Posts Tagged ‘Turkey’

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Terror finance clues: suggested news reading

February 5, 2015
  • The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria pays local guides to trick journalists into being kidnapped… more>>
  • Turkish intelligence has been caught smuggling guns across the Syrian border to Al Qaeda… more>>
  • Why ISIS needs Saudi money to take the business of terror to a higher level… more>>
  • Former Senator Bob Graham tells an audience, “Al-Qaeda was a creature of Saudi Arabia; the regional groups such as al-Shabaab have been largely creatures of Saudi Arabia; and now, ISIS is the latest creature!” More>>
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10 biggest terror finance news stories of 2014

December 30, 2014
  1. The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria rebounded from a weaker financial position to amass $3 billion in annual income after taking over Fallujah in January and Mosul in June. Its diversified portfolio makes ISIS the world’s best funded terror group. Western allies are trying to cut off ISIS’s money, but admit that the best case scenario is that ISIS will run out of cash on its own.
  2. Treasury undersecretary David Cohen announced in March that “Qatar, a longtime U.S. ally, has for many years openly financed Hamas,” and that it is financing terrorists in Syria. These comments were followed up by former MI6 spy chief Richard Dearlove’s statement in July that “substantial and sustained funding” for ISIS comes from Saudi Arabia and Qatar. At least 5 but probably dozens more prominent Qataris are involved in the financial pipeline to Al Qaeda affiliates.
  3. The 4,500 rockets fired by Hamas toward Israel from July to August were financed and supplied by Iran and Qatar, further calling into question the wisdom of Iranian nuclear negotiations and periodic U.S. communications through Qatari diplomats for outreach to the Taliban.
  4. A ban from Israel and a designation as a terrorist entity by the U.A.E. made 2014 an annus horribilus for Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW). The world’s largest Islamic charity was also tarnished by revelations that its German subsidiary has worked with a Hamas-connected charity in Syria and that IRW’s U.S. subsidiary, IR-USA, was documented to have given $118,000 to terror-linked groups.
  5. Turkey’s role in financing terrorism spilled out into public view after paying $800 million to ISIS for oil. Turkey’s 2014 corruption scandal also revealed the extent of their involvement in Iranian sanctions evasion. Turkish president Erdogan’s support for Al Qaeda financier Yasin al-Qadi led his removal from U.S. terror blacklists.
  6. Arab Bank was found liable in Linde v. Arab Bank, PLC in September for funding 24 terrorist attacks by Hamas. The case sets a powerful legal precedent for victims’ families to seek justice against Middle Eastern banks involved in financing terror.
  7. A bill to declassify 28 pages of a Congressional report into 9/11 gained 20 new co-sponsors in 2014. The redactions deal with money given by Saudi officials and agents to the hijackers.
  8. Sharia banker and Islamist militant financier Mir Quasem Ali was sentenced to death by a war crimes tribunal in November for 8 torture sessions he oversaw against Bangladeshis in 1971. Ali’s involvement highlighted the intersection between Saudi money, violent Islamist groups, and sharia-compliant banking.
  9. Boko Haram kidnapped 200 girls in April, possibly for financial reasons, as suggested by Boko Haram’s demands for a ransom from the Nigerian government and from the girls’ families. Other motives include sex and household work and the prospect of money and prisoner swaps.
  10. An outspoken singer and fierce critic of terror finance, Saado Ali Warsame, was slain in Somalia in July. Warsame previously called upon fellow Somalis to refrain from using the remittance company Dahabshiil because of the firm’s role in funding terrorism. Warsame alleged before her death that the company offered a contract for her assassination.

Newer Money Jihad readers may also want to look back at our biggest stories of 2013, 2012, and 2011 to see how the threats are evolving over time.

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Terrorist money news: recommended reading

December 4, 2014
  • A lawsuit by 11 terror victims’ families against the Palestinian Authority—not against Hamas, Hezbollah, nor PIJ—will begin in January… more>>
  • Beware that money exchanged with Turkish individuals, companies, and government agencies could end up in Hamas‘s hands… more>>
  • Despite aerial bombardment, ISIS grosses €4.5 million daily… more>>
  • Obama administration bows to Turkish diplomatic pressure, removes Al Qaeda financier from blacklist… more>>
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International terror finance news: suggested reading

November 23, 2014
  • A plain account of Hamas’s $1 billion budget… more>>
  • Police arrest 9 Salafists who robbed churches in Germany to fund ISISmore>>
  • Hezbollah in South America gave C4 explosives to a Brazilian prison gang in exchange for protection of Lebanese inmates (h/t @RedQRedT)… more>>
  • Hamas recently smuggled $12 million from Syria to Turkey—money which is being held by the brother-in-law of Hamas leader Khaled Meshaalmore>>
  • Turkey’s cross-border smuggling with Iraq and Syria wouldn’t be so worrisome if it weren’t for Turkey’s porous northern border with EU member Bulgaria… more>>
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Socialists urge West to arm the PKK

October 27, 2014

Leading Marxist voices are calling on the EU and U.S. to ship weapons to the terrorist-designated Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Morning Star, the flagship newspaper of British communists, has editorialized that “Nato member states, including the US, have to rethink previous self-defeating positions, drop their sanctions against the anti-Isis alliance and send arms to those in the front line of this epic struggle,” referring to the PKK and their Syrian Kurd counterparts known as the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG).

