Money and funding of Al-Qeda & Islamists from Arab World

Discussion in 'Defence & Strategic Issues' started by ajtr, May 15, 2010.

  1. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    Documents: Financial Links Between Saudi Royal Family and Al Qaeda

    WASHINGTON — Documents gathered by lawyers for the families of Sept. 11 victims provide new evidence of extensive financial support for Al Qaeda and other extremist groups by members of the Saudi royal family, but the material may never find its way into court because of legal and diplomatic obstacles. The case has put the Obama administration in the middle of a political and legal dispute, with the Justice Department siding with the Saudis in court last month in seeking to kill further legal action. Adding to the intrigue, classified American intelligence documents related to Saudi finances were leaked anonymously to lawyers for the families. The Justice Department had the lawyers’ copies destroyed and now wants to prevent a judge from even looking at the material.

    The Saudis and their defenders in Washington have long denied links to terrorists, and they have mounted an aggressive and, so far, successful campaign to beat back the allegations in federal court based on a claim of sovereign immunity.

    Allegations of Saudi links to terrorism have been the subject of years of government investigations and furious debate. Critics have said that some members of the Saudi ruling class pay off terrorist groups in part to keep them from being more active in their own country.

    But the thousands of pages of previously undisclosed documents compiled by lawyers for the Sept. 11 families and their insurers represented an unusually detailed look at some of the evidence.

    Internal Treasury Department documents obtained by the lawyers under the Freedom of Information Act, for instance, said that a prominent Saudi charity, the International Islamic Relief Organization, heavily supported by members of the Saudi royal family, showed “support for terrorist organizations” at least through 2006.

    A self-described Qaeda operative in Bosnia said in an interview with lawyers in the lawsuit that another charity largely controlled by members of the royal family, the Saudi High Commission for Aid to Bosnia, provided money and supplies to the terrorist group in the 1990s and hired militant operatives like himself.

    Another witness in Afghanistan said in a sworn statement that in 1998 he had witnessed an emissary for a leading Saudi prince, Turki al-Faisal, hand a check for one billion Saudi riyals (now worth about $267 million) to a top Taliban leader.

    And a confidential German intelligence report gave a line-by-line description of tens of millions of dollars in bank transfers, with dates and dollar amounts, made in the early 1990s by Prince Salman bin Abdul Aziz and other members of the Saudi royal family to another charity that was suspected of financing militants’ activities in Pakistan and Bosnia.

    The new documents, provided to The New York Times by the lawyers, are among several hundred thousand pages of investigative material obtained by the Sept. 11 families and their insurers as part of a long-running civil lawsuit seeking to hold Saudi Arabia and its royal family liable for financing Al Qaeda.

    Only a fraction of the documents have been entered into the court record, and much of the new material is unknown even to the Saudi lawyers in the case.

    The documents provide no smoking gun connecting the royal family to the events of Sept. 11, 2001. And the broader links rely at times on a circumstantial, connect-the-dots approach to tie together Saudi princes, Middle Eastern charities, suspicious transactions and terrorist groups.

    Saudi lawyers and supporters say that the links are flimsy and exploit stereotypes about terrorism, and that the country is being sued because it has deep pockets and was home to 15 of the 19 hijackers.

    “In looking at all the evidence the families brought together, I have not seen one iota of evidence that Saudi Arabia had anything to do with the 9/11 attacks,” Michael Kellogg, a Washington lawyer representing Prince Muhammad al-Faisal al-Saud in the lawsuit, said in an interview.

    He and other defense lawyers said that rather than supporting Al Qaeda, the Saudis were sworn enemies of its leader, Osama bin Laden, who was exiled from Saudi Arabia, his native country, in 1996. “It’s an absolute tragedy what happened to them, and I understand their anger,” Mr. Kellogg said of the victims’ families. “They want to find those responsible, but I think they’ve been disserved by their lawyers by bringing claims without any merit against the wrong people.”

    The Saudi Embassy in Washington declined to comment.

    Two federal judges and the Second Circuit Court of Appeals have already ruled against the 7,630 people represented in the lawsuit, made up of survivors of the attacks and family members of those killed, throwing out the suit on the ground that the families cannot bring legal action in the United States against a sovereign nation and its leaders.

    The Supreme Court is expected to decide this week whether to hear an appeal, but the families’ prospects dimmed last month when the Justice Department sided with the Saudis in their immunity claim and urged the court not to consider the appeal.

    The Justice Department said a 1976 law on sovereign immunity protected the Saudis from liability and noted that “potentially significant foreign relations consequences” would arise if such suits were allowed to proceed.

    “Cases like this put the U.S. government in an extremely difficult position when it has to make legal arguments, even when they are the better view of the law, that run counter to those of terrorist victims,” said John Bellinger, a former State Department lawyer who was involved in the Saudi litigation.

    Senior Obama administration officials held a private meeting on Monday with 9/11 family members to speak about progress in cracking down on terrorist financing. Administration officials at the meeting largely sidestepped questions about the lawsuit, according to participants. But the official who helped lead the meeting, Stuart A. Levey, the under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, has been outspoken in his criticism of wealthy Saudis, saying they have helped to finance terrorism.

    Even if the 9/11 families were to get their trial in the lawsuit, they might have difficulty getting some of their new material into evidence. Some would most likely be challenged on grounds it was irrelevant or uncorroborated hearsay, or that it related to Saudis who were clearly covered by sovereign immunity.

    And if the families were to clear those hurdles, two intriguing pieces of evidence in the Saudi puzzle might still remain off limits.

    One is a 28-page, classified section of the 2003 joint Congressional inquiry into the Sept. 11 attacks. The secret section is believed to discuss intelligence on Saudi financial links to two hijackers, and the Saudis themselves urged at the time that it be made public. President George W. Bush declined to do so.

    Kristen Breitweiser, an advocate for Sept. 11 families, whose husband was killed in the World Trade Center, said in an interview that during a White House meeting in February between President Obama and victims’ families, the president told her that he was willing to make the pages public.

    But she said she had not heard from the White House since then.

    The other evidence that may not be admissible consists of classified documents leaked to one of the law firms representing the families, Motley Rice of South Carolina, which is headed by Ronald Motley, a well-known trial lawyer who won lucrative lawsuits involving asbestos and tobacco.

    Lawyers for the firm say someone anonymously slipped them 55 documents that contained classified government material relating to the Saudi lawsuit.

    Though she declined to describe the records, Jodi Flowers, a lawyer for Motley Rice, said she was pushing to have them placed in the court file.

    “We wouldn’t be fighting this hard, and we wouldn’t have turned the material over to the judge, if we didn’t think it was really important to the case,” she said.

    Original US govt. Docs providing links of Saudi Royal family's financial links with Al-Qaeda.​
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  5. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    Saudis faulted for funding terror

    Treasury official shows frustration at U.S. efforts to force action. An audit is ordered.
    April 02, 2008|Josh Meyer, Times Staff Writer
    WASHINGTON — Saudi Arabia remains the world's leading source of money for Al Qaeda and other extremist networks and has failed to take key steps requested by U.S. officials to stem the flow, the Bush administration's top financial counter-terrorism official said Tuesday.

    Stuart A. Levey, a Treasury undersecretary, told a Senate committee that the Saudi government had not taken important steps to go after those who finance terrorist organizations or to prevent wealthy donors from bankrolling extremism through charitable contributions, sometimes unwittingly. "Saudi Arabia today remains the location where more money is going to terrorism, to Sunni terror groups and to the Taliban than any other place in the world," Levey said under questioning.

    U.S. officials have previously identified Saudi Arabia as a major source of funding for extremism. But Levey's comments were notable because, although reluctant to directly criticize a close U.S. ally, he acknowledged frustration with administration efforts to persuade the Saudis and others to act.

    "We continue to face significant challenges as we move forward with these efforts, including fostering and maintaining the political will among other governments to take effective and consistent action," Levey said, later adding: "Our work is not nearly complete."

    Levey was the sole witness before the Senate Finance Committee, which Tuesday ordered an independent review of the efforts to choke off financing used by Al Qaeda and other extremist groups.

    Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), the committee chairman, announced the review at the end of the hearing held to assess the money-tracking campaign by Treasury's Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, headed by Levey.

    The Bush administration created the office in 2004 to spearhead efforts to disrupt the flow of money to extremist causes, primarily from wealthy donors in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere in the Persian Gulf.

    However, U.S. officials and counter-terrorism experts have said that international support for the effort has waned while terrorist groups have found ways around the financial restrictions. At the same time, there have been turf battles among the 19 federal agencies that work on the problem.

    Senators praised work done by Levey but expressed concerns about the overall U.S. effort. The committee's Democratic and Republican leaders cited a Los Angeles Times report last week detailing problems undermining the effort. Sen. Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, the ranking Republican, said extremist groups had adapted to changing U.S. investigative methods: "We are simply not prepared right now to keep up with them and put them out of business once and for all."

    Levey said the campaign has succeeded in disrupting terrorist financing by freezing suspicious assets and in gathering intelligence that could be used to identify extremists and disrupt their activities. But under questioning by senators, Levey also spoke of difficulty in getting Saudi Arabia to take the steps U.S. officials consider necessary.

    Levey said the Saudis had been aggressive in going after terrorist cells. But he said they had not lived up to promises to establish the kind of financial intelligence unit needed to trace the money trails of terrorists. Another problem is that the Saudi government has not set up a charity oversight commission to track whether donations end up in the hands of extremists.

    Levey said the Saudi government has not moved to publicly hold accountable those within the kingdom who have been the subject of enforcement actions by the U.S. and other authorities.

    Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) said the Saudi failures mean that Americans who pay more than $100 a barrel for oil are in effect bankrolling extremism because wealthy Saudis "back-door" their profits into charities that fund extremist causes.

    Nail Jubeir, press attache for the Saudi embassy in Washington, dismissed those concerns, saying the Bush administration has repeatedly praised Saudi Arabia for its efforts to combat terrorism.

    "We have been very vigilant in our campaign against terrorism financing," Jubeir said. "We have come a long way since 9/11 on this issue."

    Jubeir confirmed that Saudi Arabia has not set up the financial intelligence unit or charity commission, but said it was cracking down on the financiers of terrorism in other ways, such as making it illegal for anyone to send money outside the kingdom "without going through official government channels."

    Alleged financiers of terrorism identified by the United States are being investigated, and their assets have been frozen, Jubeir said. "But unless we have evidence to try them . . . we don't parade them in public," he said. "What if it turns out they are innocent?"

    At the hearing, senators also expressed concern about disputes among U.S. agencies and other administrative and investigative functions of Levey's office. Baucus and Grassley asked that the Government Accountability Office review its internal efficiency and effectiveness as well as its cooperation with foreign governments.

    Levey said he had not seen the request from Baucus and Grassley, but added: "We welcome any source of advice as to how we can improve."
  6. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    Lashkar-e-Taiba’s Financial Network Targets India from the Gulf States

    An impending threat from the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorist group has prompted security establishments to raise an alert along India’s western sea-coast. According to intelligence sources, the LeT’s marine wing is planning a Mumbai-type incursion to target vital installations in the three coastal states of Gujarat, Maharashtra and Goa. The group is also reported to have funneled huge amounts of money from its Gulf-based networks to fund jihad activities in India (Times of India, June 30). This is not an isolated intelligence alert. The threat emanating from the LeT was partially revealed following the recent arrest of Muhammad Omar Madni, a close associate of LeT/Jamaat-ud- Dawa chief Hafeez Muhammad Saeed. The arrest and interrogation of Madni revealed several startling details, including new routes used by terrorists, the location of bases inside and outside India, terrorist finances, and the recruitment strategy of Lashkar-e-Taiba.

