005, then-Hezbollah spokesman Hussein Nabousli proudly declared that most of the organization’s revenues come from Khums.

Since this money is not circulated in the international financial system, it helped the Iranian regime withstand the financial sanctions that were imposed on it by the West, providing it with liquidity.

In light of Iran’s expansionist policy in the Middle East, Sunni social media activists are now calling on governments in the Gulf to prevent the transfer of the money collected from Khums to Iran and obligate Shi’ites to pay this money to the states they are living in.

The standard-bearer of the Sunni campaign is Khaled Alkami, a well-known Saudi political analyst, who wrote on Twitter a series of comments under the hashtag: “the transfer of Khums to Iran is terror.”

“Sending money, under any name, to the thug state of Iran, is the same as sending money to al-Qaida, ISIS or Hezbollah, and it should be designated as ‘terror funding,'” Alkami said…

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1 Ahmed, 2 Boufassils, and £3,000 for jihad

May 5, 2016

Mohammed Ali Ahmed, Zakaria Boufassil and Soumaya Boufassil

Two Belgian-Moroccans and one “British national” have been charged in Britain with funding Paris terror suspect Mohamed Abrini.  Soumaya Boufassil, one of the alleged fundraisers, is permitted to wear a burqa in court although such clothing is a political symbol in support of government by sharia law.  The reference to “collecting” money makes it sound like they were soliciting donations from the community…

From the BBC (h/t to Don):

Men accused of giving Brussels suspect Mohamed Abrini cash

Two men have appeared in court accused of giving money to the “man in the hat” suspected of being involved in the Brussels and Paris terrorist attacks.

Mohammed Ali Ahmed and Zakaria Boufassil, both 26, are accused of giving Mohamed Abrini £3,000 when he was in Birmingham in July last year.

They appeared with Soumaya Boufassil, 29, who is accused of collecting money for terrorist purposes with Mr Ahmed.

The trio, from Small Heath, appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court.

Ms Boufassil, who wore a burka, and the two men, who wore jumpers, spoke only to confirm their details.

Mr Ahmed is a British national, while both Mr Boufassil and his sister, Ms Boufassil, are Belgian-Moroccans. They have all been living in Birmingham.

Mr Ahmed and Mr Boufassil face one count of the commission of offences abroad, on or before 7 July 2015, under section 17 of the Terrorism Act.

They are accused of entering into an arrangement in which money was made available to another person, and that they knew, or had reasonable cause to suspect, it would or may be used for the purposes of terrorism…

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ISIS fish farms supplement income

May 2, 2016

That and poultry, which in Iraq means chicken and pigeons.  The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is charging a 10 percent, or ushr, customs duty on imports.  The New York Times ran this story with a headline suggesting that ISIS was resorting to the fish farms to make up for lost oil revenues.  But in the text of the article, sources admit that Syrian oil refineries are still ISIS’s primary source of money.  Keep that cork in the champagne bottles, fellas.

Hat tip to El Grillo for sending the report, which is actually from Reuters:

BAGHDAD — Islamic State earns millions of dollars a month running car dealerships and fish farms in Iraq, making up for lower oil income after its battlefield losses, Iraqi judicial authorities said on Thursday.

Security experts once estimated the ultra-radical Islamist group’s annual income at $2.9 billion, much of it coming from oil and gas installations in Iraq and Syria.

The U.S.-led coalition has targeted Islamic State’s financial infrastructure, using air strikes to reduce its ability to extract, refine and transport oil and so forcing fighters to reportedly take significant pay cuts.

Yet the militants, who seized a third of Iraq’s territory and declared a caliphate in 2014, seem to be adapting again to this latest set of constraints, in some cases reviving previous profit-turning ventures like farming.

“The terrorists’ current financing mechanism has changed from what it was before the announcement of the caliphate nearly two years ago,” a report by Iraq’s central court of investigation said, quoting Judge Jabbar Abid al-Huchaimi.

“After the armed forces took control of several oil fields Daesh was using to finance its operations, the organization devised non-traditional ways of paying its fighters and financing its activities,” the report added, using an Arabic acronym for Islamic State.

Fishing in hundreds of lakes north of Baghdad generates millions of dollars a month, according to the report. Some owners fleeing the area abandoned their farms while others agreed to cooperate with Islamic State to avoid being attacked.

“Daesh treats its northern Baghdad province as a financial center; it is its primary source of financing in the capital in particular,” Huchaimi said. Islamic State carries out frequent bombings in Baghdad against security forces and Shi’ite residents.

SELLING CARS, RUNNING FACTORIES

Fish farms have supplied militants with income since 2007 when Islamic State’s al Qaeda predecessor fought U.S. occupation forces but the mechanism only came to the authorities’ attention this year, the report said.

