Posts Tagged ‘Bashar al-Assad’

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Top terror finance stories of 2013

December 30, 2013

From massacres on the streets of Syria to the streets of Boston, 2013 has offered far too many illustrations of how terror-borne bloodshed is financed:

  1. Sunni and Western powers risk funding Syrian rebels despite their Al Qaeda allegiance
    Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, the U.S., U.K., and France have provided money and supplies to the enemies of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad despite the risk of the materiel falling into the wrong hands.  Gulf-based support has gone directly toward Salafist fighters; Western aid has been targeted toward the supposedly moderate Free Syrian Army, but entire brigades of the FSA have pledged allegiance to al-Nusra Front—Al Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria—during 2013.  Reports this month of a “suspension” of U.S. aid have been somewhat exaggerated; as one official conceded, “the suspension of aid only applies to the opposition in northern Syria, adding that supply lines from Jordan in the south would continue.”  Foreign support has prolonged the conflict in Syria and increased the chances for Al Qaeda to take over the country.
  2. Boston marathon bombing made possible by Saudi money
    North Caucuses militants have been funded for decades by Saudi Arabia.  The Saudis and their wealthy expatriate terrorists like Ibn al-Khattab  and Osama Bin Laden and invested millions of dollars into the training and recruitment of fighters, the construction of radical mosques, and the creation of jihadist websites in Slavic languages.  Tamerlan Tsarnaev read and engaged with these websites and pursued support from these Saudi-sponsored sources when he traveled to Russia in 2012.  Tsarnaev and his brother Dzhokhar also learned from Inspire magazine by deceased terror imam Anwar al-Awlaki, who presided over Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.In effect, Saudi money created the breeding environment both online and on the ground in the North Caucuses in which the Tsarnaevs’ plot was hatched.

    Sadly, the media and public officials have been slow to recognize and expose the connections between the Saudis, the North Caucasus militants, and their followers living in North America.  Two Democrat-appointed federal judges inexplicably reversed the conviction this year of Pete Seda, a Muslim “peace activist” who sent money through a Saudi-based charity from Oregon to Chechen terrorists in the early 2000s.

  3. The U.S. became the world’s #1 energy producer in 2013.  This development reduces our dependence on Arab oil and the flow of petrodollars that fund terrorism.
  4. The compensation of victims of Iranian-sponsored terrorism was ignored during negotiations in Geneva on Iran’s nuclear program.
  5. The Somali Islamic terrorist group al-Shabaab’s finances rebounded in 2013 despite their loss of control in 2012 of the key harbor in Kismayo to Kenyan, African Union, and allied forces.  The main ingredients in their financial resurgence included an expansion al-Shabaab’s lucrative charcoal smuggling operation, the resumption of payments from the Dahabshiil money service to al-Shabaab, and indirect support from the Gulf.  The funding has allowed operations such as killing sprees in Mogadishu and the September terrorist attack on Westgate mall in Nairobi, Kenya.  Nevertheless, a British court injunction has forced Barclays to continue partnering with Dahabshiil to facilitate remittances to Somalia.
  6. Read the rest of this entry ?
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Qatar: State Sponsor of Terrorism

June 4, 2013

We’ve known about Qatar’s funding of Al Qaeda-linked Syrian rebels from the outset of the uprising against Bashar al-Assad.  The piece below from the Oriental Review puts Qatar’s role in even starker terms, pointing to a history of clandestine financing of militants by Qatar since at least the 1990s.

Like Saudi Arabia, Qatar is a state sponsor of terrorism all but in name, and should be legally designated as such.  Keep in mind that Qatar isn’t just funding the rebels in Syria that the U.S. supports, but that Doha is also supporting the jihadists in Mali who are fighting America’s longtime ally, France.