    Muhammad Omar Madni, who also oversees LeT’s Nepal operations, was on a mission to recruit youths and send them to Pakistan for training. Madni travelled widely through Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan and the Gulf nations, including Saudi Arabia, seeking funding and logistical support. His task was to recruit educated and computer-savvy youths from the major metropolises of India (Press Trust of India, June 7). Indian agencies believe he is not the only LeT recruiter in the sprawling hinterland of India (Statesman, [Kolkata], June 5). Madni’s brother Hafiz Muhammad Zubair, another Lashkar operative who worked closely with him, is presently based in Qatar (Telegraph [Kolkata], June 6).

    Besides the usual routes of intrusion in Jammu and Kashmir, LeT has managed to build alternate routes through the porous borders of Nepal and Bangladesh while establishing bases in the Gulf countries. Investigating agencies have now confirmed that LeT is working on a new strategy which involves using Dubai as the center of planning for future strikes against India (India Today, June 22). Past and ongoing terror investigations suggest the Gulf countries have been the major hubs for LeT terrorists and many terrorist plots against India are now hatched outside Pakistan’s territory.

    After groping in the dark for some time, India’s intelligence agencies have now confirmed that the Gulf link to terror in India is thriving and there are LeT cells operating in the Gulf that have financed and facilitated terrorist operations in India.

    Mumbai’s crime branch probe revealed that the November 2008 Mumbai terror events were financed by LeT’s Gulf cells and Gulf-based operatives masterminded and executed a series of blasts in Indian urban centers ( Bangalore, Ahmadabad, Delhi and Surat) in 2008. These operations were carried out in collusion with militants of the Indian Mujahedeen (IM) and the proscribed Student Islamic Movement of India (SIMI).

    While investigating the August 2003 twin blasts in Mumbai (car bombs at the Gateway of India and the Zaveri Bazaar), Mumbai Police unearthed a strong Dubai link. The plot was hatched by LeT’s Dubai operatives, who colluded with sleeper cells in Hyderabad, Ernakulum and Chennai. The blasts were claimed by an unknown group—the “Gujarat Muslim Revenge Force” (GMRF)—one of the many groups set up by SIMI and LeT following the 2002 Gujarat communal riots to avenge atrocities perpetrated against the Muslim community (Press Trust of India, October 10, 2003). Hanif, one of the Lashkar militants arrested in connection with the blasts, reportedly told police about the planning, logistics and targets of the LeT’s GMRF wing. Since 1993, Hanif worked in Dubai as an electrician and was sent to Mumbai in September 2002 to organize and execute the attacks. Police also interrogated Hanif about his ties to Basheer, a fugitive SIMI figure who fled to Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and one Abu Hamza, affiliated to Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) (Frontline [Chennai], September 13-26, 2003).

    Another major example of Lashkar’s Gulf connections arose in mid-2006, following the serial commuter train blasts in Mumbai. Mumbai’s Anti-Terrorist Squad seized approximately 37,000 Saudi Riyals from the residences of the LeT’s Mumbai cell chief, Faizal Ataur Rehman Sheikh (Indian Express, August 2, 2006). The money reportedly came in two installments from Saudi Arabia via the hawala network operated by Faizal’s London-based brother Rahil Sheikh and another Lashkar operative identified as Rizwan Ahmed Davre, an IT professional based in Riyadh. [1] Rizwan acted as a conduit between the unidentified Saudi funder, Pakistan based LeT commander Azam Cheema and Faizal Sheikh. Cheema reportedly designated Davre the ‘amir-e-baitulmaal’ (chief exchequer) for his able handling of monetary transactions (Indian Express, October 1, 2006)

    Investigations by India’s intelligence agencies into the 2008 urban terrorist attacks uncovered ties to many Gulf hotspots, especially the financial networks in Muscat (Oman). At least four LeT operatives handled India operations from Gulf cities like Muscat and Sharjah. They are identified as Wali (a.k.a Shameem), Muslim Basheer, Sarfaraz Nawaz (a.k.a Hakeem Sarfoor) and Abu Haroon. These four are believed to be of Pakistani origin and to have been deputed in the Gulf to raise funds and monitor operations planned for India. While Wali was involved in fundraising activities and responsible for coordinating with SIMI and IM militants in India, Muslim Basheer, based in Muscat, was the chief coordinator for the LeT in the Gulf. Funds for the terrorist operations were raised by Wali, who provided the money for the blasts and who sent youths from the southwestern state of Kerala to Pakistan Administered Kashmir (PAK) for terrorist training (New Indian Express [Chennai], March 27). Investigating agencies identified Abu Haroon, a travel agent in Muscat, as the operative who facilitated the movement of money to India from the Gulf region through hawala channels. Abu Haroon also coordinated between the Lashkar leadership in Pakistan and India (, May 27). The fourth terrorist, Sarfaraz Nawaz, another LeT man from Muscat and a former SIMI leader who likely fled to Oman following the countrywide crackdown on SIMI establishments, was brought from Muscat to India in a dramatic secret operation earlier this year by India’s external intelligence agency, Research & Analysis Wing (RAW). The swift operation surprised many Indian officials, especially in the absence of any extradition pact between India and Oman (, March 04, 2009).

    Three other terrorists involved in the July 2008 Bangalore serial blasts and other incidents have been identified as Saleem and Jaheed from Bangladesh (hawala operators) and Ali Abdul Azeez Hooti of Oman, the chief terrorist financier.

    The Gulf’s increasing ties to terrorism resurfaced when investigations into the November 2008 Mumbai carnage tracked a similar pattern involving Gulf-based financiers and Lashkar coordinators. The role of Aziz Hooti as one of the financers in this connection is currently under probe. Hooti, the Oman based businessman and key Lashkar operative there, was in touch with Lashkar terrorist Fahim Ansari just before late November’s carnage in Mumbai. At present, Fahim Ansari is on trial and Aziz Hooti is in the custody of the Oman police for plotting against Western establishments in Oman. According to the information shared between Oman and Indian police, Aziz Hooti could have had direct ties to the Mumbai attackers. It is now believed in investigating circles that both Aziz Hooti and Nawaz played vital roles in financing terrorist activities in India, especially in providing funds for Indians taking jihadi training in the PAK region (The Hindu, May 28;, May 28).

    Nawaz’s interrogation has revealed many facts about Lashkar’s plans in southern India. According to his statement, he and Ummer Haji, an IM cadre and key figure in the terror network in south India, had hatched a plan to carry out serial bomb blasts in Chennai and Bangalore (New Indian Express, June 29). However, Lashkar’s Chennai plot was dropped by Wali due to funding issues. Haji is the man who sent Kerala youths to Muzaffarabad in Kashmir for training. Aziz Hooti was also involved in the Bangalore plan while the terrorist triumvirate (Wali, Nawaz and Hooti) met in Sharjah in early 2008. Nawaz’s statement also sheds some light on Lashkar’s operational strategy in southern India. Bangalore police revealed that Nawaz was in close touch with Abdul Nazar Madhani, leader of the People's Democratic Party (PDP - a left wing Kerala political party) (New Indian Express [Chennai], March 28)

    SIMI has operational ties with many militant student groups, including the Saudi Arabian Jamayyatul Ansar (JA), whose membership is comprised of former SIMI activists and expatriate Indian Muslims. It should be emphasized that the LeT and its Jamaat ud-Dawah (JuD) subsidiary were born out of the Ahl-e-Hadith (AH) movement with roots in the Middle East and in the Indian subcontinent. LeT largely draws its ideological inspirations from this transnational Islamic puritanical movement that openly propagates the doctrine of jihad in India. AH has been influential in the subcontinent with active ties to Saudi Wahhabis and strong diaspora links. One of the reasons for this could be the AH inspired student movements (e.g. the Mujahid Students Movement) active in Kerala with branches in Gulf countries, along with Indian Islahi centers in Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, Oman, Bahrain and Kuwait. [2]

    The beginning of this year was marked by Islamabad's crackdown on the LeT and other Pakistan based terror groups in which LeT came under severe pressure from the Pakistan administration to de-escalate its jihadi agenda against India. Despite the crackdown and the detention and subsequent release of LeT leaders in Pakistan, the LeT is reportedly once again looking to strike India by plotting against its vital installations and infrastructure.

    The recent spurt of terror activities by the LeT in India has a direct connection to contributions from the Gulf-based cells that have planned and financed most of the group’s operations. The LeT’s Gulf based networks are becoming the lifeline for LeT/JuD operations in Pakistan and India. With this threat in view, India is now seeking a comprehensive anti-terrorism treaty with the Gulf nations. For now, Madani and Nawaz’s confessions have provided investigating agencies an outline of the shape of things to come regarding the LeT’s plans for terrorist operations in India.


    1. Hawala is an informal and alternative remittance system which operates outside of 'traditional' banking or financial channels.

    2. Indian Islahi centers are Islamic organizations working among Indians (especially Keralites) in the Gulf countries to spread of the true message of Islam and guide Muslims away from the clutches of superstitious traditions, blind faiths, polytheism, etc. Indian Islahi Centers operate in almost all Gulf countries as a subsidiary of the Kerala Nadvathul Mujahedeen. In some Gulf countries and the northern states of India, this organization is known as Salafi Center. All these associations are working for the propagation of Quran and Sunnah among Muslims and non-Muslims.

    Terrorism Monitor
    Last edited: May 15, 2010
  8. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    Loretta Napoleoni

    Late in the day, on September 11, 2001, when the news broke that 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudi citizens, the White House and the Saudi Embassy were already engaged in collateral damage control. Throughout September, George W. Bush appeared in public accompanied by the Saudi Ambassador, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, and by several other distinguished Muslim and Arab-American friends, who had generously contributed to his presidential campaign. Paradoxically, most of them had links with radical Islamist groups. On September 14, in a display of solidarity for Bush’s “war on terror”, Muzammil Siddiqi, president of the Islamic Society of North America, was photographed at the White House with the President and 15 other prominent American Muslims. A year earlier, Siddiqi had addressed a pro-Hezbollah crowd in Washington, predicting that the wrath of God would soon land on American soil. In the same picture, sandwiched between Siddiqi and Bush, was Salam Al-Marayati, executive director of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, who, on the afternoon of 9/11, had stated on a Los Angeles public radio station that "we should put the State of Israel on the suspect list" for the terrorist attacks. On September 17, during his historic visit to the Islamic Center in Washington, the President was filmed with Khaled Saffuri, former deputy director of the American Muslim Council, a radical Islamic institution, whose director, Abduraman Alamoudi, had publicly supported Hamas and Hezbollah.

    As investigations were carried out across the world, the Saudi connection with Islamist terror kept re-surfacing and the White House began to struggle pretending that the Kingdom was a loyal ally. A new reality emerged: Saudi Arabian involvement in terrorism was by no mean limited to Osama bin Laden and his entourage. Beyond the 15 Saudi hijackers stood not an isolated group, Al Qaeda, but rather a global financial network. Americans learned that, for decades, Islamic banks had funneled Saudi charities’ money, via subsidiaries and corresponding banks, to terror groups and cells scattered across the world. Businessman, traders, bankers, individuals, even members of the Saudi Royal family, had contributed, in one-way or another, to this pool of money. Prince Bandar’s own wife, a personal friend of the Bush family and the Saudi King’s daughter, was caught in this web when the media unveiled that some of her personal charitable donations had ended up in the pockets of two 9/11 hijackers.