The militants also tax agricultural land and impose a 10 percent levy on poultry and other duties on a range of imports into their territory, it added.

“Recently there has been reliance on agricultural lands in areas outside the control of the (Iraqi) security forces through taxes imposed on farmers.”

New revenues are also being generated from car dealerships and factories once run by the Iraqi government in areas seized by the militants.

Those have helped offset the losses from lower oil income, though perhaps only partially. The U.S.-based analysis firm IHS said last week that Islamic State revenues had fallen by around a third since last summer to around $56 million a month.

“In the recent period, Daesh has gone back to using government factories in the areas it controls – like Mosul – for financial returns,” Huchaimi said, but added that oil smuggling from Syrian refineries remains the group’s primary source of international financing…

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Saudi Arabia pledges financial retaliation for disclosing their funding of 9/11 Pentagon attackers

April 28, 2016
Saudi-supported 9/11 hijackers Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Mihdhar

Saudi-supported 9/11 hijackers Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Mihdhar

Headline:  Saudis threaten to sell US assets if they’re held responsible for role in 9/11.

Are we supposed to give a shit if they do?  Please let the door hit them on the way out.

Al Qaeda operatives Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Mihdhar had their rent in San Diego paid by a Saudi agent in 2000.  The duo appeared to receive less funding from Khalid Sheikh Muhammad than the other 9/11 hijackers, suggesting that KSM knew their expenses were taken care of.  In 2001, al-Hazmi and al-Mihdhar hijacked American Airlines Flight 77 to ram it into the Pentagon, killing 184 people.

Saudi Arabia may have funded additional 9/11 preparations in Florida, but that is classified.  If the U.S. discloses this classified information, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia promises to sell off its American assets.  Is that supposed to scare us?

From Jihad Watch and Fox News on Apr. 16:

Saudis threaten to sell US assets if they’re held responsible for role in 9/11

Their role is obvious; the pages detailing their role in the 9/11 Commission Report wouldn’t have been classified for all these years if it were innocuous. Now they’re threatening blackmail unless we continue to toe the line. It’s long past time to end this sham alliance with the government that has spent hundreds of billions of dollars to enflame the jihad around the world.

“Report: Saudis vow to sell US assets if Congress decides gov was involved in 9/11,” FoxNews.com, April 16, 2016:

Saudi Arabia has reportedly told the Obama administration and congressional leaders that it will sell billions of dollars in U.S. financial assets if Congress passes a bill to make the Saudi government legally responsible for any role in the 9/11 attacks.

The administration has tried to stop Congress from passing the legislation, a bipartisan Senate bill, since Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir last month told Washington lawmakers his country’s position, according to The New York Times.

Al-Jubeir purportedly informed the lawmakers during a trip to Washington that Saudi Arabia would be forced to sell as much as $750 billion in Treasury securities and other American financial assets on the world market, fearing the legislation could become law and U.S. courts would then freeze the assets.

The revelations about the Saudis’ ultimatum come several days after reports that President Obama will soon decide whether to declassify 28 pages of sealed documents suspected of showing a Saudi connection to the deadly 9/11 terror attacks.

Former Florida Democratic Sen. Bob Graham told Fox News on Tuesday that the White House told him a decision on whether to declassify the documents would be made within 60 days…

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Supreme Court: Iran must pay up

April 25, 2016

Two of three branches of the American government agree that Iran owes money to the families of the victims of its state sponsored terrorism.  Congress passed a law requiring that frozen Iranian assets be used to satisfy a judgment against Iran.  Iran argued that Congress overstepped.  Six of eight justices weren’t buying it.  The court ruled that Congress was within its authority to require satisfaction of the judgment.

This is a victory for at least some of the victims of Iranian-sponsored terrorism.  Now if we could just get the Obama administration to recognize that ALL of Iran’s victims should be compensated before more funds are released to the rogue regime through sanctions relief.

From Reuters (with a hat tip to Zadok):

The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled that almost $2 billion in frozen Iranian assets must be turned over to American families of people killed in the 1983 bombing of a U.S. Marine Corps barracks in Beirut and other attacks blamed on Iran.

The court’s 6-2 ruling dealt a setback to Iran’s central bank, finding that the U.S. Congress did not usurp the authority of American courts by passing a 2012 law stating that the frozen funds should go toward satisfying a $2.65 billion judgment won by the families against Iran in U.S. federal court in 2007.

Bank Markazi had challenged a 2014 ruling by the New York-based 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that the assets, bonds held in a trust account overseen by former federal judge Stanley Sporkin, should be handed over to the more than 1,000 American plaintiffs.

With the legal questions resolved, lawyers for the plaintiffs said all that is left is for a federal judge to allow Sporkin to distribute the funds.

The lead plaintiff was Deborah Peterson, whose brother, Marine Lance Corporal James Knipple, died in the Beirut bombing…