Posts Tagged ‘Iraq’

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ISIS oil smuggling routes visualized

March 10, 2015

It’s not easy to depict the movement of terrorists’ money on maps. But the folks at Geopolitical Atlas have taken a good stab at it with respect to black market oil routes operated by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Their map illustrates how ISIS territory, Syrian and Iraqi oil fields, ISIS-controlled highways, and porous borders with neighboring sympathizers overlap:

Islamic State money pipelines

Hat tip to @skinroller for sending this over.

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ISIS sells Christian loot at jihad bazaar

February 8, 2015

ISIS is funded in part from sales of illegally seized “Nazarene” (Christian) belongings. ISIS refers to the stolen merchandise as “spoils”—terminology chosen to reinforce the legitimacy under sharia law of dispossessing infidels of their property as described in the Koran, Sura 8, “The Spoils of War.” It has been estimated earlier that 12 percent of ISIS’s revenues come from concepts of taxation such as jizya and khums that are permitted by Islamic law.

From AINA on Feb. 2:

ISIS Opens Market in Mosul for Stolen Assyrian Property

Mosul (AINA) — ISIS has opened a special market to sell property it looted from Assyrian homes and churches in Mosul. The market, called “Spoils Of The Nazarenes,” sells televisions, refrigerators, microwave ovens and other electronic devices, as well as furniture and artwork. Prices range from 50,000 to 75,000 Iraqi Dinars ($42 to $63).

ISIS captured the city of Mosul on June 10. Almost immediately thereafter it began to drive Assyrians out of Mosul and destroy Christian and non-Sunni institutions. It imposed a poll tax (jizya) on Assyrians, ordered unmarried women to ‘Jihad by sex’, destroyed the statue of the Virgin Mary at the Immaculate Church of the Highest in the neighborhood of AlShafa in Mosul, as well as the statue of Mullah Osman Al-Musali…

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Spain’s hawala network funds ISIS and al-Nusra

February 1, 2015

Intelligence services and Spanish authorities say that with a network of over 250 hawala dealers, Spain has become a financial center for funding terrorists in Iraq and Syria. Hawala is the traditional Islamic method of transferring value without transferring physical money.

The news daily El País further reports that there are scarcely any controls over hawala businesses in Spain. The majority of the hawala dealers are Pakistani, while many of their customers are Syrian and Moroccan. A hundred Moroccans in Spain have already joined the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

Khalid Sheikh Muhammad, the mastermind of 9/11, used hawala agents in Logroño and Barcelona in the early 2000s. And Spain’s hawala system has only grown since then.

Hat tip to Well es bien for sending this over.

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Follow the francs: the Kouachi brothers’ links

January 9, 2015

Said and Cherif Kouachi, the main suspects in the terror attack on Charlie Hebdo on Wednesday, each have their own relationships to jihadist groups.

The older brother, Said Kouachi, reportedly trained with Al Qaeda in the Arabian Penisula (AQAP) in Yemen. AQAP makes about $10 million a year from ransoms, and is also funded by robberies (including banks, post offices, and payroll delivery trucks), and Saudi donors.  AQAP’s leader has previously said that ransoms make up about half of AQAP’s revenues, suggesting that their overall budget is about $20 million a year.  France’s quiet policy of paying ransoms to terrorist groups to release French hostages may be revisited in the near future given how ransom money can be used by groups like AQAP to train recruits in marksmanship and making bombs.

How Kouachi funded his airfare to Syria, and how the brothers paid for the AK-47s used in the attack (which cost $1,200 to $1,800 on France’s black market), have yet to be determined.

Younger brother Cherif Kouachi was a member of a recruitment ring in Paris known as “Nineteenth Arrondissement Iraqi Networks” or the “Butte-Chaumont network” that funneled Muslims from France to wage jihad in Iraq in the mid-2000s. The ringmaster was Farid Benyettou, an Algerian fed on a steady diet of jihadist texts and websites. As the case of the Tsarnaev brothers in Boston illustrated, the websites that Tamerlan learned from didn’t host, administer, and fund themselves. There is usually an extensive, costly infrastructure behind so-called “lone wolves,” who are actually borrowing information, ideas, and tips from the wider jihadist network. The wider network is much more expensive to maintain than the few hundred or thousands of dollars it may have taken to carry out a single attack.

