Posts Tagged ‘Arab Spring’

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Full steam ahead for Salafi freight train

August 12, 2013

Money, guns, and Islamist fanaticism are flowing out of Saudi Arabia faster than the oil from the pumps that fund it.  Rebels have instigated and exploited the instability of the Arab Spring to spread oil-funded Wahhabi and Salafi ideology and turn Middle East and African countries into full-fledged sharia states ruled by Muslim Brotherhood political parties.

Thanks to Arye Leonid Glozman for sending in a link to commentary on the subject by Dr. Murtaza Haider of Ryerson University after reading a new report prepared for a committee of the European Parliament:

European Parliament identifies Wahabi and Salafi roots of global terrorism

Murtaza Haider

Updated 2013-07-22

It is not merely the faith or oil that flows out of Saudi Arabia. The oil-rich Arab state and its neighbours are busy financing Wahabi and Salafi militants across the globe.

A recent report by the European Parliament reveals how Wahabi and Salafi groups based out of the Middle East are involved in the “support and supply of arms to rebel groups around the world.” The report, released in June 2013, was commissioned by European Parliament’s Directorate General for External Policies. The report warns about the Wahabi/Salafi organisations and claims that “no country in the Muslim world is safe from their operations … as they always aim to terrorise their opponents and arouse the admiration of their supporters.”

The nexus between Arab charities promoting Wahabi and Salafi traditions and the extremist Islamic movements has emerged as one of the major threats to people and governments across the globe. From Syria, Mali, Afghanistan and Pakistan to Indonesia in the East, a network of charities is funding militancy and mayhem to coerce Muslims of diverse traditions to conform to the Salafi and Wahabi traditions. The same networks have been equally destructive as they branch out of Muslim countries and attack targets in Europe and North America.

Despite the overt threats emerging from the oil-rich Arab states, governments across the globe continue to ignore the security imperative and instead are busy exploiting the oil-, and at time times, blood-soaked riches.

The European Parliament’s report though is a rare exception to the rule where in the past the western governments have let the oil executives influence their foreign offices. From the United States to Great Britain, western states have gone to great lengths to ignore the Arab charities financing the radical groups, some of whom have even targeted the West with deadly consequences…

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Article: “NGOs are now reemerging as sponsors of jihadi activity”

March 11, 2013

The important article in Foreign Policy by Daveed Gartenstein-Ross and Aaron Y. Zelin highlighted in Money Jihad‘s post yesterday deserves some further attention.

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.

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Islamist rebels using charity for jihad

March 10, 2013

Daveed Gartenstein-Ross and Aaron Y. Zelin have compiled some very important research in a new Foreign Policy article entitled “Uncharitable Organizations” about the growing sponsorship of jihadist activities overseas by non-governmental organizations.  They write that Islamic charities are using humanitarian aid in countries with Islamist movements including Tunisia, Syria, and Mali in order to 1) strengthen the dependence of the populations on their services, and 2) to provide a cover for their militant activities.

Specifically, Ansar al-Sharia Tunisia (AST) and Syrian Islamic Front (SIF) rebels are accepting aid from Middle Eastern charities that have all been previously linked to terror financing including the Turkish charity IHH, Kuwaiti charity RIHS, and Qatar Charity.  Qatar Charity itself is also active in Mali working in an apparently parallel fashion with rebel fighters.

Money Jihad has taken the liberty of boiling down their article into a few brief slides about three of the groups Gartenstein-Ross and Zelin discuss:

Readers are encouraged to read the original article at Foreign Policy online.

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Ten biggest terror finance news stories of 2012

December 31, 2012
  1. Taliban funding remains intact despite international sanctions
    Reports in 2012 revealed that the Taliban’s funding remains intact, that none of the Taliban’s assets have been blocked by U.S. sanctions, that the Taliban retains its taxing authority over Afghans, and that the UN sanctions only 18 percent of the Taliban’s provincial shadow governors in Afghanistan.
  2. Islamic charities remain top terror financiers
    It’s questionable to even call this “news,” but understanding the role of Muslim charities in funding jihad, of which we saw multiple examples throughout 2012, is the Rosetta stone to bankrupting terrorism.  Instances of Muslim charities behaving badly cropped up, and in some cases have worsened, in both in the Middle East and in the West this year.In the Islamic world, the Saudi charitable foundation IIRO, whose branches in Indonesia and the Philippines were previously blacklisted by the U.S. for funding terrorism, is opening seven new branch offices.  In Bangladesh, the chief of the terrorist organization Jamatul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) revealed that Muslim Aid, WAMY, the Muslim World League, the Qatari Charitable Society, and the Revival of Islamic Heritage Society, are among the primary donors to his jihad.  Read the rest of this entry ?
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Al-Nusra jihadists in Syria sanctioned by U.S.