    Against this extraordinary background, the US has not taken any serious measure against Saudi Arabia. After the destruction of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, the second chapter of Bush and Blair’s ‘war on terror’ unfolded north of Saudi Arabia, inside Iraq, where a controversial war was fought against Saddam Hussein and his dictatorial regime. Why did coalition forces not hunt down those who have been funding terrorism? Why did the White House censor the sections referring to Saudi financing of the Congressional Report on 9/11? Because of a shocking paradox: for the last 25 years, the US government has been in bed with Saudi Arabia, the hot bed of Wahhabism, the root of Islamist terror.

    Conceived in the middle of the 18th century by Wahhab, an obscure mullah from the tiny Central Arabian settlement of Uyana, in the region of Nejd, Wahhabism emerged as a reaction to the decadence of the Ottoman Empire. In essence, Wahhab blamed the insufficient purity of the Islamic faithful for the political crisis then engulfing the Muslim world. Stripping religion of 1000 years of civilization, custom, and culture, Wahhabism became, in the 1920s, a powerful political tool in the hands of an aggressive tribe - the future House of Saud – determined to carve a kingdom out of the crumbling Ottoman Empire. “So strong was the religious drive,” explains Matt Levitt, senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and former terrorist analyst for the FBI, “that the partnership between political and religious powers became integral to the legitimacy of the Saudi royal family.” Today, one of the pillars upon which the House of Saud’s power rests is the propagation of Wahhabi Islam in Saudi Arabia and throughout the world. All other religions are banned and condemned, and their adherents attacked as blasphemers. The belligerent and militant proselytism of Wahhabism - unaltered for almost three centuries - is at the root of the Saudi policy of religious colonization of the Muslim world; a policy implemented by financing Islamist groups.

    In the 1980s, the anti-Soviet Jihad - a $5 billion per year joint venture between the CIA and the House of Saud - kicked the Soviets out of Afghanistan and led directly to the Islamization of that region. “The Saudis propagated Wahhabism,” admitted Hameed Gul, former head of ISI, the Pakistani CIA. Instead of carrying a pro-Western, pro-democracy message, the Mujahedin spread the revolutionary creed of Wahhab. The Taliban movement was the direct consequence of the Saudi indoctrination of Afghanistan; according to Ahmed Rashid’s best selling book, The Taliban, its members modeled themselves upon Wahhab. When the war ended, some Mujahedin moved on to Kashmir, Bosnia, Chechnya and Indonesia, merging into local Islamist armed groups; others headed home to Algeria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, where they strengthened old - and gave birth to new - terror organizations. The Islamic Jihad in Egypt and the GIA in Algeria are some of their offspring. Islamist groups proselytized and fought for a common cause: the implementation of a confederation of Islamist states (what Osama bin Laden called The New Caliphate) ruled by the strictest adherence to the Wahhabi creed. Saudi money, an estimated $2 to 3 billion per year, flowed ceaselessly into their coffers; “Al Qaeda alone,” reads a UN report prepared for the Security Council, “received 20% of Saudi GNP over the last ten years”. To channel the money, the Saudis used the international network of Islamic banks, which had been established during the anti-Soviet Jihad and, conveniently, had never properly been disbanded.

    “The idea that Islamist terror uses offshore banking is a myth,” reads a UN report on terror financing. Funding comes predominantly from legitimate institutions scattered around the Muslim world; this is an intricate, vast and almost impenetrable web, a souk of subsidiaries, correspondent banks and financial institutions. Islamic banks are its lifeline. Created in the late 1970s, after the first oil shock produced a massive capital inflow into Saudi Arabia and other oil producing countries, Islamic banks are the product of another unique alliance between the emerging Saudi bourgeoisie and the Wahhabi religious elite. The former provided the money and the latter advised upon the structure to a new breed of banks, institutions shaped according to the teaching of Islam.

    The cornerstones of Islamic banking are two Saudi banks: the Dar Al Maal Al Islami (DMI) and the Dallah Al Baraka (DAB). Each has vast networks of subsidiaries and corresponding banks in the Middle East, Africa and Asia. Very powerful men run these banks: Mohammad Al Faisal, brother of Prince Turki, former head of Saudi Intelligence and son of the late Saudi King, founded DMI; Saleh Abdullah Kamel, the Saudi magnate and the king’s brother-in-law, created the DAB holding group, a banking empire with 23 branches and several investment companies scattered across 15 countries. Saleh is the stereotypical Islamic capitalist, a visionary character who is at his best when swimming against the tide; a workaholic, who is proud to have created over 60,000 jobs; the patriarch of an immense extended family, he is, at the same time, a simple man who honors the old desert tradition of frugality. According to Forbes Magazine, he is the 137th richest man in the world, with a fortune worth $4 billion.

    Saleh was also among the founders of the Al Shamil Islamic Bank in Sudan. The US State Department claimed that Osama bin Laden controlled this bank, after paying $50 million towards its ownership. It is more likely that he only became a large shareholder when, in the mid 1990s, Osama moved several of his businesses and assets to Sudan. Former bin Laden business associate Jamal Ahmed Mohammad al Fadl, who testified at the trial against Al Qaeda operatives responsible for the 1998 bombing of two US embassies in Africa, confirmed that bin Laden used the Al Shamil, as well as the Faisal and the Tadamon Islamic Banks, to channel money to his followers around the world. Interestingly, the Faisal and the Tadamon are both among the largest stockholder of the Al Shamil.

    The Tadamon is the second largest banking institution in Saudi Arabia. Among its shareholders are several Islamic banks from the Gulf, such as the Bahrain Islamic Bank, the Kuwait Finance House, the Dubai Islamic Bank and the National Company for Development and Trade of Khartoum, which controls 15 per cent of the Tadamon. The bank has 21 operative branches in Saudi Arabia and a considerable network in Sudan, where it is particularly active in the agricultural, industrial and real estate sectors. Because of this network, the Tadamon is ideally placed to channel to Islamist armed groups Saudi funds from zakat - the religious almsgiving required of all Muslims.

    The zakat is one of the five pillars of Islam, the others being the iman, the belief in one god and in the role of Mohammed as his prophet: the salah, the daily prayers performed five times a day; the sawm, the fasting during the month of Ramadan; and the hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca, at least once in a lifetime. The zakat is a form of giving to those who are less fortunate, an obligation upon all Muslims to part from 2.5 % of their wealth and assets each year. It is an act of worship because it is a way of offering thanks to God for the material well-being that one has acquired. Naturally, the zakat has been incorporated into the structure of Islamic banks, which apply it to every contract or transaction they handle. Zakat transactions are kept off the balance sheets and are, therefore, untraceable; as soon as the transfers are complete, all records are destroyed.

    In Saudi Arabia zakat is a large potential source of income - the 6,000 members of the Saudi royal family alone, for example, are worth $600 billion, making their zakat potentially equivalent to a yearly $15 billion. Recent UN estimates set the yearly Saudi zakat at about $10 billion. These funds are controlled by the Department of Zakat of the Saudi Ministry of Finance and National Economy, which in turns channels them to the 241 Saudi charitable institutions. Charities also attract a yearly $4 billion in independent donations.

    “Zakat paid to charities is one of the many stratagems used to finance Islamist groups,” confirms Ayesha Siddiqa-Agha, a Pakistani military specialist. “During the 1980s, the Saudis channeled $1 billion per year towards militant Islamist organizations in Pakistan, mostly under the guise of donations to charitable organizations”. Saudi and Palestinian documents released in April 2002 (found in the headquarters of the Tulkarm Charity Committee, an organization based in the Occupied Territories and linked to Hamas), during operation Defensive Shield, proved that the Saudis have been funding suicide bombers and other terrorist activities via charitable channels. Monies disguised as donations by the Committee for Support of the Intifadat al-Quds, a Saudi charity headed by Saudi Interior Minister, Naif Ibn Adeb al Aziz, regularly reached the Occupied Territories. Funds arrive monthly to the Cairo-Amman Bank, an agent of Western Union Money Transfer Service, via two major banking routes: one from Damascus via Jordan, the other from Saudi Arabia through Egypt. The Cairo-Amman bank has 21 branches in Palestine; its network includes 51 branches in Jordan and a web of corresponding banks in Egypt.

    Islamic banks, not charities, are the life-line of Wahhabi insurgency, they are the feeder of Islamist armed groups; without them ‘terror-donations’ could not reach the end users scattered around the world. Members of the Saudi elite manage this complex financial network and therefore, are fully responsible for terrorist attacks. This is the essence of a 1 trillion-dollar lawsuit filed by relatives of 9/11 victims against distinguished members of the Saudi elite. Among the defendants are Saudi top bankers: Saleh Abdullah Kamel and his brother, Omar Abdullah Kamel, for their roles in the Faisal Islamic Bank, and the Dallah Al Baraka, named parties in the lawsuit; Mohammed al Faisal, chairman of Dar-al-Maar al Islami, a Swiss-based holding which owns the Islamic Investment Company of the Gulf, whose subsidiary is the Faisal Islamic Bank. Interestingly, plenty of the defendants’ money has been invested in the United States. The day after the lawsuit was filed, $200 billion of Saudi assets were withdrawn from the US.

    Most Saudi bankers are masters of financial dissemblance, an art they perfected at the Cold-War school of clandestine money movement. Among them is Sheikh Khalid bin Mahfouz, brother-in-law of Osama bin Laden and banker of the Royal Family, a man whom Forbes considers the 251st richest man in the world, with a fortune worth $1.9 billion. Like most rich Saudis, Mahfouz is a man of amazing connections - including the Bush family, whose support facilitated his purchase of a section of the Houston airport to ease traveling to his Texas residence. According to a US Senate report, in the 1980s, Mahfouz’s Saudi National Commercial Bank bankrolled deals in the Iran-Contra affair where Israel brokered US arms to Iran. Another distinguished Saudi citizen involved in the affair was Adnan Khashoggi, arms dealer, playboy, jet setter and tycoon, who acted as guarantor of $17 million US government secret arms sale to Teheran. The Monte Carlo branch of the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI), at the time the main conduit for laundering money for CIA clandestine operations, handled the money transfers involved in the transaction.

    BCCI was an Islamic bank controlled by three families, the Mahfouz of Saudi Arabia, the Geith Pharaon of Abu Dhabi and the Gokan of Pakistan. Though it was a Pakistani-registered bank, it was funded by the Saudis and their friends: Mahfouz’s National Commercial Bank, for example, owned 20%; another leading shareholder was Kamal Adham, a former head of Saudi Intelligence, whose business partner was the former CIA station chief in Saudi Arabia, Raymond Close. William Casey, the former head of CIA, was so impressed by the ‘special’ services provided by the bank that he personally hand picked it to channel secret CIA funds to the Mujahedin in Afghanistan. It was thanks to the BCCI, in fact, that Ronald Reagan convinced the Iranians to release the American hostages right after his election as President, in what has become known as operation ‘October Surprise’.

