Guns and Gear

Weapons, Banking, Drugs And Slavery – Financing Terrorism Creatively

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By Mordechai Ben-Menachem

Tell me who your friends are and I know who you are.

Qatar, the world’s terror paymaster, has just been granted one of the largest arms deals in history – eleven billion dollars.  They have a population of two million, in total.  Who, pray tell, is about to use all this hardware?  If they draft every male between the ages of 18 to 30 they still have literally tons of hardware left over.  Believe me, they are not about to draft all those males who are too busy having fun.  No sane person has any doubt for whom this hardware is meant to serve – and they don’t live anywhere near Qatar, though they sport similar head-coverings.  Different colored flags – rather blacker.

In the early 1980’s George Bush Sr. begged the Israeli government to go into Lebanon and rid the US of the world’s largest source of opium growers and trade.  Israel did what he requested, and then the US government publicly condemned Israel for the Lebanon War – public diplomacy did not match reality on the ground.  Hafez Assad – the present monster’s daddy monster – believed in drugs for profit.  His son is not as bright and the business is not as successful.  Hezbollah took it over from him.

Today, two prime US allies, Qatar and Turkey, are among the primary supporters of world-wide terrorism and crime organisations.  Iran is the primary purveyor or terrorism; and also the world’s largest actor in world heroin and opiate trade while Iran’s partner and satrapy Hezbollah, is one of the world’s largest actors in the cocaine trade. 

Drugs are Iran’s second largest earner of foreign currency and, even better, the sanctions don’t bother with it so they get to use all that money for whatever they like.

Drug trade and weapons purveying go hand-in-glove around the world.

Qatar contributes funding to essentially all Islamic Jihad organisations: Al Qaeda, Al Shabab, Boko Haram, Hamas, Islamic State, Al Nusra, … the list goes on.

But many of these also have additional sources of funding which are no less important.

Hamas, we now know, gets a large portion of its funds from the United States government via the United Nations, through contributions to United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNWRA).

Al Qaeda’s primary source of funding is kidnapping of westerners.  In earlier times, Al Qaeda received most of it funding from wealthy donors – Bin Laden himself was quite wealthy, and he made a pile of money from shorting airplane stock before 9/11.  However, much of the donor money dried up when the US Treasury started making trouble for them with large transactions.  Today, international counterterrorism experts believe a significant portion of its finances come from ransoms paid to free Europeans.  Most European countries are frankly too stupid to comprehend the direct link between paying a ransom, and the next kidnapping.  Al Qaeda’s 2003 kidnap business brought in approximately $200,000 per hostage.  More ‘modern’ terrorists can obtain as much as $10 million for each detainee.  Al Qaeda’s central Pakistani command gets a large portion while the rest remains with the local franchisee.  It really is a great business!  “Kidnapping hostages is an easy spoil,” wrote Nasser al-Wuhayshi, the leader of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, “which I may describe as a profitable trade and a precious treasure.”

Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb: The same thing occurs with the Mali terror group.  France fights them and fully funds them, at the same time. “Kidnapping for ransom has become today’s most significant source of terrorist financing,” said David S. Cohen, the Treasury Department’s Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, in a 2012 speech.  “Each transaction encourages another transaction.”

Cohen gets it.  Al-Wuhayshi gets it.  Why don’t others?  Europe finances its own downfall but it is so much easier to blame Israel (for something; it doesn’t much matter what).

Islamic State (ISIS) has its primary source of funding from petroleum sales.  However, they have myriad additional sources.  They now sell several hundred slaves a month.  They take ‘taxes’ from their ‘residents’ (under the Sicilian Mafia – Casa Nostra – this used to be called a ‘protection racket’ but I am probably out-of-date in my terminology).

Boko Haram also sells many slaves.  By the way, most of these slaves (Boko Haram, IS and Taliban) are women sold to the sex trades but there are also many young boys sold to the same trade. There is a very brisk trade in young boys throughout Muslim lands, as always has been – jockeys, whores, eunuchs etc.

There are also men slaves, but there is not much of a market for them.  They are usually taken locally and used until they are simply used up, then discarded.  Some ten to twenty thousand people “disappear” on Hajj every year – nobody knows what happens to them.


Mordechai Ben-Menachem is a former researcher/lecturer at Ben-Gurion University and an author of 30 book ranging from engineering to poetry. He is also an ordained clergyman and a former soldier. He currently lives in Jerusalem.