What Drives Saudi Arabia to Persist in Terrorist Financing? Al-Jihad bi-al-Mal - Financial Jihad Against the Infidels

(Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs) Lt. Col. Jonathan D. Halevi - * The U.S. offensive against terrorism has succeeded in reducing the extent of global terrorism. However, under the surface, the financial channels that are the arteries of radical Islamic movements from Hamas to the Chechens continue to operate. U.S. pressure has managed to force Islamic financiers to alter their pattern of operations, but the substance of their support persists - in a financial jihad that backs the wider global jihad against the infidels. * Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states remain the most significant source of funds flowing to the Islamist movements. New documents found at "charitable foundations" linked to Hamas, as well as a careful examination of the Palestinian press, indicate a continuing flow of funds directly from official Saudi organizations to these foundations, which were declared by both Israel and the U.S. as terrorist organizations. * Palestinian Authority officials recently confirmed that Saudi Arabia continues to fund charitable foundations controlled by Hamas. The World Assembly for Muslim Youth (WAMY) and the International Islamic Relief Organization (IIRO) are active in transferring these funds. Captured documents show that the Saudi charity al-Haramain transferred funds to the al-Quran and a-Sunna Society in Qalqilia in August 2003 - almost two months after President George W. Bush announced in a summit meeting in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, that he had assurances from Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Abdullah and other Arab leaders that they would halt all financial assistance to terrorist organizations. * In a later captured document, dated 8 February 2004, the Hamas-linked Idhna foundation in the Hebron area thanked al-Haramain for its assistance. The chairman of the al-Haramain administrative council was the Saudi Minister of Islamic Affairs, a member of the Saudi cabinet. * The financial support funneled to Hamas charitable societies under the heading of "humanitarian aid to the needy" is part of a financial jihad, subsidizing the military operations of the terrorist group. The Hamas civilian infrastructure is comprised of economic, educational, and social institutions that serve the terrorist wing. Intelligence services should devote more attention and resources to uncovering how terrorist organizations avoid international control mechanisms by operating through "innocent" front groups. Western financial institutions must not allow the transfer of funds that nourish the global jihad.

2005-05-26 00:00:00

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