    Throughout the 1980s, until its collapse for fraud, the BCCI’s seedy banking network supplied the Americans with ad hoc tools to defeat the Soviets and supported the Saudis in their effort to win leaders of Muslim countries away from the influence of Iran. “The Saudis see Iran as a real threat to their leadership in the Muslim world,’ explains Al Faghi, a prominent Saudi dissident; Teheran is the toughest competitor in the process of religious colonization pursued by Riyadh. “It was in the wake of the Iranian Revolution, that the Saudis began funding Pakistani anti-Shia and anti-Iran organizations,” admits Arif Jamal, a Pakistani specialist in militant religious organizations. Saudi money played a big role in turning religious organizations into Wahhabi hot beds which in turn became violent against Shias and Iranians”. This ruthless hegemonic war between the two main interpretations of Islam is far from over. “In the 1990s, after the collapse of the Albanian economy, Saudi and Iranian banks went head to head to gain control over this Muslim foothold in Europe,” reveals Matt Levitt from the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

    The Iranian revolution marked a major turning point in the US-Saudi relationship; it laid the ground for the “special” bond between Washington and Riyadh. From 1978 onwards, each US administration has worked hard at molding the House of Saud into America’s most valuable Muslim ally, a role that transcends the provision of a steady supply of oil. As long as the House of Saud contained and counter-balanced Iran in the region, the US did not interfere with Saudi Arabia’s religious colonization, even if this meant ignoring the ‘donation’ of a billion dollars to Pakistan for its nuclear program or the funding of Islamist armed groups in Kashmir or Chechnya.

    ‘The final task of Islamic banking is to serve and promote Islam’ an Arab banker explained several years ago. For the Saudis banks are mere instruments to proselytize and spread Wahhabism. Egypt, a key US ally in the Middle East and the largest recipient of US aid after Israel, also fell victim to this expansionist and aggressive policy. According to Rifaat El-Said, general secretary of the Egyptian opposition party Tagammu (Progressive Union), in 1993 the Saudis offered money to Mubarak’s government on the condition that it would encourage the Wahhabization of Egyptian society. The primary vehicles for this have been the media and the banking system. In a country starved of cash, the Saudis successfully promoted the proliferation of Islamic investment houses and penetrated the banking system. Among them is the Islamic Development Bank, part of the IDB Group (the Islamic Corporation for the Development of Private Sector), created by the Organization of Islamic Conference, a Wahhabi anti-Zionist institution founded in 1969. Naturally, Islamic banks’ loans are conditional on strict adherence to Islamic laws and traditions.

    In Egypt, the arrival of Saudi cheap credit coincided with the reactivation of fundamentalist armed groups, primarily Islamic Jihad. In 1995, members of this organization made an attempt on the life of Mubarak, and, in 1997, they succeeded in killing 58 people, mostly tourists, in Luxor. “This is a familiar pattern in Muslim countries,” commented an Italian aid worker in Sarajevo. “Albania, Kosovo, and Bosnia have all experienced this phenomenon: Islamic banks bring cheap and plentiful cash while Islamist groups target the sector of traditional economy which generates hard currencies, such as tourism”. The aim is to maximize the dependency of the society on Islamic finance, a crucial first step towards the Wahhabization of the economy. Is Syria next in line? Anticipating the liberalization of the economy of the new Syrian president, Bashar al Assad, a team of Muslim investors formed a consortium and put $100 million into the Syrian economy. Some of the members are well-known names in the murky world of Islamist terror financing: the Dallah Al Baraka of Saleh Abdullah Kamel; the bin Laden consortium of Osama’s brother Saleh; the Saudi Oger, a contracting concern of Lebanese premier Rafiq Al Hariri; and the First Saudi Investment Company of Syrian businessman Wafiq Said.

    Wahhabism and Saudi financing form a dual track in Riyadh’s religious colonization. The strategy is simple: Islamic banks prepare the ground for Saudi fundamentalism to penetrate deep into the Muslim world. For over two decades, Saudi money have paid for mosques and madrasses - the religious schools where children are indoctrinated, studying exclusively the Qur’an and the Quranic laws. Inside, Wahhabi mullahs preach and teach a bellicose vision of Islam. This is a phenomenon that affects every single country where Muslims live. In Punjab, for example, government officials admit that the Saudis have targeted the region. “By the end of 2001 there were 2,715 Wahhabi seminars with 250,000 students in the Punjab alone”, wrote The Tribune, a leading Pakistani political magazine. Punjabi Wahhabi students are tutored in ‘unusual’ skills ranging from religious propaganda to guerrilla combat. Why are these schools so popular? “Wahhabi’s violent and radical message reached Muslim populations at a time when they were struggling with exceptional demographic growth and high unemployment,” explains Mehvish Hessein, deputy editor of the Tribune. “Young disillusioned and unemployed Muslims responded enthusiastically to it, streaming into mosques and madrasses from which some of them joined newly formed Islamist armed groups.” Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world: in the mid-1990s, the annual demographic growth of the Muslim population was 6.4 per cent versus a modest 1.5 per cent for the Christian population. This is an immense reservoir for Islamist terror.

    Today, Wahhabi Islam has become the unifying ideology for Islamist warriors in the same way as Marxism-Leninism had been for the communists. Old and new mosques provide the necessary network, the mirror image of the Islamic banking one, guaranteeing that the process of colonization runs smoothly and spreads at a fast rate. The Mosque Network also reaches deep into the Western world. In Birmingham, England, just as in Mardan, in the North West Frontier of Pakistan, mosques are supplying funds and fighters for the world-wide Jihad against the hegemonic power of the West. Money is raised in many ways; for example, through the Kafil, a type of funding which in the 1980s proved to be one of the most effective methods of recruitment and sponsoring of the Mujahedin. “On Friday”, explains K.M. Mustafa, a former Egyptian Mujahedin residing in Peshawar, “the katiba (fund raiser) in the Mosque urges people to join or finance the Jihad. If someone is unable to participate, he can sponsor someone else”. The sponsor pays for all expenses of the Mujahedin, including transportation and weapons. According to Saudi dissidents, the Kafil system is very much alive inside Saudi Arabia.

    Calculating the pool of money raised via the Mosque Network is an impossible task for many reasons, amongst which the difficulty in quantifying the wealth and commitment of the various ethnic communities. Britain, for example, is the second largest benefactor of Muslim Kashmir, after Kashmiris living in the Middle East. In 2001, the Lashkar-e-Taiba, an Islamist terror group active in Kashmir and India, alone received £2 million in donations from British Muslims. A realistic estimate, however, would set the Mosque Network’s contribution at one third of terror financing, with the other two-thirds coming from direct sponsorship and illegal and criminal activities.

    “The religious character of the alliance between the Royal family and the Ulema, the highest religious authority inside the Kingdom, is at the root of the idiosyncrasies of Saudi politics,” explains Al Faghi. In the mid-1990s, it was the Ulema that put pressure on the King to recognize the Taliban as the legitimate rulers of Afghanistan, at a time when the Taliban hosted Osama bin Laden, enemy number one of the House of Saud. Again it was the Ulema that prevented the Saudi ruling elite from actively prosecuting bin Laden when, at the onset of the first Gulf War, he accused them to have betrayed Wahhabism by allowing US soldiers to be stationed inside the Kingdom and to have prevented him to organize an Arab militia to fight Saddam. Why? Because Saudi Arabia’s blackest sheep and the Ulema share a common goal: to rid the Muslim world of western influence in order to facilitate the spreading of Wahhabism.

    Ambiguity also permeates Saudi’s anti-terrorism policy. In March 2002, a US-Saudi joint order froze the funds held in Bosnia and Somalia by al Haramain Islamic foundation, a Mecca-based charity headed by Sheikh Saleh bin Abdul Aziz al-Ashaikh, Saudi minister for Islamic affairs. On August 2002, after persistent pressure from the Saudis, the Bosnian authorities released the assets and renewed the operating licenses of al Haramain. In September 2002, a Saudi newspaper even reported that the charity was expanding its activities in both Bosnia and Somalia, and had opened an Islamic center costing $530,000 in Sarajevo. “So far, Saudi restrictions imposed on Islamic charities have had only a temporary impact on the flow of terror money, mostly because state-paid religious leaders sit on the boards of these organization,” explains Matt Levitt. The Government is also reluctant to curb donations for fear of being unpopular among the population, who openly support Islamist causes around the world. The classified results of a poll conducted inside Saudi Arabia show that 95% of educated Saudis aged 25-41 support bin Laden’s cause. “These are people who want a regime change inside Saudi Arabia,” explained a Saudi dissident, “people who consider blasphemous the pro-American attitude of some members of the Saudi Royal family, people who see Osama as a hero, the men who purify the Kingdom by bringing it back to the roots of Wahhabism.”

    The fiscal structure of Islamic countries makes it particularly difficult to monitor the flow of money going into charitable organizations. In Saudi Arabia, for example, there is no tax system or internal revenue service; consequently no one is able to audit the accounts and keep track of monetary inflows and outflows. The structure of the Islamic banking system, shaped by the Wahhabi religious elite according to the teaching of Islam, is of no help either. Most transactions are in cash and go unrecorded. Unsurprisingly, “the Saudi banking system is not totally transparent and Riyadh does not maintain strict oversight,” admitted Carl W. Ford Jr., assistant secretary of State for Intelligence and Research to the Senate Committee on Intelligence on February 6, 2002. The failure to curb terror funds has left the pool of money available to Islamist groups almost untouched - an estimated $5 to $16 billion per year.

    Well before 9/11, the international financial world and the US authorities were aware of the idiosyncrasies of Saudi politics and knew too well the role that Saudi bankers and members of the Saudi elite played in the deadly game of Islamist terror. In 1999, the Saudi government discovered that Mahfouz, bin Laden’s brother in law, had used the National Commercial Bank to transfer $3 million to charitable organizations acting as fronts for bin Laden’s network. From the Saudi audit acquired by US intelligence, it transpired that the money originated from five top Saudi businessmen. Part of this sum was sent to the International Islamic Relief Organization (IIRO) in the Philippines, a Saudi charity set up in the early 1990s by Mohammad Jamal Khalifa, another bin Laden’s brother in law, who was married to a Filipina from Mindanao. The December 2002 UN Security Council report describes the IIRO as a ‘pipeline’ for bankrolling local Islamist armed groups such as Abu Sayyef, which is fighting to turn Mindanao into an Islamic state. US intelligence investigators believe that Khalifa managed via IIRO terror funds for his brother-in-law in several countries, including Malaysia, Mauritius, Singapore and the Philippines. Vincent Cannistraro, the former CIA chief of counter-terrorism, even accused Khalifa of being involved in the funding of the Islamic Army of Aden, the group that claimed responsibility for the bombing of the USS Cole.

    The suspicion that Saudi charities were used to channel funds to Islamist armed groups was backed by plenty of more evidence. A secret list of 31 suspected charities, including several from Saudi Arabia, circulated among anti-terrorist specialists as far back as 1996. The FBI even investigated some of them, amongst which the World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY), based in Alexandria, Va. WAMY was founded in 1972 in Saudi Arabia with the aim of blocking ‘Western corruptive ideas’. By 2002, it was controlling 450 organizations in 34 countries. In the early 1990s, it began acting as a channel for Saudi donations to radical Islamist groups. Among them was the Student Islamic Movement of India, which supports Islamist armed groups in Kashmir and seeks to transform India into an Islamist state. In the late 1990s, the Philippine military denounced WAMY for its funding of Islamist insurgency.