December 11, 2012

The U.S. State Department listed al-Nusra Front as a foreign terrorist organization yesterday (h/t Twitter user Sal Imburgia ‏@salimb94).  A parallel designation by the Treasury Department will include a prohibition against business deals between Americans and al-Nusra and a freeze of al-Nusra assets in U.S. banks.

A BBC profile of the al-Nusra Front calls the group’s ideology “clearly jihadist,” and says that al-Nusra has claimed responsibility for “many of the bombings that have rocked Syria since the uprising began in March 2011.”

Additional reports have indicated a warm relationship between al-Nusra and Al Qaeda.

Given U.S. support for many groups fighting in the Syrian rebellion, the designation may present a schizophrenic approach to American foreign policy in Syria wherein certain Syrian rebels receive financial support and rebels that they work alongside with receive financial penalties.  McClatchy lays out several other complicating factors in the al-Nusra designation in a good report here.

Kenneth Rijock also weighed in prior to the the designation on what it would mean for U.S. banks with commercial relationships in Syria and the Palestinian territories:

Multiple reports of the imminent OFAC  designation of the Al-Nusra Front, a radical Sunni organisation fighting the Assad regime in Syria, should alert compliance officers whose clients are sending relief funds, and supplies, to Syrian Opposition groups. Its Arabic name is Jabhat Al-Nusra, and the approximate English translation is Front for the Protection of the People of the Levant.

One important detail: Al-Nusra, which has spewed forth anti-American and Anti-Israeli hatred, reportedly contains a fair number of Palestinians. Don’t get caught in an OFAC violation if your clients are in the midst of what you thought were contributions to Palestinian causes, but go straight to Al-Nusra. It has been reported that the OFAC action will take place around 12 December.

I would piggyback on Rijock by making the following suggestion to non-profits, NGOs, charities and their donors:  if you are involved with relief work in either Syria or the Palestinian territories, you should factor the risk of funding this Al Qaeda offshoot into your aid distribution plans.  Are making such donations so important to you that you would risk supporting an Al Qaeda takeover of Syria?

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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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Obama’s 10 biggest terror finance blunders

November 5, 2012

  1. Promising to make it easier for Muslims to give zakat.  Pres. Obama has tried to remove the so-called “chilling effect” that George W. Bush, the Patriot Act, the Treasury Department, and law enforcement “created” by closing down Islamic charities that funded terrorism.  Rather than building on the Bush administration’s successful prosecution of the Holy Land Foundation for sponsoring Hamas, Obama won’t prosecute Islamic Relief, he won’t prosecute CAIR, he won’t investigate ISNA or NAIT, and the IRS has been derelict in stripping suspicious Islamic organizations of their tax-exempt status.
  2. Funding the Arab Spring that has led to the rise of Muslim Brotherhood dominated governments in the Middle East who behave against U.S. national security interests.
  3. Minimizing our energy independence from Middle East oil by reducing oil production on federal lands and waters, rejecting the Keystone XL pipeline, impeding hydraulic fracturing permitting, etc.
  4. Making little to no progress on bankrupting the Taliban.
  5. Dragging his feet in adopting sanctions against Al Qaeda and Taliban affiliates such as the Pakistani Taliban and the Haqqani network. Read the rest of this entry ?
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Syrian war machine funded by looted relics

October 15, 2012

Caravan raids.  Confiscation of enemy property and enslavement of the vanquished.  Exorbitant tax rates against non-Arab Muslims and ever higher taxes against non-Muslims.  It’s all justified by sharia law and centuries of Islamic tradition—especially if the profits are reinvested into jihad.

Now add to sharia’s financial crimes against civilization the systematic destruction, looting, or both, of priceless historical artifacts throughout the Middle East during the Arab Spring.  The Syrian rebels are bartering away Roman heirlooms in exchange for weapons of war.

From the Smithsonian Museum’s “SmartNews” blog late last month:

War zones are dangerous places, for both people and cultural heritage. Lately, Iraq, Afghanistan and Egypt have endured high-profile looting or looting attempts on archaeological sites and museums. Now, Syria has joined the inglorious list as priceless artifacts are being stolen, smuggled and even traded for weapons.