Qatar Is Funding International Terrorism

Thu, May 23, 2013

By Alexander ORLOV (Russia)

A recent statement by Syria’s Information Minister that Qatar is violating all of the UN Security Council’s resolutions on fighting terrorism is being silenced in the West. The United States and its allies are keeping silent because Doha is providing funding to carry out their plans. Nor is there any word about an Arab role in settling the Syrian crisis, because it would be unrealistic for those who are arming one side in the conflict and sending terrorists into Syria to have a hand in resolving it. And for good reason, if we recall the recent major terrorist attack in Boston in which there is clear evidence of Saudi brainwashing with Wahhabi ideas. That is especially true if we look back in history a little ways — to when leading members of Qatar’s ruling Al Thani family were concealing Saudi terrorists who helped with preparations for the November 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States that killed thousands of civilians.

And if we go back a few years further, we find that Qatar was on the US list of state sponsors of terrorism. It was only taken off the list because it offered to host a US naval base — the largest one in the region — which was used as a command post during the 2003 operation by forces of the United States and its allies to occupy Iraq. Huge amounts of money from natural gas sales enabled the Qataris get the “leader” of the global antiterrorist coalition to turn a blind eye on all of Doha’s transgressions in the sacred cause of assisting the “brothers” in sharing the Salafi faith everywhere — from Africa to Kashmir. If we can trust documents on the WikiLeaks site, in 2008 the former US ambassador to Doha, Joseph LeBaron, cabled the State Department that Qatar was still financing international terrorism. Leaks of his cables published by the Qatari newspaper Peninsula in 2010 generated an exchange of remarks between LeBaron and its chief editor. But the US ambassador left, and Washington simply hushed the matter up.

In the 1990s, Doha was among the most active “financiers” behind the separatist rebellion in Chechnya. It sent money to local militants and trained Arab terrorists who participated in attacks on the Russian Army in the North Caucasus. When the rebellion was put down and peace began returning to Chechnya and the Arab “mujahedin” were almost completely destroyed, Qatar’s Emir provided a refuge for Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev, “president” of the self-proclaimed Republic of Ichkeria and his many supporters, providing them with benefits and even government jobs.

Although Qatar has formally cut all government-level level financial ties with terrorist and Islamist groups at the state level, another mechanism for doing that has been put in motion — the so-called Islamic charities of Jamiat Qatar al-Khair, Sheikh Eid al-Khairiah, RAF, and the Qatari Red Crescent Society, which is also involved in allegedly charitable “international activities.” All are controlled by the Emir’s family or prominent representatives of it, as well as by the Ministry of Endowments and Islamic Affairs. And then there are their non-public activities. Money is seemingly collected by private individuals. Displays with signs indicating where donations are going can be seen in many of Doha’s large shopping malls: starving children in Somalia, aid for disaster victims in the poor Muslim countries of Asia and Africa, etc. The geographic scope is broad — stretching from the Western Sahara to the Philippines. As a rule, however, radical Islamist groups are always active in the countries concerned. And it is never possible to tell how much of the donations made to these funds by private individuals come out of the country’s natural gas revenues.

Officially, members of the Al Thani clan and the Emir himself cannot contribute. They take money from the state treasury — as much as they need, considering that Qatar is an absolute monarchy in which the activities of the Emir are not subject to audit. And from there, the funds can be transferred to bank accounts in other countries, especially countries where learning the names of the account owners is difficult. Until recently, active use was made of Swiss banks and offshore financial institutions. It is easy to move funds out of them to specific “aid” recipients in, let us say, Istanbul, and after they are turned into cash they can be delivered by special courier to their final recipient. That could be a Wahhabi extremist groups in Dagestan or elsewhere in the North Caucasus; Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist cells fighting Syria’s legitimate government; or sleeper cells of extremists in France, the United States and other countries.

Sometimes, the money is simply handed over directly — for example, to Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal when he visits Doha, where he is received as a head of state. Palestinian sources say that the Emir personally gives him cash that then makes its way to its intended recipients through Arab countries neighboring on the Gaza Strip. Then homemade rockets that kill innocent civilians are sent flying towards Israel. However, it is obvious that large amounts of money go for other purposes, including undermining the Palestinian National Authority and for the personal “needs” of Hamas leaders.