The Kouachi family is from Algeria, where jihadists including Al Qaeda in North Africa (AQIM) are heavily funded by ransom payments and drug trafficking.

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ISIS annual income nears 3 billion: estimate

December 19, 2014

Shattering previous estimates, Thomson Reuters Accelus says that ISIS’s annual income is $2.9 billion annually with total assets surpassing $2 trillion.

Most of the income comes from the energy sector, with 55 percent income coming from oil and natural gas. The remainder comes from extortion/Islamic taxation (12 percent); control of the Iraqi agricultural sector (primarily wheat and barley at 7 percent), the cement industry (10 percent), and phosphate mining (10 percent); kidnap-for-ransom schemes (4 percent); and donations (2 percent).

Hat tip to Gisele for sending in an infographic from their findings, which include the income breakdown:

Where Islamic State gets its money

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Mosul physician says ISIS profits from organ trade

December 9, 2014

Arab surgeons have moved into Mosul to remove patients’ organs for follow-on black market resale according to an Iraqi ear, nose, and throat doctor interviewed by Al-MonitorAl-Monitor characterizes organ trafficking as one of several funding sources for the Islamic State, and reports that revenues are “allocated to local and foreign fighters, to encourage them to join up and continue fighting.”  Hat tip to El Grillo:

…The third funding source was exposed by otolaryngologist Siruwan al-Mosuli. He said that lately he noticed unusual movement within medical facilities in Mosul. Arab and foreign surgeons were hired, but prohibited from mixing with local doctors. Information then leaked about organ selling. Surgeries take place within a hospital and organs are quickly transported through networks specialized in trafficking human organs. Mosuli said that the organs come from fallen fighters who were quickly transported to the hospital, injured people who were abandoned or individuals who were kidnapped.

He said that organ sales yield large profits. A specialized mafia is engaged in these operations, in addition to medical institutions working in other countries. Without coordination among these parties, such a trade cannot be sustained, he said. According to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the organization sells bodies and organs of injured people they arrest…

Organ trafficking has also been used as a fundraising technique by Hamas, “Arab gangs,” and Kosovo terrorists.

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Charity raised zakat in France for jihad in Syria

December 8, 2014

Two leaders of an Islamic charity in Paris have been indicted for raising money for terrorists in Syria and Iraq including al-Nusra Front.  (Hat tip to El Grillo and Sal.)  The charity, Pearl of Hope, had its assets frozen in January and was closed by authorities in November.  A French news weekly reported that Pearl of Hope collected 60,000 to 100,000 euros (75K-130K USD), but it is unclear if all of that went to Syria and Iraq, or if it included the charity’s operations in Gaza.

The founder and president the charity, Yasmine Znaidi, responded by saying, “My crime is to be Muslim.”  She has previously claimed to be mostly interested in helping orphans and distributing baby milk.  The website OnIslam referred to the charity’s closure as the result of the “government’s witch hunt” against Muslim charitable giving.

Jihad financier, president of Perle d'Espoir

Ms. Znaidi, President of Pearl of Hope

Actually, the hands of authorities seem to have been forced by the behavior of Znaidi’s colleague, Nabil Ouerfelli, who posted incendiary comments along with photos of weapons and the black flag of jihad on Facebook while he fought alongside other jihadists in Syria.  Ouerfelli had also taken 10,000 euros in cash with him to Syria.

The website Dreuz was critical of the the delay in acting against Pearl of Hope, noting that the charity has has been engaged in financing terrorism in Gaza for a couple years, but that French authorities ignored their activities until they crossed the line by working with jihadists in Syria and Iraq.  Dreuz also notes that Comité de Bienfaisance et de Secours aux Palestiniens (CBSP) has routinely transferred money to Hamas, but has not been held accountable by French authorities. The U.S. lists CBSP as a specially designated global terrorist entity, and CBSP was named in the terror finance lawsuit against Arab Bank as well as suits against Credit Lyonnais.

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ISIS stunt to mint own coins will backfire

December 1, 2014

ISIS announced its intentions during sermons in northern Iraq this month to begin minting its own gold dinars and silver dirhams in keeping with the traditions of Muhammad and the old caliphate. Shortly afterward, one ISIS member conceded that the proposal is a stunt. But the hoax is yet another indication of the desire of jihadists, Islamists, and caliphate revivalists to flush paper fiat currencies, which they regard as infidel currencies, down the toilet, and replace them with the metal coins of antiquity.

