El emotivo grito de ‘No tenemos miedo’ se apropió de las Ramblas el día después de los atentados. Es un llamado contra el fanatismo que enlaza con la tradición plural y progresista de Barcelona, la ciudad europea que en febrero pidió masivamente a las autoridades que acogieran a refugiados sirios, se solidarizó con las víctimas del 11S y clamó contra la guerra de Irak. No hay salvaciones particulares. Barcelona lo sabe. Pero para escapar a la instauración del miedo y el odio no solo podemos marchar, debemos ser autocríticos.
A diferencia de los discursos integradores de las autoridades catalanas, ya el presidente Mariano Rajoy, al recalcar una y otra vez la unidad de los españoles, apeló a la brecha entre la identidad patriótica y lo foráneo.… Seguir leyendo »
The spat between Qatar and Saudi Arabia, which is accusing Qatar of supporting Islamist extremism and terrorism, remains perplexing. Perplexing not because Qatar is innocent — it has sponsored and hosted far too many jihadists for anyone to plausibly claim otherwise — but because it is the Saudis who are objecting to the funding of extremism. Qatar should be called out, but preferably by those who haven’t spent quite so much time and money advancing extremism themselves.
To be clear, it is not that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has been directly funding terrorist organizations, and certainly not in Western countries.… Seguir leyendo »
In July, after approval from the Obama administration, Congress released a 28-page chapter of previously classified material from the final report of a joint congressional inquiry into the Sept. 11 attacks. Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister, Adel al-Jubeir, said that the document had ruled out any Saudi involvement in the attack. “The matter is now finished,” he declared.
But it is not finished. Questions about whether the Saudi government assisted the terrorists remain unanswered. Now, as we approach the 15th anniversary of the most heinous attack on the United States since Pearl Harbor, it is time for our government to release more documents from other investigations into Sept.… Seguir leyendo »
Last Friday, the infamous “28 pages” from the 2002 Congressional Joint Inquiry into the 9/11 attacks were declassified. For years, this final section of the report was kept from the public, which led some to believe that it contained evidence that the Saudi Arabian government was behind the attacks, either indirectly by financing al Qaeda or directly by providing support to the actual terrorists on the planes. Now that the pages have been released, the truth is out, and in the words of the 9/11 Commission: “[there is] no evidence that the Saudi government as an institution or senior Saudi officials individually funded [al Qaeda].”
Still, some American pundits may continue to link Saudi Arabia and 9/11 in their minds, perhaps because 15 of the 19 terrorists came from the kingdom.… Seguir leyendo »
Qataris who seek greater freedom of expression and more democracy in their oil-rich nation face disappointment, and perhaps worse. In what may presage a wider crackdown on dissent in Qatar, Sheikh Fahad bin Abdullah al-Thani — a cousin of the ruling emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani — was last month sentenced to seven years in prison.
Sheikh Fahad was accused of shooting three officers as he stormed a police station in a bid to free his two sons, but the Qatari government’s version of events conflicts with other witnesses’. According to family members and others to whom I’ve spoken, it was state security forces that did the storming, using armored vehicles against the sheikh’s palace in Doha, the capital, last January.… Seguir leyendo »
Recent terror attacks in Paris and San Bernardino have renewed calls for governments to staunch the flow of financing to terrorists and their sympathizers.
The private sector, especially the financial industry, has an important role to play in this effort. In particular, the revelation that a terrorist involved in the San Bernardino attack obtained a $28,500 loan from the San Francisco-based online loan company, Prosper, has highlighted the vulnerabilities of emerging financial technology, or FinTech, companies. Fourteen years after the USA PATRIOT Act ushered in heightened standards for anti-money laundering (AML) and counter-terrorism financing (CFT) rules, more critical evaluation of this architecture is needed to adapt to evolving threats and assist industries impacted by AML and CFT rules.… Seguir leyendo »
Speaking from the Pentagon on Monday, President Obama underscored the United States’ comprehensive strategy for destroying ISIL.
The President made clear — as he has consistently — that while military power is an essential component of our campaign, we must bring to bear every instrument of American power in this fight. That includes taking terrorists off the battlefield; training and equipping Iraqi and Syrian forces to fight ISIL on the ground; and working relentlessly to find a political solution to Syria’s brutal civil war, which is one of ISIL’s best recruiting tools.