The Qataris make no bones about the fact that since the Arab Revolutions began they have been directly funding militants and weapons for those fighting the ruling regimes in Arab countries. They did it in Libya, and they are doing it now in Syria. And after the recent Arab League summit in Doha, where Qatar’s political weight overcame even Egypt and Algeria to push through a decision allowing weapons to be delivered to Syrian opposition fighters, Doha no longer needs to hide its activities along those lines. But if we apply the international legal norms to Qatar’s activities, we find that they actually meet the legal definition of sponsoring international terrorism as spelled out in several UN Security Council resolutions and other international community documents.

Doha’s provision of money and weapons to terrorist groups like Jabhat al-Nusra qualifies as financing international terrorism…

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Jizya resurfaces in yet another country

April 12, 2012

Lately it’s been Egypt.  Prior to that it was Cyprus.  Before that it was Pakistan, Iraq, the Philippines, and Yemen.

Now it may be Syria, where the discriminatory jizya tax is reportedly being imposed on Christians in Homs by the “Free” Syrian Army.  Qatar and Saudi Arabia have armed jihadist rebels against the Assad regime, and the West has helped fund them.

Remember this story from February?  The U.K. is giving £2 million to help FSA rebels who appear to be simultaneously profiting from the Christians under their boots.

David Cameron announces £2m fund to help Syrian civilians

The UK will provide funding for medical supplies and food for 20,000 people affected by fighting in the Syrian city of Homs, David Cameron has said.

The prime minister said the situation in Syria was “appalling” and described what was happening as “butchery”.

Speaking alongside French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Mr Cameron said the international community could do more to “get rid of this brutal dictator”.

Syrian government troops are trying to dislodge rebels rebels from Homs.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s authorities have responded to anti-government protests – which they blame on “extremists and terrorists” – with overwhelming military force since they began in March 2011.

As Mr Cameron spoke, Syrian troops resumed heavy shelling of the city, activists say, a day after the UN General Assembly called for an end to violence.

Parts of Homs have been battered by mortars and rockets fired by Syrian government troops for nearly two weeks, as they try to dislodge hundreds of rebels from the Free Syrian Army.

The BBC’s Jim Muir, in neighbouring Lebanon, says the passing of the resolution at the UN General Assembly clearly is not affecting events on the ground, but it gave all parties a chance to air their views.

The motion, which was voted for by 137 member states, called on the Syrian authorities “to stop all violence or reprisals immediately, in accordance with the League of Arab States initiative”.

Russia and China were among the 12 states who voted against the non-binding resolution. There were also 17 abstentions.

On Friday, France and the UK urged the Syrian opposition to unite and said it needed more international support to resist suppression.

Um, you mean to at least not engage in suppression themselves?

“We cannot bring about a Syrian revolution… if the Syrian revolution does not make an effort to rally together and organise so that we can better help them,” French President Nicolas Sarkozy told reporters after the bilateral talks.

Mr Cameron said: “We need to take all the action we can to put the maximum pressure on Assad to go, and to stop the butchery that is taking place…

Butchery and highway robbery that appears to be a two-way street.  That’s your tax euros at work.

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Weekly word: PEP

September 14, 2011

Admittedly, it’s been a lot longer than a week since our last effort at defining terms related to the money jihad.

This latest addition to the glossary will be “politically exposed person” (PEP):

PEPs are individuals who are or have been entrusted with prominent public functions in a foreign country, such as heads of state or government; senior politicians and party officials; senior executive, judicial, or military officials; and senior executives of state-owned corporations.*

PEPs normally include family members of government officials, but do not normally include low or mid-level government officials.

Being able to identify and screen PEPs can help prevent the transfer of ill-gotten funds from, for example, corrupt politicians to banks overseas.  But that is easier said than done.

In August, MoneyLaundering.com reported:

Three intergovernmental groups are questioning the effectiveness of anti-money laundering controls meant to curb abuses of corrupt political figures who steal from their countries.

The World Bank and United Nations said in a joint June 21 report that at least 74 of 124 jurisdictions examined have not complied with anti-money laundering (AML) recommendations to quash kleptocracy by political figures. The record indicates that financial institutions and the agencies that regulate them may be “deficient” in enforcing the controls, the report said.