Interpol has gotten involved. The situation got to a point where they posted this warning in May:

The on-going armed conflict in Syria is increasingly threatening a significant part of the cultural heritage of mankind. Roman ruins, archaeological sites, historic premises and places of worship are particularly vulnerable to destruction, damages, theft and looting during this period of turmoil.

The INTERPOL General Secretariat therefore joins UNESCO’s warning of the imminent threats to which Syrian cultural heritage is currently exposed and is strengthening its co-operation with other international partner organizations for a coordinated response to this menace.

Meanace, indeed. The notice was posted as part of an appeal for the return of a group of mosaics looted from the Roman ruins of Apamea, near Hama.

An article in Time paints a vivid picture of how Syrian artifacts are being used as fodder for the war machine:

Abu Khaled knows the worth of things. As a small-time smuggler living along the porous border between Syria and Lebanon, he has dabbled in antiquities as much as the cigarettes, stolen goods and weapons that make up the bulk of his trade. So when a smuggler from Syria brought him a small, alabaster statue of a seated man a few weeks ago, he figured that the carving, most likely looted from one of Syria’s two dozen heritage museums or one of its hundreds of archaeological sites, could be worth a couple thousand dollars in Lebanon’s antiquities black market. So he called his contacts in Beirut. But instead of asking for cash, he asked for something even more valuable: weapons.

“War is good for us,” he says of the community of smugglers that regularly transit the nearby border. “We buy antiquities cheap, and then sell weapons expensively.” That business, he says, is about to get better. Fighters allied with the Free Syrian Army units battling the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad have told him that they are developing an association of diggers dedicated to finding antiquities in order to fund the revolution. “The rebels need weapons, and antiquities are an easy way to buy them,” says Abu Khaled.

But it isn’t just the rebels accused of stealing, as an article from the Agence France-Presse (AFP) reports:

In Reyhanli, a small Turkish village near the border with Syria, a newly arrived Syrian refugee from the famed ancient desert town of Palmyra told AFP that the museum there had been looted and reported large-scale theft at the site.

“These are the shabiha, the Assad gangs (militiamen) who do this,” charged Abu Jabal, giving a fictitious name. “The army is there, and oversees everything.” An amateur video posted online on August 17 shows seven or eight sculptures and busts crammed into the back of a pick-up truck. Soldiers can be seen chatting alongside the vehicle.

“We have studied what our Syrian colleagues are saying, and it is indeed soldiers. Everything leads us to believe that the army is stealing antiquities in Palmyra and elsewhere,” Spanish archaeologist Rodrigo Martin told AFP.

It seems that in Syria, unlike Egypt, neither government nor rebel is willing to protect Syria’s treasures.

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Western aid to Syrian rebels mounts

August 15, 2012

Syrian rebels have been funded by Saudi Arabia and Qatar from the outset of the uprising against Bashar al-Assad.  The U.S. and Britain have become financially committed in recent months as well.  Note the recent developments:

The Western aid fits the pattern of taxpayer money given as foreign aid to the foot soldiers of the Arab Spring.  The first problem with the Syrian aid, as with the Egyptian and Libyan aid that preceded it, is that the cash winds up in the pockets of rebels who carry dual membership with Al Qaeda.

The second problem is that the Syria Accountability Act prohibits Americans from exporting goods to and doing business with Syria.  The law permits federal aid to Syria if and only if Syria restores Lebanese sovereignty, renounces Hezbollah, and terminates its weapons of mass destruction programs.  Those conditions haven’t been met.

Granted, the reported aid isn’t going to the Syrian regime, but the 2003 act does not make a distinction between the Syrian regime and Syrian dissidents.

Keep in mind that if you tried sending or selling supplies without a license to anybody in Syria, you would be arrested, put on trial, and convicted for export violations.  Just ask Mazen Ghashim, who was convicted for export violations in 2008 for shipping computers to Syria.

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Muslim tomb raiders loot timeless treasures

July 23, 2012

From Timbuktoo to Cairo, Islamic grave robbers are pilfering history’s treasures.  It’s all permitted by Islam because the artifacts themselves are un-Islamic.

This special report came to us from NBC’s Rock Center in late June, and didn’t get enough attention at the time:

…What can’t be covered up is the damage that some of their brethren have already inflicted on Egypt’s pre-Islamic monuments.  Outside Saqqara, the site of Egypt’s oldest pyramid, Rock Center visited a mosque that had been hastily built atop a causeway to a Pharaonic  temple in the weeks just after the revolution.  The men were putting the final touches on the main prayer hall and claimed that 10,000 villagers had helped clear out the refuse and support them in a dispute with Egypt’s Antiquities Department.

