Posts Tagged ‘Syria’

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Loans by text pay jihadists’ way to Syria

July 13, 2015

Swedish Islamists are taking out loans through text message services to join the battle in Syria.  They use the borrowed funds to buy plane tickets, cars and, presumably, other equipment when they arrive.  Sweden’s security agency says that a majority of fighters’ travels are debt-financed.  Thus the lenders are violating the first rule of lending:  character.  What kind of screening are these small lenders performing on their borrowers?  So much for knowing your customer.

From The Local on June 22 (h/t Moscow Ghost):

SMS loans fund Syria terror trips from Sweden

Sweden’s Security Service (Säpo) has warned that growing numbers of muslims are funding trips to Syria with money secured via text message loans secured in Sweden.

Investigators working for the security service told Sveriges Radio that there had been a rise in people taking trips to the Middle East to fight alongside terror organisations such as Isis (also known as IS) over the last year, with growing numbers of visits funded by loans taken out in Sweden.

Martin Frimansson, an expert on terrorist funding at Säpo, explained that while some Swedes had borrowed money from banks or using Swedish credit cards, others had paid for their travel using SMS loans (money borrowed via text message from private companies) or made their way to Syria and Iraq using cars rented in Sweden.

According to Frimansson, a “clear majority” of trips were made possible due to loans, although he did not give any specific figures.

He suggested that some Swedes were also taking out loans in order to raise their status within Isis or other terror groups.

“It could be that if you have a car and money…you automatically become a team leader. If you have no money when you arrive, no car or anything – then maybe you’ll be the ambulance driver,” he said.

By law, credit companies and banks are required to adhere to a range of measures designed to prevent the financing of terror activities, but according to Säpo the trend for Swedes borrowing money for suspect trips to the Middle East suggests that much more needs to be done.

The security service is calling on lenders to file reports on people who are failing to repay their loans more quickly and to be stricter about who they lend money to in the first place.

“They are the first hurdle to stopping terrorist financing. It is a big responsibility,” said Frimansson.

In April, Säpo told The Local there was “very little” it could do to stop people travelling to Syria to join al-Qaeda inspired groups, as EU officials estimated up to 6,000 people from across Europe have now fought in the war-torn nation.

It confirmed that at least 150 Swedish residents were known to have been to Syria or Iraq to fight for Isis or other extremist groups, with intelligence suggesting that at least 35 had died in the process.

Earlier this year, Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad also told Sweden’s tabloid newspaper Expressen that he believed some of “the most dangerous leaders of Daesh and Isis in our region are Scandinavian”…

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Turkey’s 2014 surge of exports to Syria coincided with surge of of ISIS

July 10, 2015

A recent research paper on the Syrian economy included an instructive revelation.  Chatham House fellow Hayder al-Khoei drew special attention in a tweet to the off-hand but crucial finding in the report: that Syria’s economy grew 80 percent in 2014 due to a spike in Turkish imports that coincided with the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.  Specifically, the report found:

… It is not clear what caused this surge in Turkish exports, but it coincided with the height of the advances by ISIS in both Iraq and Syria, and some of the additional sales could have been accounted for by additional procurement from Turkey by ISIS – for example steel pipes and sections for oil refining projects…  (p. 26)

It won’t be proven in a court of law, but it is clear what Chatham House is suggesting.  It is clear what readers will take from this.  And it has been clear for some time that ISIS would not have been able to surge to such a dominant position in Iraq without extensive cross-border Turkish support.  Money Jihad reported on the very phenomenon of Turkey’s contributions to ISIS almost to the day one year ago.

Hat tip to Moscow Ghost.

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Report: Clinton OK’d gunrunning through Qatar

July 6, 2015

A former superior court judge says that Hillary Clinton approved an arms deal to send weapons to rebels in Libya and Syria through Qatari middlemen when she was secretary of state.  Those weapons often ended up in the hands of Islamic radicals and even groups designated by the U.S. as terrorist organizations according to documents reviewed by the judge.  From Fox News Insider on Jul. 2 (with a hat tip to Zadok Forgeron):

Judge Andrew Napolitano revealed this morning what he has concluded after reviewing hundreds of pages of documents and emails related to Hillary Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state.

The judge wrote today in a Washington Times column that the documents “persuaded me beyond a reasonable doubt and to a moral certainty that Mrs. Clinton provided material assistance to terrorists and lied to Congress.”

Napolitano said he looked at transcripts from a Fox News interview with an American arms dealer named Marc Turi, in addition to reviewing emails between Turi, State Department officials and lawmakers.

On Fox Business Network this morning, the judge told Charles Payne that he believes a “conspiracy existed” among President Obama, Mrs. Clinton, congressional leaders and other officials to “get arms shipped to rebels in Syria and Libya.”

Napolitano said some of the rebel groups were on the United States’ list of terrorist organizations, so providing “material assistance” to them would be a felony.