In a separate report published July 29, the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force (FATF) warned banks and other companies that government officials, also known as politically exposed persons (PEPs), can exploit the “natural advantages” of their positions to launder ill-gotten funds through institutions, and then stymie investigations into the crimes.

The three organizations recommended requiring financial institutions to review their PEP accounts annually, sharing suspicious activity reports on the accounts of foreign politically-tied figures with their home country and eliminating the distinction between foreign and domestic PEPs.

The questionable effectiveness of PEP screening sheds further doubt on the world’s approach to preventing money laundering and terrorist financing.

The PEP concept is particularly relevant during the Arab Spring, where rulers like Muamar “Daffy” Qaddafi, Bashar “Butcher” al-Assad, Hosni Mubarak, and other leading thugs are being accused of holding secret bank accounts of wealth stolen from their people.

* World Bank, Combating money laundering and the financing of terrorism:
a comprehensive training guide, Volume 3, Part 1 (Washington D.C.:  World Bank Publications, 2009).

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Khamenei’s bucks back Bashar’s brutality

August 9, 2011
The Ayatollah & Assad get closer

Khamenei bails out Assad

The top theocrat of Iran, the Shia “Ayatollah” Ali Khamenei, is set to give $9 billion in unconditional aid to prop up the regime of the Sunni Syrian dictator, Bashar “Butcher” Assad, according to a CNN iReport story:

Iran offers $9 Billion in financial aid to help prevent the fall of Assad in Syria

16 July 2011

These  funds are in addition to Iran’s daily exports of 290,000 FREE barrels  of oil to Syria.  Besides, at the onset of the uprising in Syria, by  direct orders of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, a sum of $3 billion of Iranian  reserves in foreign banks were deposited in Bashar Assad’s personal  accounts abroad.

Green Experts of Iran report that Iran’s Supreme Leader had issued orders for  immediate and unconditional  financial aid to the tune of $9 Billion to be placed in Bashar Assad’s  disposal, for the express purpose of supporting the bloody crackdown  underway in Syria.

Based on incriminating documents, the  ensuing dismissal of the Vice President of Iran’s Central Bank’s  currency division purportedly resulted from his refusal to consent to  releasing such unusually large sums of cash to the representatives of  the Revolutionary Guards.

According to Green Experts of  Iran, following the political, military and intelligence support already  extended to Syria, Iran is planning to continue a steady injection of  cash totaling $9 billion into Bashar Assad’s accounts over the coming  months through the first 3 months of 2012.  This unconditional Aid is  above and beyond the 290,000 free barrels of oil exported daily to  Syria.  In addition to all this, at the first signs of the uprising in  Syria, Iran had bestowed Bashar Assad with the gift of  another $3 billion of its own  cash assets in foreign banks.

Based on more detailed  reports, approximately $2 billion of the promised $9 billion cash has so  far been packaged and delivered in bundles, to Damascus via Sepaah  (Revolutionary Guards)-owned aircrafts through airports in Tehran,  Isfahan and Shiraz.

The additional $5.8 Billion is set to  be delivered to Damascus by the end of 2011, as per directives issued by  the office of Ayatollah Khamenei, as well as another $3.2 Billion no  later than end of March 2011.

The current economic crisis  at home and enormous pressures on Iran’s economy were cited as the  reason for the delay in delivery!!

Ali Khamenei has also  ordered a steadfast and unwavering political, military and  economic support in all ways possible, for upholding Assad’s reign in  Syria and preventing the downfall of his regime.

Further  assessments of the situation by Green Experts of Iran indicate that,  aside from transfers of funds and military forces, key Iranian political  and intelligence figures are also providing Syria with potentially  viable solutions for the ever increasing social and political turmoil in  that country.

In the latest meeting of representatives of  both countries, the issue of efforts to create fissures among the  opposition leaders in Syria was addressed and Iranian officials promised  the financial support needed to persuade the opposition to meet and  dialogue with the Syrian government.

We can only hope  that these talks will not lead to further crackdown and the ultimate  crushing of the social and nationalistic movement in Syria.  For Iran,  however, they will undoubtedly lead to a loss of Billions of dollars of  national wealth, even more meager means for the people and a much deeper  economic crisis in the country…