The leading American socialist newspaper The Militant also bemoaned in a recent front page headline that the PKK and YPG are “low on arms.” The self-described anarchist think tank Center for a Stateless Society says that “Supporting the PKK would arguably be far more effective” than current Obama administration policies against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. A petition is also being circulated for submission to the White House for the U.S. to arm the YPG.

Leftist intellectuals are normally highly critical of arms manufacturers and weapons shipments to conflict zones, but are making an exception in this case because they would like to see the formation of a socialist Kurdish state carved out of portions of Syria, Turkey, Iraq, and Iran.

Such aid to the PKK, in addition to threatening existing regional borders, would violate current U.S. and EU sanctions. The PKK is designated as a foreign terrorist organization by the State Department, and is a specially designated global terrorist group which means that the PKK is subject to sanctions enforced by Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). It is unlikely that these sanctions will be lifted unless it’s part of a grand bargain with Turkish president Recep Erdogan involving peace talks with the PKK and Turkish support for U.S. policies in Iraq and Syria.

For now, even shipments to non-PKK Kurdish forces run the risk of violating sanctions against the PKK. The University of Queensland’s Dr. Tristan Dunning told Australian radio that, “What’s happened in the past is that Peshmerga arms have actually ended up with the PKK. So one of the reasons that I’ve heard that the collapse so quickly at Sinjar is actually because the Peshmerga generals in change of that Yezidi town had actually already sold the heavy weapons to the PKK for personal profit. There’s several Peshmerga generals on trial at the moment for selling the weapons for profit.”

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3 Islamic Relief affiliates reliant on Turkey’s IHH

September 5, 2014

The Turkish front charity IHH partnered with either Islamic Relief UK or its parent organization, Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW), during earthquake recovery operations in early 2013. IHH said its work was carried out, “in cooperation with Islamic Relief from Britain,” where IRW is headquartered.

The Australian affiliate of IRW has also partnered with IHH to conduct activities in Syria in 2013 according to a report on Syrian aid issued by IR-Australia. IHH was responsible for the procurement and delivery of supplies into Syria on behalf of IR-Australia.

In addition to previous evidence of cooperation between IR-Deutschland and IHH, these finding indicate consistent international collaboration between Islamic Relief affiliates and IHH. IHH was behind the violent, blockade-running flotilla against Israel in 2010, and has also worked with terrorist groups including al-Shabaab in Somalia.

All developed countries and their charitable regulators advise their charities against working with IHH overseas, particularly in jurisdictions such as Syria where the risks of aid falling into the wrong hands are so high. Islamic Relief USA would do well to note the red flags raised by IHH. According to U.S. Treasury publications, charities should exercise due diligence over the charities with which they partner, and should refrain from working with any charities suspected of financing terrorism.

IRW is currently investigating its own activities after being banned from the West Bank by Israel for funding Hamas.  The Charities Aid Foundation, which provides services to charities, and Islamic Relief UK have ceased working together in the wake of Israel’s ban.

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Exclusive: Islamic Relief Deutschland partners with Hamas-funding charity in Syria

September 4, 2014

Islamic Relief Worldwide's German affiliate links

Islamic Relief Deutschland, the German chapter of Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW), listed the Islamic front charity IHH as an “implementation partner” for a €150,000 aid project within Syria in a 2013 press release, raising serious questions about IR-Deutschland’s willingness or competence to vet partner charities abroad.

The partnership is striking considering that the German interior ministry previously banned IHH from operating in Germany because it had contributed money to Hamas. A German federal court upheld that ban in 2012 although an agreement was later reach that allowed IHH to operate under certain conditions.

IHH instigated the violent, blockade-running, anti-Israeli Mavi Marmara flotilla in 2010, and it has worked in concert with the terrorist group al-Shabaab in Somalia. IHH’s accounts in the Netherlands were frozen by Dutch authorities in 2011. IHH was reported to have smuggled weapons to the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood as early as 2012.

IRW itself has been banned from Israel because of its support for Hamas. The behaviors of IRW’s German affiliate may help to explain why Israel regards IRW as a threat.

Meanwhile, Al Qaeda has capitalized on the flow of international aid of all kinds to Syrian fighters. That aid includes significant support from Turkey, which has provided ongoing assistance to militants fighting Bashar al-Assad in Syria, and has allowed fighters to cross its border with Iraq to join ISIS. Western charities have a responsibility to carefully examine any partner charities in Turkey, Iraq, or Syria prior to sharing money and supplies with them, but this German revelation casts further doubt on the thoroughness of the due diligence conducted for these international relief efforts.

Islamic Relief USA, the American affiliate of IRW, has conducted several humanitarian relief operations in Syria over the last few years. From December 2012 to May 2013, IR-USA conducted a project which, according to their own website, “provided emergency aid to Syrians in need inside of Syria through Islamic Relief partner offices in Turkey” (emphasis mine). The national affiliation of those “partner offices” in Turkey is unclear since Turkey does not appear to have its own, permanent Islamic Relief chapter.

IRW’s official and current affiliates are located in the U.S., Australia, Belgium, Canada, Germany, Italy, Malaysia, Mauritius, the Netherlands, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, and the U.K. IRW says it has field offices in Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq, but that its presence in Turkey is limited to “seasonal and emergency campaigns.”

Germany’s sizable Turkish immigrant community gives IR-Deutschland better connections and access than most international Islamic charities to the Turkish border.

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