Posts Tagged ‘Islamic State of Iraq’

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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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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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ISIS profits from Christians’ jizya

April 11, 2016

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is partially funding itself from taxes on Christians in Raqqa, the center of ISIS’s control in Syria.  The jizya is a centuries old tax imposed by Islam against Christians and Jews in accordance with the plain text of the Koran.  The jizya is dangerous not only because it discriminates against non-Muslims, but because it is often used in modern days as a revenue source by Islamic terrorist groups.

Those in the West who support religious freedom and equal protection under the law, and those who claim that we should “follow the money” when any nefarious activities are observed, have an obligation to speak out against the jizya anytime and anywhere it appears.

From Newsweek:

…It was previously thought by many that the entire Christian population of Raqqa had fled the city or had been killed by ISIS after it ousted Syrian troops in January 2014. Yet, several families remain in the city after paying a jizya (tax) and signing a dhimma (sharia social contract) that prevents them being killed by the radical Islamists.

“There are a couple of families left in Raqqa. I was surprised,” says Nuri Kino, founder and president of A Demand For Action, a group advocating the protection of ethnoreligious minorities such as Assyrians and Yazidis in the Middle East.

“I spoke to a Syriac man who only left Raqqa about six weeks ago. He turned up at an association in Germany. It turns out that some families actually are in Raqqa, paying jizya and are being protected by their former neighbors, Sunni Muslim neighbors, as long as they follow the Sharia laws.”

Muslims who lived in the city prior to ISIS’s arrival are protecting the Christians—who have been the subject of some ISIS propaganda releases in the city; for example, having the Quran read to them—from death at the hands of the radical Islamists.

“They have a document that they have with them wherever they go, that says they are protected by the Sharia, by the court, that they have been to the court, that they are paying jizya and that they also have some kind of sponsor or protector.”

The jizya and the dhimma allows minorities protection from a brutal death as dictated by the group’s radical strand of Islamic law. The group has implemented it in other areas of Syria, such as the Christian town of Al-Qaryatayn. The ultra-conservative group considers ancient religious minorities, such as Syriac Catholics, Assyrians and Yazidis, to be kafir (disbelievers) and infidels.

Such rules in the social contract include prayers being forbidden in public, prayers at home not being loud enough so that others can hear them, the outlawing of renovations to churches, not showing religious symbols and the outlawing of the ringing of church bells…

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Terror plotting news: suggested reading

April 7, 2016
  • Al Qaeda in Syria seizes weapons from Western-backed rebels… more>>
  • U.S. indicts 7 Iranians who hacked 46 American banksmore>>
  • Documents seized from ISIS show Turkey gave their fighters safe passage to Syria… more>>
  • Belgium’s alleged Muslim Brotherhood front is funded by Qatar Charitymore>>
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ISIS manipulates currency in northern Iraq

March 10, 2016

Reuters says that the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) “rigs currency rates.”  That sounds sophisticated—activity you would expect from a central bank.  Once you read their article you find that ISIS is forcing currency dealers in Mosul to exchange fewer dollars for the same amount of Iraqi dinars.  That sounds more like an organized crime racket than public financial administration.  Either way you cut it, ISIS’s fighters are getting pinched with lower wages, which is a good thing.

Islamic State rigs currency rates in Mosul to prop up finances

Islamic State militants in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul are manipulating the exchange rate between U.S. dollars and Iraqi dinars to squeeze money out of local people as coalition bombers attack the group’s finances.

The U.S-led coalition has said that in addition to attacking Islamic State’s fighters and leaders it will go after financial infrastructure too.

Air strikes have reduced Islamic State’s ability to extract, refine and transport oil, a major source of revenue that is already suffering from the fall in world prices. Since October the coalition says it has destroyed at least 10 “cash collection points” estimated to contain hundreds of millions of dollars.

U.S. military officials say reports of Islamic State cutting fighters’ wages by up to half are proof that the coalition is putting pressure on the group.

Average pay has been cut from $400 to $200 a month. While wages for foreign fighters, which were between $600 to $800, have also been cut, it is not clear by how much, said U.S. Army Colonel Steve Warren, spokesman for the international coalition.

Yet the militants, who have near total control of the local economy, appear to have adapted to these setbacks in Mosul by introducing a new revenue stream.

The group earns dollars by selling basic commodities produced in factories under its control to local distributors, but pays monthly salaries in dinars to thousands of fighters and public employees, currency traders in Mosul told Reuters.

It earns profits of up to 20 percent under preferential currency rates it imposed last month that strengthen the dollar when exchanged for smaller denominations of dinars, they said.

“Daesh sells (the products) to traders in dollars, but it pays salaries in small denominations of dinars,” said an exchange bureau employee in Mosul, using an Arabic acronym to refer to Islamic State.

At the official rate set by the Iraqi government, $100 is currently valued at around 118,000 dinars.

In Mosul, the same amount costs 127,500 dinars when purchased with 25,000-dinar notes, the largest bill in circulation, according to the owner of a currency exchange bureau. The rate rise to 155,000 dinars when purchased with 250-dinar notes – the smallest bill available. Islamic State prefers the larger bills as they are easier to transport.