And we must use our unparalleled financial might. But to maximize our effectiveness in shutting down ISIL’s finances, we need other countries to join the effort.… Seguir leyendo »
Late last year, the Oscar-winning director Kathryn Bigelow produced a powerful short called “Last Days,” about the dangers and depredations of “ivory-funded terrorism.” Viewers — and Ms. Bigelow’s celebrity friends — were encouraged to share #LastDays on social media, which many duly did. Their efforts gave yet another boost to the widely accepted belief that terrorists across Africa are killing elephants and selling the ivory to finance their attacks. But like her full-length feature film “Zero Dark Thirty,” Ms. Bigelow is offering a beguiling story divorced from reality.
She is not alone in accepting the ivory-terrorism connection. It has been widely reported that Al Qaeda’s East Africa branch, the Shabab, uses ivory sales to fund deadly attacks like the one on Nairobi’s Westgate mall in 2013.… Seguir leyendo »
Tiny Qatar, the world’s richest country in per capita terms, has leveraged its natural gas wealth to emerge as a leading backer of Islamist causes, paralleling the role the much-larger, oil-rich Saudi Arabia has long played, to promote militant groups in countries stretching from the Maghreb to Southeast Asia. Qatar is the world’s largest supplier of liquefied natural gas and boasts one of the world’s biggest sovereign wealth funds.
Located on the edge of the Arabian Peninsula, Qatar has propped up violent jihadists. It has thus contributed, among others, to the rise of the terrorist Islamic State group and to Libya’s descent into a lawless playground for Islamist militias.… Seguir leyendo »
In the great jihadi funding bazaar that is the Gulf state of Kuwait, there’s a terror finance option for every pocket, from the private foundations dealing in tens of millions to the more retail end of the market. Give enough for 50 sniper bullets (50 dinars, about £110), promises the al-Qaeda and Islamic State-linked cleric tweeting under the name “jahd bmalk”, and you will earn “silver status”. Donate 100 dinars to buy eight badly needed mortar rounds, and he’ll make you a “gold status donor”.
As the jihadi funders hand out loyalty cards, the West has belatedly realised that some of its supposed friends in the Gulf have been playing the disloyalty card.… Seguir leyendo »
The hostilities in Gaza between Israel and Hamas persist and the diplomatic war at the United Nations continues, also without resolution. While there is no shortage of opinions on the way forward, the most obvious solution is strikingly absent — the need to disarm and isolate Hamas, the radical Palestinian Islamist group.
Since Israel disengaged from Gaza in 2005, Hamas has dragged us into three rounds of major assaults, and more than 14,800 rockets have been fired into Israel by the group or its proxies. The discovery of dozens of tunnels packed with explosives, tranquilizers and handcuffs that end at the doorsteps of Israeli communities should be enough to convince anyone that Hamas has no interest in bringing quiet to Gaza or residing alongside Israel in peace.… Seguir leyendo »
I pay lots of taxes. Some of my money supports U.S. special forces, and that pleases me. I have no problem helping fund the U.S. Park Service or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. I am, however, a tad uneasy about my tax dollars — and yours — going to support terrorists.
You think I’m joking? The U.S. government gives more than $400 million a year to the Palestinian Authority (PA). Last week, the Israeli prime minister’s office presented figures on the PA’s payments to terrorists imprisoned in Israel: In 2011-12, the PA’s Ministry of Prisoners Affairs transferred $150 million to imprisoned terrorists, released terrorists and the families of terrorists.… Seguir leyendo »
A few feet from the Bab al-Salam border crossing near the Turkish town of Kilis, there is a shabby cafe where the most interesting items for sale are not found on the menu. The cafe is the final stop for young radicalized men from Europe or North Africa who are planning to slip past the lax Turkish border officers and into Syrian territory. This is where they exchange their passports for cash. When one of us visited the cafe in January, a Belgian passport was for sale for $8,000. A buyer could have it altered for movement to Europe or visa-free travel to the United States.… Seguir leyendo »
La lucha contra el terrorismo y la crisis económica han producido una jungla de legislaciones por las que resulta cada vez más difícil avanzar. En materia de blanqueo de dinero y de evasión fiscal, además, países como Suiza se han encontrado a menudo en el ojo de un huracán normativo creado por el legislador extranjero, y se ha penalizado a bancos internacionales por haber infringido, a veces sin darse cuenta, las reglas de la Patriot Act, la legislación antiblanqueo estadounidense aplicada en todas partes y a todas las transacciones en dólares. Todo ello ha ralentizado el funcionamiento de la organización financiera y abierto nuevas oportunidades a un sistema bancario informal, constituido por instituciones ad hoc que operan fuera del tradicional, entre las cuales se encuentran también los hedge funds y las family office.… Seguir leyendo »
Tehran-sponsored terrorism struck last week, yet again taking the lives of innocents. Although mostly unnoticed by the global public, there has been a growing international wave of coordinated Ayatollah-backed terrorism over the past few months.