    None of the FBI investigations really came to fruition. Why? “Because of disturbing interferences from the White House,” reveals BBC reporter Greg Palast, author of the best selling book, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy. In the specific case of WAMY, FBI agents were prevented from acting on their request to investigate it as "a suspected terrorist organization fronted by two members of the bin Laden family in the US”, adds Palast. Abdullah bin Laden, was the US director of the charity, and his brother Omar, was very active inside the organization. Restrictions on the FBI investigations were imposed during the Clinton administration, who wanted to maintain ‘good’ relationship with the Saudis; they increased when President Bush was elected, to the point where agents were specifically told to ‘back off’. “By the time the shackles were removed from the inquiry, those bin Ladens had left the States,” concludes Palast. On September 18, 2002, members of the bin Laden family were whisked out of America on a privately-chartered plane for a flight back to their country of origin, Saudi Arabia, where US investigators could not reach them. Ironically, the administration that launched the ‘preventive strike doctrine’ has prevented the FBI from properly investigating the funding of Islamist terror.

    So far, the ‘special’ treatment granted to the Saudi elite in the US has survived 9/11, the war in Afghanistan (where many Saudis citizens fought alongside the Taliban) and plenty of undisputed evidence of the Saudi role in funding Islamist terror. In April 2002, the Bosnian police handed over to the US Justice department a report entitled ‘Golden Chain Link’. It listed the names of 20 top financial backers of Islamist terror. The document had been found during a raid in an al Qaeda safe house in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Among the bankers are the usual names, Saleh Kamel; Mohamed al Jumaih, chairman of IIRO and president of First Islamic Investment Bank; Kalid bin Mahfouz; and Ahmed Turki Yamani, former head of Aramco and ex-Saudi oil minister. The US Justice Department has refused to declassify the report pending the investigation. However, the Bosnian authorities have had no problem in making it public. For how much longer will Washington protect Riyadh?

    “The war on terror will not be won without addressing the Saudi ambiguity towards financing Islamist groups,” admonishes Matt Levitt. This will never happen as long as Saudi Arabia continues to enjoy a ‘privileged’ relationship with the US. For The Economist, the essence of this bond rests upon the nature of US-Saudi diplomacy, which has been forged around personal ties. This habit, one should point out, is typical of nomadic tribal societies - like the Saudi Bedouins used to be, living in tents, migrating from one oasis to the next while looking after their animals - but alien to a post-modern, multi-ethnic democracy like the United States. The man who brought Bedouin diplomacy inside the White House is Prince Bandar. For years, the Saudi ambassador has practically been a member of the Bush family. “You are my friend for life, one of my family,” wrote Bandar in a letter to Bush senior. In 1985, he threw a lavish party at his residence in Washington, in honor of George Bush Senior. In August 2002, he was one of four foreigners invited to lunch at President Bush’s Texas ranch; all the other guests were heads of state.

    Prince Bandar’s Bedouin diplomacy complemented Saudi Bedouin business practice. Over the last 20 years, the Bush family had several opportunities to become acquainted with it, thanks also to a close friend, James Bath. Bath, who in 1979 bought for $50,000 a 5% stake in George W. Bush’s Arbusto Energy, was at the time the sole representative of Salem bin Laden, head of the bin Laden family, in Texas. In 1988, when Salem died, his friend, partner and son in law, Mahfouz, inherited his interests. At that time, Bath was already running a business for him in Houston and had established a partnership with the Saudi banker and Geith Pharaon. In 1986, when Harken Energy Corporation, a ‘rejuvenated’ Arbusto Energy, got into financial trouble, it was another partner of Pharaon and personal friend of Mahfouz, Saudi Sheik Abdullah Taha Bakhsh, who solved George W’s cash crisis by purchasing 17% of Harken. BCCI handled most of the transactions.

    Bandar’s ties with the Republican Party go back to 1978, when the Carter administration was battling with the first Islamic revolution of modern times. Prince Bandar was asked to convince Ronald Reagan, then Governor of California, to back the $2.5 billion sale of sixty F-15 fighter jets to the Saudis, the first major US arm sales to Saudi Arabia. Since then, all US administrations have sold arms to the Saudis, the US major Muslim ally against Iran, thereby also providing the royal family with a special ‘security blanket’ against strong and violent internal opposition. The Washington arms lobby loves him, commented a retired lawyer, because he makes their job so much easier. Prince Bandar’s ties with US arms producers were cemented during the Reagan era, when he personally acted as an intermediary in the Iran-Contra affair, arranging $32 million, mostly via Swiss bank accounts, in Saudi financing to arm the Nicaraguan Contras.

    From 1990 to 1999, the Saudi government paid US arms makers $30 billion for weaponry, including F-15 fighter aircrafts, M-1A2 Abrams tanks and Apache attack helicopters. Americans have also provided operational and maintenance training. In exchange, the Saudis have been extremely generous. No presidential library has been built and no political campaign has been financed without Saudi ‘donations’. US Ivy League universities have been showered with millions; some, like Harvard, even received money from the bin Laden family. The Saudis have also played a vital role in maintaining stable oil prices, in support of US foreign policy. During the Iran-Iraq war, they used their surplus production to supply the West; during the Gulf War they released, with a few other Gulf producers, 5 million extra barrels a day to offset the Iraqi and Kuwaiti quota, and, in the two weeks following 9/11, they shipped an extra 9 million barrels of oil to the US, helping to avoid a surge in inflation caused by the panic following the attack. During the recent war in Iraq, the Saudis released an additional half million barrels of oil per day. Together with Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates, they more than offset the Iraqi quota. Total oil supply actually rose from February to May 2003.

    As his Bedouin ancestors taught him, Prince Bandar spreads funds across the political spectrum, to cement friendships with outgoing and incoming Presidents and administrations. However, Saudi generosity is clearly biased towards the Republican party. “The Saudis have become to the Republicans what the Jews are to the Democrats - major fund raisers,” said a Washington lobbyist, an evolutionary process orchestrated by Prince Bandar in co-operation with Grover Norquist. Norquist, a well-known Republican fund-raiser and master of coalitions, is co-founder of the Islamic Institute with Khaled Saffuri, one of the distinguished Wahhabi Muslims photographed with Bush at the White House on September 17, 2001. It was Norquist who engineered the Republican outreach to the fast-growing American Muslim community, which today stands at 7 million, on the basis that Muslims are well-off and socially conservative. In the summer of 2001, he wrote in the American Spectator “American Muslims look like members of the Christian Coalition,” a comparison that to Wahhabi’s ears sounds like the ultimate insult, and which is in sharp contradiction with the Wahhabi propaganda which circulates inside the US. “Judaism and Christianity are deviant religions,” admonishes the Deen al Haqq (The True Religion), one of the many hate booklets printed by the Ministry of Islamic Affairs in Riyadh and distributed in the US by the Institute of Islamic and Arab Sciences in America, based in Fairfax, Va. Its web page lists, among hate literature centers, the Royal Saudi Embassy Office for Islamic Affairs, whose offices are on the second floor of the Saudi Embassy in Washington, and WAMY. In the US, WAMY even promotes the ideas of one of its employees, Sheikh Saad al Buraik, the religious advisor of Prince Abdul Azziz bin Fahd, a son of King Fahd, who, in 2001, called for the enslavement of Jewish women and the death of all their children. So well-received was Buraik’s anti-Jewish exhortation in his homeland that it got him a job as the host of a weekly TV show on the Middle East Broadcasting Company (MBC), owned by Azziz and his uncle, Waleed al Ibrahim.

    These are the beliefs of Wahhabis, members of a militant, violent, ultra-conservative sect, set to colonize the world - a goal which, in their eyes, justifies any type of atrocity. Today, the United States is no longer safe; Wahhabi terrorists have destroyed its defences. The illusion that America can keep political violence from penetrating its borders has evaporated. So has the notion that Washington can manipulate Islamist armed groups to its own advantage. What remains is America’s fear of energy deficiency, the result of its addiction to oil and the fear of Iran. For how long, in the service of these phobias, will Washington carry on sleeping with the enemy?
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  9. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

    Oct 2, 2009
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  10. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    Hawalas trouble US anti-terror probes

    NEW YORK: Long before there was MoneyGram and Western Union, people in South Asian countries often used an informal network of brokers, called a ''hawala,'' to transfer money over long distances when it was too inconvenient or dangerous to send cash by courier.

    Today, the centuries-old system still exists and is used to move billions of dollars annually in and out of countries like Pakistan, Afghanistan and Somalia — often to the chagrin of US law enforcement.

    A federal law enforcement official told The Associated Press that terror suspect Faisal Shahzad is believed to have tapped into such a network to help fund a plot to detonate a car bomb in Times Square on May 1. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing.

    Authorities say three Pakistani men — two in the Boston area and one in Maine — supplied funds to Shahzad, but may not have known how the money would be spent. The three have been arrested on immigration violations.

    In Manhattan, authorities have accused Mahmoud Reza Banki, on trial in federal court for allegedly violating the US trade embargo against Iran, of using a hawala to move more than $3 million illegally to Iran.

    While most money transfers made through these hawaladars, or brokers, are benign, the system is also routinely used by drug smugglers, terrorists and other criminals who want to move money without leaving a paper trail.

    ''Hawalas are not themselves nefarious,'' said Matthew Levitt, a former US Treasury intelligence official, now a senior fellow at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

    ''If you live in Somalia or Yemen, or someplace in Pakistan where there is no bank, this is a simple way to send money.''

    But because the dealers operate informally, outside of regulation, they are also a hindrance to law enforcement agents trying to investigate the flow of illicit dollars across international borders.

    ''You are able to send money quickly and effectively under the radar without going through the formal banking system,'' Levitt said.

    The networks operate like this: A person who wishes to send cash abroad visits a broker, who takes the money plus a fee of around five per cent. The broker then contacts a counterpart in the country where the money is going and relays instructions on how much is being sent and to whom. Within a day or two, the recipient gets a cash delivery, typically in local currency.

    Usually, the two brokers don't need to actually exchange any money. Instead, they essentially work off of IOUs. Each one makes the needed payments out of his own pocket, then carries the other broker's debt until someone needs to move cash in the other direction.

    Occasionally, the two brokers will need to balance their books by making an actual cash transfer, if more money is needed one way than the other.

    For a US immigrant of modest means, the system has great advantages. You don't need to have a bank account. There are no forms to fill out. It is faster and cheaper than using an official money transfer service.

    Plus, the whole system is built on trust. In the US, the brokers are often small businessmen who see themselves as performing a public service for their countrymen.

    For these reasons, US authorities have had a difficult time shutting the networks down.

    Operating an unlicensed money remitter in the US is a crime, but the State Department reports that only a fraction of the businesses performing such services have registered as required.

    Even a handful of high-profile prosecutions after the September 11 attacks have failed to eradicate the system here, despite tough penalties for those who have broken the law.

    In one New York case, the Yemeni-born owner of a Brooklyn ice cream shop was sentenced to 15 years in prison for transferring nearly $22 million overseas. One of his customers was Sheik Mohammed Ali Hassan al-Moayad, a Yemeni cleric convicted of conspiring to aid al-Qaeda.
  11. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

    Oct 2, 2009
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    Al Qaeda’s Finances


    Forbes reports that US success in disrupting al Qaeda’s financing has forced the organization to decentralize and caused it to turn to kidnapping and the drug trade to finance its terrorist activities. Al Qaeda’s Indian subcontinent affiliate Lashkar-e-Taiba is still proving very effective at fund raising and delivery, and the US has yet to secure strong cooperation in suppressing contributions to jihadism in Kuwait and other Gulf states.