“They were all celebrating that a garbage dump will become a mosque and that there will be a prayer to God,” said Emad Gouda.   The problem according Mohammed Mehagid, the young antiquities inspector at Saqqara who also backed the revolution, is that local people living near archaeological sites were never educated about their cultural value.  Few had ever visited  Egyptian monuments where millions of tourists had already tread.

“For 30 years of Mubarak reign … people were feeling that it’s not our country anymore so when the revolution came they thought ‘O.K. We have to take revenge’ and this [is] what happened in antiquities,” he said.

But why take revenge against your own past?  Consider what the assassin of Mubarak’s predecessor said when he shot President Anwar Sadat: “I have killed the Pharaoh.”

“You have to understand that, before the revolution, people called the police “hukuma” which means government,” said the young antiquities inspector.  “So when they broke in ancient tombs, they were very happy to do this against police and the state.”

They were also happy to put some money in their pockets, in a country where most people survive on $2 a day. And, with the police discredited and practically in hiding, thieves and looters could now sometimes brazenly loot the country’s treasures.

According to Egypt’s Interior Ministry and figures published by the Associated Press, the number of illegal digs has increased by 100 times to a mind boggling 5,697 cases.  Since the revolution, there have been 1,467 cases of illicit trading in antiquities and 130 attempts to smuggle them abroad. Thirty-five people have been killed while looting Egypt’s treasures, including 10 people buried alive just outside the tourist mecca of Luxor.

Crawling into one of these rabbit holes, while following a prospective looter who had dug 60 feet under his own home, revealed a network of ant trails ending up in a subterranean burial chamber held up by rough hewed column.  But the man, who had painstakingly dug out this ancient site with his own hands, wasn’t concerned by a potential cave in.  He was more afraid of the ‘jin’ or genies, spirits who he believes still guard ancient treasures.

“If there are any evil spirits or jins here, I read holy verses from the Koran,” he said. “So my protection is provided by God.”

WordPress won’t let us embed the video, but you can see it here on MSNBC.

Oh yeah, and we’re still giving hundreds of millions of dollars in foreign aid to Egypt.

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Billion dollar giveaways for Islam’s rising tide

June 19, 2012

The G-8 is  doubling down on its promises last year of creating a $20 billion Islamist stimulus package of aid and loans by offering a “New Transition Fund” (ie, international donor aid that the recipients can use as slush funds) to Egypt, Libya, Jordan, Morocco, and Tunisia plus a “Capital Markets Access Initiative” (ie, loan guarantees) as part of an overall plan called the “Deauville Partnership.”

This time the G-8 claims that Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, and Turkey will be donors too, although no pledged amounts are disclosed in the official press release.

With personal musings in italics, here’s the press release filled with euphemisms for how many of your tax dollars and tax euros will go to help line the pockets of Muslim Brotherhood leaders, or to repress their political opponents, or both:

Deauville Partnership with Arab Countries in Transition Fact Sheet on Finance

5/21/2012

Context

The Middle East and North Africa region is undergoing one of the most important transitions of our time. The G-8 launched the Deauville Partnership with Arab Countries in Transition[1] to support the historic changes in the Middle East and North Africa. In the face of numerous challenges, the five transitioning countries (Egypt, Libya, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia) have taken important steps to toward democracy and economic development. However, these countries face growing economic challenges, including a difficult external environment and, for some countries, delays in the political transition.
For which the only possible solution could be throwing more money at the transitioning countries, right?
The Partnership’s efforts on finance focus on economic stabilization, near-term job creation, and economic governance to help the Partnership countries move towards sustainable and inclusive growth. Specifically, the Partnership is launching a Capital Markets Access Initiative, creating a new Transition Fund, and promoting assistance by International Financial Institutions (IFI) in a coordinated and effective way.
Coordinated and effective you say?  Well, how could we possibly argue with that?
Capital Markets Access Initiative
 