A return to gold and silver are broadly supported by prominent Muslims including former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad and Islamic lecturer Imran N. Hosein despite the inefficiencies of using gold as a medium of exchange and the frightening volatility of the global gold prices.

Currency expert Axel Merk told CNN that even if ISIS were able to build a monetary system with gold, the terrorist organization would eventually run out of money and begin lowering the content of gold in their coins to stay solvent like past gold-based economies.

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Lawsuit: sanctions evasion helped kill U.S. troops

November 30, 2014

Many of the attacks during the Iraq insurgency that left over 4,000 American troops dead were carried out by Sunni militants funded by and aligned with Al Qaeda, former members of Saddam Hussein’s regime, the Gulf monarchies, or combinations of all three. But a new lawsuit by veterans and the families of our war dead is pointing out that a lot of the killing of coalition forces also came from Shia terrorists trained and funded by Iran. Iran was able to fund the trainers of those terrorists partly because of Iran’s access at the time to the international financial system as allowed by major banks with branches in the U.S. despite the sanctions against Iran throughout the 2000s.

From Reuters earlier this month (h/t El Grillo):

U.S. veterans sue banks, claim they should pay for Iraq attacks

Wounded U.S. veterans and family members of U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq sued five European banks on Monday, seeking to hold them responsible for shootings and roadside bombings because they allegedly processed Iranian money that paid for the attacks.

The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn, New York, named Barclays Plc, Credit Suisse Group AG, HSBC Holdings Plc, Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc and Standard Chartered.

Barclays, Credit Suisse, RBS and Standard Chartered declined to comment. HSBC did not respond to requests for comment.

The lawsuit was brought under the U.S. Anti-Terrorism Act, a 1992 law that permits victims to bring private suits against alleged financiers of militant operations.

The lawsuit alleges the banks conspired with Iranian banks to mask wire transactions in order to evade U.S. sanctions. The Iranian banks then funneled more than $100 million to militant groups that operated in Iraq at Iran’s direction, according to the suit.

The militant groups included a Shi’ite militia in Iraq, Kataib Hezbollah, as well as Quds Force, the overseas arm of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, the suit says.

Since 2009, the five banks have agreed to pay about $3.2 billion to the U.S. government to resolve allegations that they handled money in violation of sanctions against nations such as Iran, Libya and Cuba. All the banks signed deferred prosecution agreements with the U.S. Justice Department in addition to settlements with U.S. banking regulators…

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UAE: ISIS licking chops over vital sea channels

November 20, 2014

Threats to key choke points like the Strait of Hormuz from a joint venture between al-Shabaab and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) are possible according to the foreign minister of the United Arab Emirates.  The UAE foreign minister’s comments are being construed somewhat narrowly as a warning that ISIS could engage in piracy with al-Shabaab. But that overlooks the wider influence that al-Shabaab wields over shipping, controlling Somali ports and exacting taxes on illegal charcoal exports to the Arabian peninsula.  In other words, al-Shabaab could help ISIS undermine freedom of the seas not just through piracy, but through smuggling and illicit business relationships with Gulf states.  The foreign minister’s warnings should be read within that wider context.

From DefenseNews (h/t El Grillo):

…On Oct. 29, UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan raised the piracy concerns, calling for the international community to be more vigilant regarding new threats at the fourth UAE Counter Piracy Conference in Dubai.

“As groups like Daesh [Islamic State] develop ties to criminal networks and arms networks like al-Shabab, it is essential that we prevent them from expanding their operations into the sea and threaten vital channels such as the Strait of Hormuz, the Red Sea, Bab al Mandab and the Gulf of Aden,” he said.

“The nexus of criminal groups, violent extremists, and weak states will require a coordinated response from governments and the private sector,” he said. “We have to ask ourselves these questions and prepare ourselves in case a union of [the Islamic State group] and al-Shabab occurs”…

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Terror money news: recommended reading

November 6, 2014
  • Halal food certification enriches terror affiliates… more>>
  • Why terrorists love money transfer companies… more>>
  • Vice President says the Gulf monarchies funded ISISmore>>
  • Nigeria’s central bank denies financing Boko Harammore>>
  • An informative review of the controversial $1.3 billion in U.S. foreign aid to Egypt through American and Egyptian eyes… more>>