    Al Qaeda is much less of a top-down organization than it once was, when it called the shots and funded terrorist operations from Afghanistan. Then, it told operatives to focus on assignments and not to worry about how to subsidize them. Today it’s a much looser organization of affiliates—more of a McDonald’s, if you will, than a General Motors. Its decentralized partners and cells around the world pick their own targets, concoct their own strategies and raise their own funds. They may draw inspiration from al Qaeda headquarters somewhere in the Chitral region of northwest Pakistan, even kick back money to the leadership. But, like franchisees, they are largely on their own.
    The change, U.S. officials like Cohen say, is a direct result of the pressures the U.S. government has placed on terrorist money men. That has forced al Qaeda to go underground. While it still relies on individual donations from the Persian Gulf region, these contributions now move outside the formal financial system, through cash couriers and informal money transfer shops known as hawalas. In addition, the network seems to be turning to organized crimes like kidnapping and drug running. The shipment of cocaine from Latin America to Europe is a source of funding.

    Fundraising efforts have also embraced new technologies—like the bit of telemarketing by Ayman al Zawahiri, al Qaeda’s second-in-command, who solicited donations through cell phone recordings that were distributed in 2008. Last June Abu al Yazid, a former al Qaeda money man who now runs its Afghan operations, made his pitch on a Web site controlled by al Qaeda leaders: “If a holy fighter does not have the money to get weapons, food, drink and the materials for jihad, he cannot fight jihad.” The Internet, of course, is a terrorist’s best friend when it comes to recruiting. Not that they’ve given up on old-school methods like extortion. “A broader trend that shows their financial troubles is they are shaking down recruits for money,” says Michael Jacobson, a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, who specializes in terror financing. A handful of people, arrested in 2008 by French and Belgian authorities, had traveled to Pakistan for al Qaeda training—and were forced to cough up euros for courses, a room and weapons.

    Clearly the money hasn’t stopped; it is coming in smaller dollops via other channels. ...

    With al Qaeda’s home office no longer able to subsidize operations, affiliates and cells have turned more frequently to crime. On what scale? No one knows. Still, law enforcement is taking the issue very seriously. In January the U.S. Attorney in Manhattan merged its narcotics and terrorism units. A few weeks earlier the Drug Enforcement Administration pulled off a sting operation in Ghana, snatching three men—Oumar Issa, Harouna Touré and Idriss Abdelrahman—and shipping them to New York City to face charges of narco-terror conspiracy and providing material support to al Qaeda.

    According to the DEA the three men were connected to al Qaeda’s most hardened criminal element, its North African affiliate. Known as al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, the group appears to be involved in the trafficking of Latin American cocaine through Africa to Spain. The indictment accuses the men of agreeing to transport a series of 1,000-kilogram loads of cocaine for $2,000 a kilogram—a portion of which was to be turned over to Islamic Maghreb in return for protection along the route. The court filings claim that Islamic Maghreb had worked with Touré to move two tons of hashish to Tunisia and also smuggled human beings—undocumented workers, it seems—from Bangladesh, Pakistan and India into Spain.

    The criminal filings also indicate that al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb had recently nabbed Belgian citizens and collected a big ransom. Richard Barrett, who keeps an eye on al Qaeda for the U.N., says kidnapping has been the biggest moneymaker for Islamic Maghreb. “Hostage taking has proved lucrative for them,” he says, adding the group is currently holding seven foreigners and ransomed others for $3 million each. “You can keep going for a long time down there with that kind of money.”

    While kidnapping is probably as old as warfare, its latest incarnation owes much to al Qaeda in Iraq, a now largely defanged affiliate. It made piles of cash grabbing foreigners a few years ago and supplemented that income with extortion rackets and black market oil sales. The group became so rich that its leader at one point got a letter from al Qaeda’s number two, Zawahiri, requesting a substantial sum. ...

    Officials across the U.S. government insist they have no proof that al Qaeda’s leadership is involved in the drug trade. But Michael Braun, chief of operations at the DEA until 2008, says they are in denial. “There is more clear evidence showing al Qaeda’s growing involvement in the Afghan heroin trade on the Pakistan side of the border—al Qaeda proper,” says Braun, now a managing partner at Spectre Group International, a security firm in Alexandria, Va. “There are growing numbers of investigative leads headed in that direction.”

    Al Qaeda’s association with big-time criminal groups is undeniable. Dawood Ibrahim is one of the world’s most infamous gangsters, operating a 5,000-member criminal syndicate that engages in everything from narcotics to contract killing, working mostly in Pakistan, India and the United Arab Emirates. Ibrahim shares smuggling routes with al Qaeda, says the U.S. government, and has collaborated with both al Qaeda and its South Asian affiliate, Lashkar-e-Taiba, which pulled off the November 2008 Mumbai attacks, possibly with Ibrahim’s help.

    The $3.4 billion Afghan heroin trade is a critical source for the well-financed Taliban, which has also developed a rich donor network. The Taliban encourages and taxes poppy farmers and collects transit and protection fees related to the drug trade. How does al Qaeda benefit? At the very least the drug trade helps the Taliban create safe havens for al Qaeda fighters.

    Some counterterror officials see an opportunity in the convergence of crime and terrorism. They point out that police in most countries are mobilized to tackle the drug trade, making it more likely that a terrorist who also runs narcotics will get caught by the cops. But the flip side is that crime, particularly the rich drug trade, could help sustain terror groups for years. ...

    Yemen is an epicenter of what is brewing. The affiliate there, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, claimed responsibility for the botched Christmas Day plane attack. Not particularly well financed, according to a U.S. official, the group is resorting to crime. Some al Qaeda members there reportedly tried their hand at bank robberies and considered going into the kidnapping business. For now its chief source of funds is cash contributions from donors in Yemen and the Arabian Gulf. Couriers are still able to move easily in much of the area—in one example last September agents carrying tens of thousands of dollars for al Qaeda were stopped in Kuwait, says the U.N.’s Barrett.

    Yet, to the dismay of the U.S., Kuwait has done little to crack down on such donations, even resisting basic terror finance laws. In 2008 the U.S. highlighted the role the Revival of Islamic Heritage Society, a prominent Kuwaiti charity, played in funding al Qaeda’s network. The group has denied any terror ties and continues to operate. Couriers carry as much as $100,000 per trip between Afghanistan and the Gulf, the funds coming from legitimate commerce as well as from heroin trafficking. Hawalas also rely on couriers to settle up paper transactions with fellow money transmitters. It is easy for al Qaeda or Taliban donations to get mixed in. “The difficulty is trying to identify the part of that which is illicit,” says Treasury’s Cohen. ...

    Al Qaeda has reaped direct benefits from Lashkar’s ability to raise and move funds. As recently as 2008 Fazeel-A-Tul Ameen al Peshawari, a Lashkar fundraiser and recruiter, was providing financial aid to al Qaeda, says the U.S. government. Arif Qasmani, a chief Lashkar coordinator who has raised funds from crime boss Ibrahim, has been providing al Qaeda with supplies and weapons. In return al Qaeda loaned to Lashkar operatives who helped carry out the 2006 train bombings in Mumbai. Raising funds was so easy for Lashkar that in 2004 its finance chief, Haji Ashraf, traveled to the Middle East to collect donations and manage financial networks in Saudi Arabia.

    But Ashraf probably isn’t collecting as many frequent-flier miles these days. The Saudi government finally cracked down on terrorist financiers after it became alarmed by homegrown insurgents and those arising next door in Iraq. In 2007 the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia urged citizens not to finance terrorism and to be mindful of how their charitable contributions were being distributed. A 130-man Saudi financial investigative unit has been set up, and 96 suspected terrorist financiers have been arrested. Getting Saudi officials on board is a big victory. But the kingdom’s charities are another matter. “There continues to exist a pool of donors who are ready, willing and able to contribute to al Qaeda,” says Treasury’s Cohen. “We have at least temporarily disrupted some” of them.

    Forbes video on Al-Qaeda finances​
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  12. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

    Oct 2, 2009
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    USA & Saudi Finance terror groups linked with Al-Qaeda in Lebanon

  13. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

    Oct 2, 2009
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    LeT's Gulf arm funded 26/11, Bangalore blasts?

    NEW DELHI: Early this week, home minister P Chidambaram suggested that India needed to redefine cross-border terrorism since it was not just from Pakistan but "extends beyond to the Middle East". Officials in the security establishment said the home minister's reference to Middle East wasn't just an off-the-cuff remark but a reflection of recent realization about the sprawling operations of Lashkar-e-Taiba and its sympathizers in the Gulf region.

    Terror operatives in the Gulf have had a far more significant role in orchestrating several of the recent terror attacks than what was known until recently, sources in the security establishment said. They funded the serial blasts in Bangalore in 2008 and assisted the escape of its mastermind Tadiyantavide Naseer to Bangladesh, and probably had a significant role in the 26/11 attacks. More noticeably, most of the intercepts of terror communications in recent times too show intricate links to the Gulf region.

    Extensive details of LeT activities in Gulf region have been emerging during the interrogation of Sarfaraz Nawaz, a Keralite who played a crucial role in the serial blasts in Bangalore on July 25, 2008. Nawaz was a key link between LeT's Gulf leadership and its sympathizers in south India. Omani authorities handed over Nawaz to Indian agencies a few months ago. He arranged funds for the Bangalore blasts and helped Naseer, who executed the serial blasts, escape to Bangladesh, where he was later arrested and brought back to India.

    Investigators believe, based on Nawaz's interrogation and fresh inputs received from Gulf contacts, that LeT has been using the Gulf region as a major logistics centre for recruitment, financing and movement of Indians to Pakistan. The terrorist group is also running several businesses in the region, through which it is able to move money and provide visas to its cadres.

    A Pakistani, Wali alias Rehan, may be running the entire LeT operations in the Gulf region, according to investigators. He is being assisted by several others including some local people such as Omani citizen Abdul Aziz Al Hooti, who procured some of the SIM cards for the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai. Al Hooti is now in the custody of authorities in Oman, for planning to carry out local terror attacks. In Qatar, LeT operations are looked after by Abu Farris, whose main work is to attract Indian expatriates to jihad.

    The LeT network in the Gulf has managed to recruit several dozen Indian Muslim youngsters for training in Pakistan, many of whom have come back to India to carry out strikes. Many of these men are former SIMI members who had moved to extremist views over the past two decades. Their role in assisting LeT was increasingly becoming clear, said one of the officials working on the region. These former SIMI cadres are also involved in assisting political movements such as the NDF (National Development Front) and PDP (People's Democratic Party), both based in Kerala, find funding and support.

    Nawaz, the Bangalore blast accused, has also provided fresh details on several former SIMI leaders. Of all of them, investigators are most curious about C A M Basheer, a charismatic SIMI leader whose name has cropped up in several terror investigations across south-western India.

    Many investigators believe Basheer was among the first non-Kashmiri Indians, if not the very first, to travel to Pakistan for terrorist training in an LeT camp. Intelligence agencies had tracked Basheer to Singapore and Saudi Arabia in the past, but they could never really get an idea of his activities. Investigators are convinced that Basheer is a crucial link to several terror acts in India. According to Nawaz, Basheer too is now based in the Gulf and may have partially funded the Bangalore blasts.