The heightened uncertainty associated with political transitions has meant that the five transitioning countries face significant constraints in financing their budgets and accessing external capital to support much-needed investments. Access to private sector finance for governments and businesses, especially small and medium-sized enterprises, will be important to restoring economic stability, increasing jobs, reducing poverty, and boosting long-term growth. Since the events of last year, the Partnership countries and their private sectors have experienced reduced access to the international capital markets.
If banks have reduced lending to these countries, that should serve as a signal that such loans are a risky bet.  But somehow our politicians think they have a better sense of the creditworthiness of these nations than professional bankers who do this for a living.
The Capital Markets Access Initiative aims to help the transitioning countries reintegrate into international capital markets under reasonable financing terms to fill their sizable financing gaps and to allow their enterprises to invest in job-creating projects. In particular, the Initiative creates a collective approach to channel credit enhancement and political risk insurance instruments to transitioning countries and their private sectors.
As an example of the work of this initiative, on April 20, U.S. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and Tunisian Finance Minister Houcine Dimassi signed a declaration of intent to proceed with a U.S. loan guarantee for Tunisia. Since the signing of the declaration, teams from the U.S. and Tunisian governments have made considerable progress toward signing a loan guarantee agreement and hope to proceed as quickly as possible with additional actions that would allow the Tunisian government to re-enter international capital markets later this year. This guarantee, combined with additional financing from the multilateral development banks, will help Tunisia meet its 2012 financing needs. Work proceeds on a follow-on financing package from the multilateral development banks, including additional sovereign guarantees.
Ah, it took this far reading through the press release and this example to find out that they’re referring to loan guarantees; ie, if the countries can’t pay back loans to banks, we’ll pay the loans for them.  That should give them a great incentive to comply with the terms of the loan!
A New Transition Fund
The five transitioning countries face an urgent need to fundamentally re-orient their economies to address their high levels of unemployment, weak rule of law, and deteriorating public services. The transitioning countries have asked for support to meet these demands, including technical assistance (TA) and grant resources to accelerate innovative reforms. While a wide range of bilateral and multilateral donors currently provide TA, it has not sufficiently addressed the needs of some key areas, in particular economic governance.
No problem–the U.S. and Europe have plenty of money these days to share with you!
Members of the Deauville Partnership have proposed a new, grant-based Transition Fund to help countries implement critical reforms in the areas of: (1) economic governance, (2) trade, investment, and integration, and (3) institutional reform. A new Transition Fund would support a combination of diagnostic analyses, technical advice, and initial implementation of targeted policy initiatives and reforms that have strong demonstration effects. The G-8, regional partners and transition countries are working together to advance this fund. The fund will have broad support from G-8 and Gulf donors, and is expected to be operational later this year.
Multilateral Assistance and IFI Coordination Platform   
 
The IFI Coordination Platform aims to facilitate information sharing and operational dialogue with the Partnership countries, identify opportunities for joint transactions and policy and analytical work, and coordinate monitoring and reporting on the implementation. The IFIs established a dedicated Coordination Platform in advance of the Finance Minister’s Meeting in Marseille on September 10, 2011 to better leverage the collective resources of the ten IFIs that work in the region, with the African Development Bank as the first chair of the rotating secretariat. Since that time, the Partnership has sought to deepen the cooperation among the ten IFIs and between bilateral and IFI assistance.
On April 20, the Partnership called on the ten Partnership IFIs to deliver on their commitments in the short term, particularly in the area of job creation and small and medium enterprise (SME) development. Examples of ways in which the IFIs are providing concrete support to the Partnership countries this year include:
  • The provision of development policy loans to Tunisia (African Development Bank and World Bank), Jordan (World Bank), and Morocco (World Bank) underpinning governance, private sector reforms and domestic markets.
  • In Tunisia, the African Development Bank is supporting SME credit lines and rural infrastructure to support inclusive growth.
  • Support for public-private partnerships through the Arab Financing Facility for Infrastructure, launched last year by the World Bank and Islamic Development Bank.
  •  Development of relevant post-secondary education skills in the region through the International Financial Corporation “e4e Initiative for Arab Youth.”
  • The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the Arab Monetary Fund are cooperating to promote local currency and capital markets in Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, and Tunisia.

[1] Countries in the Partnership include the five Partnership countries (Egypt, Tunisia, Jordan, Morocco, and Libya), the G-8, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, and Turkey. The International Financial Institutions include the African Development Bank, the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development, the Arab Monetary Fund, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the European Investment Bank, the Islamic Development Bank, the International Finance Corporation, the International Monetary Fund, the OPEC Fund for International Development, and the World Bank. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development is also a Partnership member.

Of course no numbers are mentioned in the press release.  For what it’s worth, Reuters reports that “The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development was also trying to change its charter to create a special fund worth $4 billion to invest in the region over the next three years,” and that the IMF “has said it could provide $35 billion to help emerging Arab democracies.”

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