Posts Tagged ‘Tunisia’

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Money trail news: recommended reading

March 21, 2013
  • Of course, old chap, Bank Saderat has financed Iran’s nuclear program. But that doesn’t give you the right to impose economic sanctions, says an EU court… more>>
  • The web, smartcards, and cell phones were sold as glittering innovations that would empower the world’s poor. Now Bangladesh is desperately wading through massive rivers of fast-moving data in time to catch the next terrorist transaction… more>>
  • Nine men have been convicted of fundraising for the jihadist Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan. An overdue update to this story from Paris… more>>
  • Iranian state-run newspaper claims it has proof that Saudi Arabia is funding Al Qaeda fighters of Syria’s al-Nusra Front.  Even a broken clock is right twice a day… more>>
  • A Muslim Brotherhood group is helping coordinate events in Tunisia thanks to some money from an unexpected source.  The British taxpayer… more>>
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Funding armed struggle: suggested news reading

March 14, 2013
  • Twenty Chechen blackshirts show up to join the fight in Syria.  “Jihad needs very many things. Firstly it needs money. Much is dependent on money today for jihad,” says the rebel leader… more>>
  • A Hamas charity maintained an account with a French bank in the early 2000s.  Eight suicide bombs, five bus bombs, and 140 corpses later, a federal judge says Credit Lyonnais will stand trial… more>>
  • When you’re laundering money for the world’s biggest gun-runner, you might not want everybody to know exactly who you are.  Maybe that’s why Syrian-born “Richard Chichakli” has 16 aliasesmore>>
  • Ansar al-Sharia attacked the U.S. embassy in Tunis last year, and they seem to have a lot of money to throw around.  But we are, says one member, merely funded by local donations from around the neighborhood.  It is, Aaron Zelin explains, not the whole storymore>>
  • The U.S. State Department has announced it will provide aid to the Free Syrian Army.  True, the FSA fights alongside Al Qaeda, but let’s not split hairs… more>>
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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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French arrest formidable financier of jihad

July 12, 2012

We’ve seen a several cases over the past year or two of individual Muslims living in the West who each raise anywhere from one to 15 thousands dollars a pop to fund jihad overseas.  The fact that French authorities have referred to this suspect as a “formidable financier” suggests that this individual may have acquired $15K or much more, but time will tell.

This news development is also an indication that Al Qaeda in North Africa (AQIM) isn’t just receiving money through abductions for ransom.  We have already seen indications that AQIM has enough money to send some of it to Al Qaeda itself.  Could French Muslim money be passed through AQIM to Al Qaeda as well?

From the Associated Press, July 3:

French police arrest website administrator suspected of financing Al Qaeda

PARIS –  French authorities have arrested the administrator of an extremist French website who is suspected of playing a key role in financing and recruiting for Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups from Pakistan to Spain, the Paris prosecutor’s office said Tuesday.

The man — whom prosecutors call an “operational vector and formidable financier of the bloodiest terrorist groups” — is being questioned Tuesday. He faces preliminary charges of planning terrorist acts and financing a terrorist enterprise, the prosecutor’s office said in a statement.

The man, a Tunisian born in 1977 based in the southern French city of Toulon, was arrested Friday after a yearlong investigation, the prosecutor’s statement said. It did not give the man’s name.

The prosecutor cited “serious and concordant evidence” that the suspect sent material from his computer to terrorist groups. It says he played a “centralizing role” in collecting funds for terrorist groups to buy weapons, but did not elaborate on how much money was involved.

Prosecutors say he is suspected of acting as a financier and recruiter for groups including Al Qaeda and Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (North Africa), Fatah al Islam, and the Islamic State of Iraq.

Investigators studied thousands of email messages and analyzed a “considerable mass” of data, prosecutors said.

They called it an exceptionally advanced example of “the use of the Internet for terrorist ends in the domain of radical Islam.”

The arrest comes three months after a gunman who police said claimed allegiance to Al Qaeda killed Jewish schoolchildren and paratroopers in a rampage in southern France, in France’s worst terrorist attacks since the 1990s.

Also earlier this year, a French court sentenced an Algerian-born nuclear physicist to five years in prison for his role in plotting terrorism with Al Qaeda’s north African wing via online contacts. Adlene Hicheur, a former researcher at Switzerland’s CERN laboratory, was convicted of “criminal association with a view to plotting terrorist attacks.”

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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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2011: Folly of funding the Arab Spring

January 5, 2012

The year 2011 will be remembered for the Arab Spring, and it will only look worse as the fog clears.  We saw the power vacuum created by the ouster of Arab leaders.  Now we see the filling of the vacuum by Islamist elements bent on imposing sharia law, subjugating their non-Muslim minority populations, and putting peace agreements with Israel into a paper shredder.  What’s worse—we bankrolled it.

Whether it was Pres. Obama’s insistence on a massive G8 stimulus package for the Islamic world or Hillary Clinton’s halal food distribution to the Libyan rebels, 2011 is one for the record books in terms of funding the very same menacing global force that we’ve been fighting since 9/11.

Here are 2011’s low points of squandered, taxpayer-originated Western aid money to a region falling under the shadow of the Muslim Brotherhood:

  • $135 million in U.S. financial aid to Libyan rebels and their newly forming Islamist government
  • €70 million ($90 million USD) from the European Commission humanitarian aid department (ECHO), €20 million from Sweden, over $15 million from the U.K. in aircraft and ships, and other EU member aid for a sum of $195 million in total European aid to Libya
  • Most notably, $20 billion in aid and loans for Egypt and Tunisia from the taxpayers of the G8 economies
  • France provided at least “40 tonnes of weapons” to Libyan rebels
  • For Tunisia, U.S. aid to the tune of $2 million in “Transitional Initiative” funds; and an additional $5 million to support “civil society” groups to peddle their influence with the new Islamist government
  • Federal grants to facilitate remittance programs to Tunisia and Libya
  • Pentagon officials announced in November that U.S. arms deals with Egypt will continue even though Egypt will most likely not honor its peace treaty with Israel

Supporters of the funding will say that this is helping to promote “reform” in the Arab world.

But recall that the Taliban itself was originally seen in the 1990s by several observers as a “reform movement” that would purge Afghanistan of its violent history of rival warlords that competed along ethnic, tribal, and regional lines.  There are many to this day (including State Department employees in private) who say we shouldn’t be worried about the Taliban because they’re more concerned with controlling Afghanistan than they are in exporting terrorism.

But the simple fact of 9/11, which the Taliban enabled by playing handmaiden to Al Qaeda, disproved the delusional concept that Islamist government presents no risk to the West.

We paid for the new Islamist regimes, and it’s time we demand a refund.

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Tunisians vow to replicate Khaybar assault

February 17, 2011

Jihad Watch reports that Tunisian Muslims have shouted, “Khaybar, Khaybar, ya Yahud, jaish Muhammad sa yaoud,” meaning “Khaybar, Khaybar, O Jews, the army of Muhammad will return,” during recent protests in front of a Tunis synagogue.

As Robert Spencer points out, Islamists hail Khaybar as “an aggressive, surprise raid by Muhammad which resulted in the final eradication of the once considerable Jewish presence in Arabia.”

Khaybar was also the scene of a massive theft by Muslims of the Jews’ oasis and the target of an utterly foul 50 percent kharaj tax imposed against the remaining Jewish farmers.

The Khaybar chants at a synagogue aren’t just a threat against the physical presence of the Jews, but a portent of the Islamic tax policy that would be imposed against the Jewish population if the protestors win out.

This aligns at least one political faction of Tunisia with the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party of Malaysia who have formally called for a revival of the kharaj tax against non-Muslims.