    In recent times, LeT cadres in the Middle East have been trying to organize attacks against local regimes, which have for long shut their eyes to the activities of the Pakistani terror group. These over-ambitious LeT efforts have been a blessing in disguise for Indian agencies, said a senior official. "Their (the Gulf governments') cooperation has significantly gone up," he said of the fallout of recent LeT meddling in local affairs.

    A source said agencies had credible inputs to show that LeT was involved in training at least one of the tribal resistances in Yemen. The training for the armed resistance there is provided by, among others, some youth from Maldives and Pakistan, investigators believe.
  14. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

    Oct 2, 2009
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    A Timeline of Events Surrounding the Radical Right's Attempt to Subvert American Democracy

    Compiled by Black Max

    1996 CIA Report on NGOs With Terror Links

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    International Islamic charities have established a presence in nearly every country around the world that has a substantial Muslim population. For both traditional and more activist Muslims, aiding Muslims in distress is a religious duty. Islamic activists dominate the leadership of the largest charities, and prominent members of some smaller organizations have been identified as extremists. The main objectives of these organizations include proselytizing, helping the needy, and defending Muslim communities from enemies. Where Muslims are engaged in armed conflict, some Islamic organizations provide military aid as part of a "humanitarian" package.
    The main Islamic charities maintain headquarters and raise money in a few regional centers, the most important being in the Arabian Peninsula and Sudan. Smaller organizations -- important because of their support to extremist groups -- often have headquarters in Europe and offices in North America. Private donors retain a major influence on each group's policies.
    Governments in the Islamic world generally support the major charities' religious activities and finance them, but are unable to monitor the groups or control how they use their money. These governments rely on the NGOs to collect and distribute much of the humanitarian aid given to refugees and displaced persons. Leaders of countries where Islamic NGOs are based or operate are unlikely to take major steps to stop the organizations' activities unless they believe that these groups threaten their own stability or are damaging important bilateral or multilateral relationships.
    All of the major and most of the minor Islamic charities are significant players in the former Yugoslavia, particularly in aiding Bosnian Muslims. Their contributions represent a significant proportion of humanitarian aid in Bosnia. According to the US embassy in Riyadh, Saudi nationals alone gave $150 million through Islamic NGOs for aid to Bosnia in 1994. Most of the offices of NGOs active in Bosnia are located in Zagreb, Sarajevo, Zenica, and Tuzla. Their field operations appear to be confined to the Muslim areas of Northeastern and Central Bosnia.
    -- The NGOs' charitable activities include delivery of food, clothing, and medicine; support to orphanages, schools, hospitals, and refugee camps; and housing construction, infrastructure support, and agricultural projects.
    -- Many of these organizations also support foreign mujahedin fighters in Bosnia. Coordination councils based in Zagreb and Sarajevo, coordinate the activities of the most important organizations. These councils may function like a similar one established in Peshawar, Pakistan, which organizes arms shipments and aid to military training camps, and provides humanitarian aid to refugees, according to a clandestine source.
    A growing body of reporting indicates that some of these charities are being used to aid Islamic extremist groups that engage in terrorism. We have information that nearly one third of the Islamic NGOs in the Balkans have facilitated the activities of Islamic groups that engage in terrorism, including the Egyptian Al-Gama'at Al-Islamiyya, Palestinian Hamas, Algerian Groups, and Lebanese Hizballah. Some of the terrorist groups, such as Al-Gama'at, have access to credentials for the UN High Commission for Refugees and other UN staff in the former Yugoslavia.
    Efforts by governments to counter terrorist groups' use of NGOs are complicated by domestic and international political concerns, legal constraints, and the size and flexibility of the international extremist network. Domestic Islamic organizations -- and sometimes foreign governments -- have accused host governments of attacking legitimate Islamic institutions and intentionally hampering relief efforts. Although some governments have proved willing to act when their own interests were at stake and when legal grounds existed for targeting individual NGO employees or even NGO branch offices, only some measures have proved effective and all have drawbacks. Four approaches have been used:
    CLOSED NGO OFFICES: Several countries -- including Italy, Austria, Albania, Croatia, Macedonia, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia -- have closed the offices of NGOs whose members supported opposition groups, otherwise attacked the government, or conducted certain illegal activities such as arms smuggling. In each case, some employees of the targeted offices escaped and joined other NGOs, usually in neighboring countries, where they continued their activities. In some cases, the offices reopened later at new addresses.
    CONTROL FINANCES: Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates have taken steps in the past two years to control the flow of money to extremists. They have passed laws mandating that major donations go only to government approved charities or a central collecting agency, and they have removed street-corner charity boxes placed by some NGOs:
    Central collecting agencies have increased their resources and power, but we have no evidence that these efforts have proved effective in curbing the activities of NGOs. Most measures are one-time-only acts with little follow-up, and oversight of field operations has not increased.
    Donations from citizen's overseas accounts undoubtedly continue, and smaller NGOs may be backed by powerful interest groups.
    Most governments have little or no authority over NGOs based on their territory.
    CONTROL STAFFING: Governments have sometimes exerted greater control over personnel in semiofficial NGOs, particularly when pressured by foreign governments. For example, Saudi Arabia fired the head of the Peshawar, Pakistan branch of the Muslim World League, who was illicitly supplying League documentation and arms to militants in Afghanistan and Tajikistan, after coming under pressure to do so from Egypt, Algeria, and other states. We continue to have evidence that even high ranking members of the collecting or monitoring agencies in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Pakistan -- such as the Saudi High Commission - - are involved in illicit activities, including support for terrorists.
    ARREST INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS: Some countries have continued to allow suspect NGOs to operate while arresting individual members for terrorism or other illegal acts. This tactic, when applied consistently, appears to be the most successful in halting illegal activities within NGOs. For example, police in the Philippines have been investigating people and organizations, including NGOs, involved in plots against Western airliners, ambassadors, the Pope, and Philippine officials since January 1995. These investigations have led to periodic arrests and appear to have prevented some NGOs, including the International Islamic Relief Organization, from continuing to be used as cover for illicit activities. The Philippine government has escaped condemnation for its efforts by all but extremist Islamic groups and appears to have foiled, to date, any attempts by those groups to exact revenge.
    Other countries have faced retribution from extremist Islamic groups for the arrest of their members, however. For example, Egyptian Islamic extremist groups conducted terrorist attacks in both Croatia and Pakistan this year because those governments arrested known terrorists operating withing NGOs. In both cases, the governments claim that the attacks were perpetrated with the help of extremists operating in different NGOs.
    The following 15 organizations employ members or otherwise facilitate the activities of terrorist groups operating in Bosnia. Many of the organizations belong to Coordination Councils. Some Islamic NGOs, not included in this list, have terrorist connections outside of the Balkans.
    - - Arabic name: Mu'assasat al-Haramayn al-Khayriyya
    - - AKA: The Charitable Establishment of the Two Holy Mosques.
    - - Offices: Zagreb, Rijeka, Osijek, and Belikoj Gorici, Albania (has had offices in Macedonia, Sudan, and Somalia)
    - - Extremist Connections: Al-Gama'at Al-Islamiyya
    - - Support for Extremist/Terrorist Activities: Al-Haramayn helps fund and support the Mujahedin battalion in Zenica, according to a foreign government service. The Zagreb office has been raided often by Croatian security for smuggling activities. In Macedonia, press reports have accused the organization of illegal funding through drugs and prostitution.
    - - Links to other NGOs: No information.
    - - Arabic Name: Hay'at Al-A'mal Al-Khayriyya.
    - - AKA: Charitable Works Organization/Committee, Charity Organization (original name).
    - - Offices: Zagreb and Tuzla. Headquartered in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Other offices in Sidon, Khartoum, Nouakchott, Mauritania, and also in Denmark, Turkey, and the United Kingdom.
    - - Extremist connections: Hamas
    - - Support to Extremist/Terrorist Activities: Among other activities, this organization probably acts as a fund-raiser for Hamas, according to a foreign government service.
    - - Links to Other NGOs: Coordination Council, Human Relief International (HRI), Muwafaq, Qatar Charitable Society.
    - - Offices: Zagreb. Headquartered in Ottawa, Canada with other offices in Pakistan, Lebanon, and Sweden.
    - - Extremist Connections: Al-Gama'at Al-Islamiyya, Algerian Groups
    - - Support to Extremist/Terrorist Activity: Two foreign government services report that HCI provides support to the Algerian Armed Islamic Group and has contacts with Al-Gama'at. According to one service, the office in Sweden may smuggle weapons to Bosnia. Pakistani press reports that the head of the office in Pakistan was arrested recently for his suspected role in the November 1995 bombing of the Egyptian embassy in Islamabad. Other press reports say that the entire Peshawar office is made up of Gama'at members.
    - - Links to other NGOs: no information
    - - AKA: Human Relief Agency (HRA), a subsidiary if HRI
    - - Offices: Zagreb, Tuzla, Kosovo, Dobrinja, and probably Lukavac, Zivinice, Kiseljak, and London. Subordinate to the Egyptian Doctor's Union, which is dominated by members of the Muslim Brotherhood. A foreign government service reports that the organization has split into two groups, HRI and HRA.
    - - Extremist Connections: Possibly Hamas, Algerian Militants, Al-Gama'at Al-Islamiyya.
    - - Support to Extremist/Terrorist Activity: In 1993 Muhammad Sa'd Darwish Al-Shazy, a HRI employee and member of a radical Islamic extremist group, possibly Hamas, used the HRA's Zagreb office and a mosque to promote ideas for terrorist acts, according to the service. The reporting claims that Al-Shazy's group was considering committing anti-Jewish bombings there, and included the heads of the Zagreb offices of the Saudi High Commission and the Kuwaiti Joint Relief Committee, the head of HRI's Vienna office, and members of the Saudi-based International Islamic Relief Organization and the privately-run Qatar Charitable Society. At a December 1993 meeting in the HRA office in Zagreb, according to the same source, some of the group discussed plans to assassinate a former Algerian Prime Minister and PLO Chief Yasir Arafat, and to conduct bombings to support the "brother Algerians" in Croatia. HRA's office in Albania was staffed by Gama'at members, including the late Anwar Shaban, killed by Croatian security forces in December, who were involved in the 1993 surveillance of the US embassy in Tirana. The office was closed in April 1995 due to pressure from Albanian authorities.
    - - Links to Other NGOs: Coordination Council, International Islamic Relief Organization, Qatar Charitable Society, Kuwaiti Joint Relief Committee, Saudi High Commission
    - - AKA: International Humanitarian Relief Organization