The July 18 attack on a tourist bus at the airport in Burgas, a quiet holiday resort in Bulgaria, raised new awareness of this peril. But it was only the latest in a long list of terrorist attacks and attempted attacks against Israeli and other Western targets, carried out by Iran or its proxies.
Six people were murdered in Burgas, five Israelis and a Bulgarian bus driver.… Seguir leyendo »
Eighteen years ago, on July 18, 1994, Hezbollah carried out an attack against the Argentine Jewish Mutual Association (AMIA) in Buenos Aires. But Hezbollah was not acting alone. It is now clear that the highest ranks of the Iranian regime masterminded this attack in the Western Hemisphere.
In the years since the attack, the state prosecutor of Argentina has concluded that the AMIA attack was approved in advance by Iran’s Ayatollah, Iran’s then-Foreign Minister, and Iran’s then-Minister of Security and Intelligence. In November 2006, an Argentine judge issued arrest warrants for eight Iranian officials and one Lebanese Hezbollah operative. The following year, INTERPOL unanimously supported the issuance of what they term “red notices” for six of those wanted by Argentina, allowing arrest warrants for these individuals to be circulated worldwide with an eye to their arrest and extradition.… Seguir leyendo »
Quirky though it was, U.S. officials are convinced that the recently exposed plot to assassinate the Saudi Ambassador to Washington was the work of the vaunted Quds Force, the special operations branch of the Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp (IRGC). As policymakers consider how best to respond to Iran’s increasingly dangerous behavior they should look first to our own back yard south of the border.
To be sure, this plot demands a response. Pointing to the 1983 and 1984 Beirut bombings, the CIA reported in 1987 that “many Iranian leaders use this precedent as proof that terrorism can break U.S. resolve” and view “sabotage and terrorism as an important option in its confrontation with the United States in the Persian Gulf.” It is critical that the United States and the international community take concrete steps in response to the planned assassination of a foreign ambassador in the U.S.… Seguir leyendo »
Despite global sanctions, Iran continues to export terrorism worldwide while importing nuclear weapons technology in a quest to impose Islam on the world. The United States and its Western allies must step up the pressure against Tehran.
Part of the export of terrorism turned up Tuesday when U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. announced federal authorities had foiled an Iranian plot to kill the Saudi ambassador to the United States and bomb the Saudi and Israeli embassies in Washington.
U.S. authorities concerned about Iran’s terrorist activities have taken new action to limit the illicit activities of the Islamic regime in Tehran, but it’s not enough.… Seguir leyendo »
Since well before 9/11, the United States and other nations have worked hard to cut off the flow of money to Al Qaeda and related terrorist groups.
Through innovative approaches and strong partnerships, including with many European nations and the European Union, we have had real success in our counterterrorism efforts broadly and in our specific efforts to combat the flow of funds to terrorist organizations.
In particular, Al Qaeda’s senior leadership in the Pakistan-Afghanistan border region has seen its funds dwindle.
In recent years, however, the Qaeda network has found new deep pockets, not among rich radical sheikhs in the Persian Gulf but through the exploitation of wealthy Western countries and their allies.… Seguir leyendo »
The 500-euro note is sometimes called the “Bin Laden” — after all, Europeans may never see the 500 euro, but they know it is out there somewhere. Unfortunately, Al Qaeda’s leader and the 500-euro bill are connected in another way: high-denomination bills make it a lot easier for terrorists to operate.
Organized crime has always been a cash industry. In 1969, the Treasury stopped issuing $500, $1,000, $5,000 and $10,000 bills specifically to impede crime syndicates — the only entities that were still using such large bills after the introduction of electronic money transfers.
Nowadays, terrorist networks have become important users of cash.… Seguir leyendo »