Napolitano said arms dealers received permission lawfully from the State Department to sell the weapons to the government of Qatar.

“Qatar then sold, delivered, bartered or gave these arms to the terrorist organizations with the consent of Hillary Rodham Clinton,” he said, adding that it is “crystal clear” from the documents that U.S. officials knew where the weapons would end up…

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Stashes and sanctions: suggested news reading

May 28, 2015
  • ISIS financier killed in raid; documents seized… more>>
  • Danish jihadists receive 400,000 crowns in welfare benefits, and counting… more>>
  • Iraq faced sanctions for years thanks to Saddam. Now it faces sanctions again thanks to an Iraqi airline helping Iran evade its sanctions… more>>
  • Spain busts up a Chinese money laundering operation that helps illustrate how “smurfing” works… more>>
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High-risk men max out credit cards before Middle East travel

April 20, 2015

Over one hundred “very high-risk” account holders have borrowed the maximum amount of money they could from their bank before traveling to countries neighboring Iraq and Syria.  Presumably this means Turkey and perhaps Lebanon or Jordan.  Typically those are the places ISIS recruits from the West fly into before crossing the border by ground into Syria or Iraq.  The credit card accounts have gone dormant and the debts will never be paid back.

Thanks to Gisele for sending this news in about debt-financed travel for jihad from QMI via the Toronto Sun:

114 ‘high-risk’ Canadians bilked RBC before leaving for areas near conflict zones

The Royal Bank of Canada has identified 114 clients as “very high-risk” for maxing out their credit cards before travelling to countries near Syria and Iraq, QMI Agency has learned.

Before leaving Canada, the clients borrowed the maximum amount of money allowed on their credit cards or lines of credit, a senior RBC vice president, Karim Rajwani, told participants during a webinar earlier this year.

QMI Agency obtained the audio recording.

The webinar was organized for anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing professionals in the banking industry.

Rajwani, a world expert in the fight against terrorist financing, says he discreetly shared his information with the Canadian Security and Intelligence Service.

None of the 114 clients paid off their debts and their accounts have been inactive since they left the country, he added.

“We aren’t saying that these people are terrorists, just very high-risk individuals,” Rajwani noted.

“They get a line of credit and they leave. We see a few transactions in overseas ATMs in countries neighbouring areas controlled by the Islamic State, and after that they disappear”…

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Money for terror: recommended news reading

April 16, 2015
  • This young couple in St. Louis would rather fund jihad than make love… more>>
  • ISIS demands a ransom of $100,000 per Christian’s head… more>>
  • The U.S. Council of Muslim Organizations, which is connected to a jihad fundraising website, recently visited with congressional Democrats… more>>
  • An Afghan colonel’s murder of 8 U.S. airmen may have been a quarter-million-dollar contract killingmore>>
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UN adds JI’s “humanitarian” wing to Al Qaeda sanctions list

March 27, 2015

The UN, Australia, and Canada have added the Hilal Ahmar Society Indonesia (HASI) to their list of sanctioned Al Qaeda entities according to Mr. Watchlist. HASI is also known as Yayasan Hilal Ahmar or the Indonesia Hilal Ahmar Society for Syria. It “operates in Lampung, Jakarta, Semarang, Yogyakarta, Solo, Surabaya and Makassar, Indonesia,” according to the sanctions announcement, which describes HASI as “recruiting, funding and facilitating travel of foreign terrorist fighters to Syria.”

The U.S. sanctioned HASI, which calls itself the “humanitarian wing” of the terrorist group Jemaah Islamiyah, in September of last year.

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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 profits from 20% tax on smuggled loot

March 9, 2015

Why 20 percent? 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.

BBC’s “File on 4” aired a report on Feb. 17 examining the extent to which ISIS controls the market in smuggling antiquities out of eastern Syria, especially around the ISIS stronghold in Raqqa, for follow-on sales through middlemen in Turkey and elsewhere to wealthy European and Gulf buyers. The BBC’s Simon Cox spoke from Lebanon with “Ahmed,” one Syrian dealer working in Turkey who described ISIS’s 20 percent cut on the archaeological black market.  Listen to this three minute clip of their conversation (please allow several seconds after clicking the arrow for the audio to play):

Hat tip to Alan for sending this over.

Prior Money Jihad coverage of ISIS’s reliance on khums is here, here, here, and here.

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Clandestine money news: suggested reading

February 12, 2015
  • Vigilante hackers want to bankrupt terrorists by attacking their banks’ websitesmore>>
  • A federal judge rejects a slap-on-the-wrist deal with a corporation that made $21 million from illegal transactions with Iran… more>>
  • ISIS is assessing a 50 percent payroll tax against Iraqi civil servants working in their territory… more>>
  • Despite being designated a state sponsor of terrorism, Syria has been given $200,000 of your tax dollars through the U.S. Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation… more>>
  • Want more news? Visit Drugs & Thugs Blog for more recommended reading… more>>
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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.