    - - Offices: Zagreb and Sarajevo. Headquarters in Germany, established by a member of the Turkish Refah Party
    - - Extremist connections: Iran Algerian Groups
    - - Support to Extremist/Terrorist Activity: The Sarajevo office director has been linked to Iranian operatives
    - - Links to Other NGOs: No information.
    - - Arabic Name: Hay'at Al-Ighatha al-Islamiyya Al-'Alamiyya
    - - AKA: Ighatha or Igasa
    - - Offices: Zagreb, Sarajevo, Split, Ljubljana, and Tuzla; Also in Vienna, Austria. Operates in Celic, Gracanica, Zivinice, Srebrenik, Banovici, Kalesija, and Teocak. Headquarters in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia. The IIRO is affiliated with the Muslim World League (MWL), a major international organization largely financed by the government of Saudi Arabia. Last year, the head of the MWL, who is appointed by King Fahd, was also chairman of the Board of Trustees of the IIRO, according to IIRO literature. The IIRO has offices in over 90 countries.
    - - Extremist connections: Hamas, Algerians, Al-Gama'at Al-Islamiyya. Ramzi Ahmed Yousef, who is awaiting trial in New York for his suspected involvement in the World Trade Center bombing [in 1993]. Usama Bin Ladin, a wealthy Saudi-born businessman currently residing in Sudan who supports various Islamic extremist groups.
    - - Support to Extremist/Terrorist Activity: The regional financial accountant for the IIRO, an Egyptian named Hossam Meawad Mohammad Ali, was detained by Croatian authorities in a raid in Zagreb in April 1995 and has relocated to Ljubljana, according to a foreign government service. The Macedonian government closed the IIRO office in Skopje in March 1995 for aiding Albanian ethnic political parties and the Albanian Islamic Youth organization. The former head of the IIRO office in the Philippines, Mohammad Jamal Khalifa, has been linked to Manila-based plots to target the Pope and US airlines; his brother-in-law is Usama Bin Ladin. Another high-ranking official in the Philippines leads Hamas meetings, and the majority of Hamas members in the Philippines are employed by the organization. The IIRO helps fund six militant training camps in Afghanistan, according to a clandestine source.
    - - Links to Other NGOs: Coordination Council, HRA, Third World Relief Agency, Qatar Charitable Society, KJRC, Saudi High Commission
    - - AKA: IARA, YARA, African Islamic Relief Agency
    - - Offices: Sarajevo, Zagreb, Tirana, Tuzla, Kalesija, and unspecified cities in Germany. Operates in Kalesija, Banovici, Doboj East, and Zvornik. Based in Khartoum, Sudan. Offices in 30 countries worldwide.
    - - Extremist connections: Sudan
    - - Support to Extremist/Terrorist Activity: The ISRA office in Zagreb provides weapons to the Bosnian military, according to a clandestine source. The source claimed the office was controlled by officials of Sudan's ruling party, the National Islamic Front.
    - - Links to Other NGOs: Third World Relief Agency
    - - AKA: General Committee For Refugee Assistance
    - - Offices: Zagreb, Sarajevo, and Ljubljana. KJRC is the official Kuwaiti government organization which distributes funds to other NGOs.
    - - Extremist connections: Possibly Hamas, Algerians, Al-Gama'at Al-Islamiyya
    - - Support to Extremist/Terrorist Activity: The Zagreb office director, Professor Shaikh Abu Adil Uthman Al-Hayder, was described by an associate as a "powerful Hamas and Muslim Brotherhood member," according to a foreign government service, and members of his office were involved in meetings involving several extremist groups held at the Human Relief Agency Office in Zagreb in 1993 (See HRI for further details).
    - - Links to Other NGOs: HRI (HRA), IIRO, Qatar Charitable Society, Saudi High Commission
    - - AKA: Islamic Charity Committee; Probably a subsidiary of the Saudi-based Muslim World League.
    - - Offices: Zagreb and Zenica. Headquarters in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia.
    - - Extremist connections: Afghan veterans.
    - - Support to Extremist/Terrorist Activity: One Zagreb employee, identified as Syrian-born US citizen Abu Mahmud, was in Pakistan at an unspecified time, according to a foreign government service. He matches the description, provided by a clandestine source, of a man who was allegedly involved in the kidnapping of six Westerners in Kashmir in July 1995, and who left Pakistan in early October for Bosnia via the United States. The source said that he worked at various times for LBI, Maktab Al-Khidmat, and Benevolence Foundation International in Pakistan. Lajnat Al-Birr has provided support to a commander of at least one training camp in Afghanistan, according to a clandestine source.
    - - Links to Other NGOs: IIRO, possibly Maktab Al-Khidamat. Probably a subsidiary of the Saudi-based Muslim World League.
    - - AKA: Human Services Organization/Office (HSO), Al-Kifah
    - - Offices: Zagreb and Sarajevo. Headquarters in Peshawar, Pakistan.
    - - Extremist connections: Algerian groups, Afghan Veterans, Ramzi Yousef, Usama Bin Ladin, and possibly Hizballah, and Al-Gama'at Al-Islamiyya
    - - Support to Extremist/Terrorist Activities: According to a foreign government service, the former director of the Zagreb office of HSO and his deputy were both senior members of Algerian extremist groups; French police arrested the deputy for weapons smuggling in France in July 1994, according to a French law enforcement official. Another foreign government service reported that an Algerian national affiliated with HSO and a senior commander of the mujahedin, also Algerian, were preparing for an unspecified terrorist attack in Europe if Shaykh Umar Abd Al-Rahman, then on trial in New York for complicity in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, were convicted. The Shaykh was convicted in October 1995 of conspiracy to commit terrorist acts in the United States. He was sentenced to life in prison without parole on 17 January 1996. In April 1995, the Croatian service detained an Algerian employee of the HSO who had in his possession passports of Arab individuals in Bosnia, including an employee of the Third World Relief Agency, according to the second service. The press has reported that some employees of MAK's New York branch were involved in the World Trade Center bombing [in 1993]. The Peshawar office funds at least nine training camps in Afghanistan, according to clandestine sources.
    - - Links to Other NGOs: TWRA, IIRO. MAK is suspected of having links to the Muslim World League.
    - - Arabic Name: Al-Muwafaq
    - - AKA: Muwafaq, Muwafaq Foundation, and Muwafaq Al-Khayriyya Benevolent Foundation.
    - - Offices: Zagreb, Sarajevo, Split, Zenica, Dobrinja, Tirana, Konjic, and Tuzla. Plans to establish offices in Kakanj, Visoko, Vitez, Travnik, Bugojno, Majlaj, Mostar, Jablanica, and Pazaric. Also operates in Tarcin and Sipovo and has other Bosnia-related offices in Siegen, Germany, and Vienna, Austria. Registered in Jersey, United Kingdom, but based in Khartoum, Sudan.
    - - Extremist connections: Al-Gama'at Al-Islamiyya
    - - Support to Extremist/Terrorist Activity: This organization helps fund the Egyptian Mujahedin Battalion in Bosnia, according to a foreign government service, and it also funds at least one training camp in Afghanistan.
    - - Links to Other NGOs: No information
    - - AKA: Qatar Committee to Sponsor Orphans
    - - Offices: Zagreb, Sarajevo, Mostar, Tuzla, Zenica, and Split. Also operates in Kalesija, Kladanj, Zivinice, and Lukavac. Based in Doha, Qatar, and funded by private businessmen.
    - - Extremist connections: Possibly Hamas, Algerians.
    - - Support to Extremist/Terrorist Activity: An individual identified by the service as a Hamas official is listed as a staff member in both Qatar and the Human Relief Agency (see HRI), where a Hamas leader and Algerians met in 1993 to discuss terrorist operations, according to a foreign government service.
    - - Links to Other NGOs: HRI, IIRO, KJRC, Saudi High Commission, Human Appeal International, Coordination Council.
    - - Arabic Name: Helal Ahmar
    - - AKA: Iranian Red Crescent Society, Iranian Humanitarian Aid Organization.
    - - Offices: Sarajevo, Split, Tuzla, and Zenica
    - - Extremist connections: Iran
    - - Support to Extremist/Terrorist Activity: Often used by the Iranian Mois as cover for intelligence officers, agents, and arms shipments.
    - - Links to Other NGOs: Merhamet (Croatia)
    The official Saudi government organization for collecting and disbursing humanitarian aid.
    - - Offices: Zagreb, Sarajevo, and Tuzla. Operates in Zenica, Mostar, and Split.
    - - Extremist connections: Hamas, Algerians
    - - Support to Extremist/Terrorist Activity: (See Human Relief International for details on connections of individual members to possibly Hamas and Algerian militants.) The offices are staffed by Saudis, Syrians, Algerians, Moroccans, and Jordanians, according to a foreign government service.
    - - Links to Other NGOs: HRI, IIRO, KJRC, Qatar Charitable Society.
    - - Offices: Zagreb, Tuzla, Sarajevo, Split, Istanbul, and unspecified cities in Germany and Switzerland. Headquartered in Sudan, office in Turkey
    - - Extremist connections: Al-Gama'at Al-Islamiyya
    - - Support to Extremist/Terrorist Activity: An employee of TWRA alleged to be a member of Gama'at carried out a suicide car bombing of a Croatian police facility in Rijeka in Mid-October, in retaliation for the Croatians' arrest of a senior Gama'at member, according to a foreign government service. The bombing was overseen by Anwar Shaban, former leader of the mujahedin in Zenica, who was killed in December 1995 by Croatian security forces. He and other mujahidin leaders had begun planning to attack NATO forces which would be sent to Bosnia, according to a foreign government service. A confidential contact reports that the regional director of the organization, Dr. Muhammad Fatih Hasanayn, is the most influential NGO official in Bosnia. He is a major arms supplier to the government, according to clandestine and press reporting, and was forced to relocate his office from Zagreb in 1994 after his weapons smuggling operations were exposed. According to a foreign government service, Hasanayn supports US Muslim extremists in Bosnia. (One NGO in Bosnia that includes extremist US Muslims is Taibah International, which has offices in Zagreb, Split, and Sarajevo.) In August 1995, Hasanayn sent his brother to Italy to assess the Gama'at network there after the raids by Italian police, according to a foreign government service. Hasanayn intended to resume funding Al-Gama'at and other extremists in Milan and Rome when the network was rebuilt.
    - - Links to Other NGOs: MAK, ISRA, MWL
    - - Arabic: Lajnat Al-'alam Al-Islami
    - - Is a subcommittee of the Social Reform Society, which is a legally-registered charity in Kuwait, run by members of the Muslim Brotherhood (also legal in Kuwait). According to information the group provided to the US embassy in Kuwait, the IWC contributed $2,427, 235 in aid to Muslims in the Balkans in 1994. Established in 1982, as of late 1995 it had offices in Sarajevo, Tuzla, and Zagreb as well as in Albania, Bulgaria, and Austria. The Committee's area of responsibility also includes South and Southeast Asia. The IWC president is 'Abd Al' Aziz Al-Jiran. We have very little information on the IWC's activities, but it probably supported Arab Mujahidin in Bosnia at least before the Dayton Agreement. Overtly, the IWC sponsors educational and medical aid and proselytizes an reformist version of Islam based on Muslim Brotherhood principles. US military reporting has linked a member of the organization with a former mujahidin camp in Maglaj, and sources in other regions of the world have linked a few employees of the IWC with Arab extremist groups, although we have no evidence that the Kuwait-based leadership has been aware of these links. Another subcommittee of the Social Reform Society appears to have been substantially involved in supporting Arab Mujahidin in Afghanistan. We have no evidence of direct or continuing ties between the IWC or its parent organization and Iran.
  15. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

    Oct 2, 2009
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    IHH German site which names Al-Khidmat, Pakistan as their partner

    Now Al-Khidmat is a wing of the Jammat-e-Islami. The website of Al-Khidmat "Azad Kashmir" lists the brutalities of Indian forces in Kashmir .

    And then there is this paper

    Terrorism in Bangladesh: The Region and Beyond By Chris Blackburn[tt_news]=4926&tx_ttnews[backPid]=167&no_cache=1

    And further on
    Read more:
  16. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

    Oct 2, 2009
    Likes Received:
    some more background on IHH by B Raman

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