‘NOBODY WOULD RISK IT’

Three other currency traders confirmed those details. They all spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity for fear of being punished by Islamic State. Security restrictions in areas the group controls prevented Reuters from independently verifying their accounts.

It was not possible to determine how much money Islamic State is making by controlling the currency market. It was also unclear if these practices extended beyond Mosul, the largest city under Islamic State control, to other territories in Iraq and Syria.

Parallel trading at more competitive rates is very limited, traders said, because Islamic State has threatened to confiscate the money of anyone who breaks the rules. If it happens, it is in complete secrecy.

“Nobody would risk it,” one of the traders told Reuters.

Islamic State, which is frozen out of traditional financial institutions by international sanctions, operates a cash economy and controls most means of production, including factories producing cement, flour and textiles…

 

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ISIS demands jizya from Swedes

January 7, 2016

Not so long ago, demands for jizya—a tax required by the Koran against non-Muslims—occurred in countries like Pakistan and Syria. Now it’s happening in Sweden. It’s good to hear that law enforcement is taking it “very seriously.” Hopefully that means there will be arrests, trials, and convictions of the perpetrators soon.

From RaymondIbrahim.com on Dec. 13:

According to a new report published yesterday, December 12, by RT Arabic, the “Swedish government is in a state of panic after dozens of its citizens received threatening letters signed by ISIS and offering them three choices, either conversion to Islam, payment of jizya, or decapitation.”

The letters warned their recipients that they had three days to decide.

Written in the Swedish language, the letters appeared yesterday on dozens of homes in different cities at the same time.  Police are reportedly taking the threat “very seriously.”  Among other regions, letters appeared in the cities of Ronneba, Sigtuna, Vstroes and the capital Stockholm.

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10 biggest terror finance news stories of 2015

January 4, 2016
  1. Funding of Paris attacks

The November 2015 attackers paid for $32,000 worth of pre-attack operations including hotel lodging and car rentals through anonymous prepaid cards purchased in Belgium. Payments were loaded in small increments; rules for prepaid cards allow for reloading up to $2,500 without identity verification. Although the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is responsible for the attacks and the training of several attackers, the precise source of the $32,000 is less clear. Money for travel appears to have become available after a stopover in Greece.

  1. Nuclear deal will release billions to Iran

The nuclear agreement that President Obama signed will release $100 billion to $150 billion of frozen assets to Iran, a state sponsor of terrorism. Hopefully the asset thaw will get gummed up in court while attorneys seek to collect the compensation that is owed to the victims of Iranian-sponsored terrorism first.

  1. Wahhabi funding monarch takes power

Saudi Arabia has crowned a new king, Salman bin Abdulaziz, who started his career in public service by bankrolling the exportation of radical Wahhabism throughout the Islamic world. We will be contending with well-funded terrorist groups for as long as men such as Salman rule Arabia.

  1. Coalition bombs ISIS oil fields

According to news reports, the U.S. is increasing pressure against ISIS’s financial assets by bombing oil fields in their territory. If true, the bombing means that the Obama administration has begun to recognize that it is worth destroying oil infrastructure to deprive ISIS of funding even if it means it will be harder to rebuild the infrastructure when and if ISIS retreats.

  1. Son of terror victim sues wire transfer company

The son of a slain Somali politician and singing star is suing the money transfer company Dahabshiil for its alleged involvement in issuing a bounty for the singer’s murder. Saado Ali Warsame had sung a song denouncing Dahabshiil as a financier of terror and a profiteer from inter-tribal conflict.

  1. Jihadists in Yemen fund Charlie Hebdo assassins

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) gave $20,000 to future Charlie Hebdo attacker Said Kouachi before he and his brother left Yemen in August 2011. The foreign funding helps explain how a group of underemployed ex-cons were able to buy AK-47s for their January 2015 attacks and pay for Said Kouachi’s international travels.

  1. PA and PLO owe damages for terror attacks

A jury found the Palestinian Authority and the PLO liable for terrorist attacks with American victims in the early 2000s, with damages set at $656 million in Sokolow v. PLO. A federal judge set $10 million bond while the PA and PLO appeal.

  1. Taliban takes control of more turf

The Washington Post reports that the Taliban has taken control or maintains a significant presence in 30 percent of Afghanistan—the most territory it has occupied since 2001. The problem with this from a financial standpoint is that the Taliban lives off the land. One of their primary sources of income is taxation on commercial activity in the areas they control. More turf means more money.

  1. Arab Bank settles with terror victims

Arab Bank PLC provided client services to Hamas affiliates which funded terrorist attacks against Israel. After years of lawsuits, the settlement was reached between the bank and American victims of these terrorist attacks, possibly for $1 billion. Together with the Sokolow, these cases show that legal tactics can be used effectively to hit terrorists where it hurts: their wallets.

  1. Debt-financing of San Bernadino attack

Syed Rizwan Farook took out a $28,000 debt consolidation loan weeks before waging an assault against his victims. This method of financing attacks is particularly popular among jihadists living in Western countries where easy credit is, well, easy.