Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Money Behind the Terrorists

Where do the terrorists get funding?”
by Charlie Leck

I just finished reading Daniel Silva’s latest thriller novel, Portrait of a Spy. Silva is very good at his craft. This was not one of his best works, but it was interesting (and thrilling) enough. Those of you who read Silva will enjoy your time with this latest work.

The fictional account raises some very interesting real questions. Where do the terrorists get the funding to carry on? What they do is not cheap. Someone or some group or some nation must be behind them.

Silva makes a case that such funding comes from the House of Saud. This is not a new idea. Many people in America have argued this for years. It’s likely that this is where the funds for 9-11 came.

In an author’s note at the end of the book, Silva writes this:

“Regrettably, a decade after the attacks of 9/11, much of this money still comes from the citizens of Saudi Arabia and, to a lesser extent, the Sunni Muslim emirates of the Persian Gulf. In a secret cable made public in December 2010, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton wrote, ‘It has been an ongoing challenge to persuade Saudi officials to treat terrorist financing emanating from Saudi Arabia as a strategic priority.’ In conclusion, Clinton’s memo declares that ‘donors in Saudi Arabia constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide.’

“One would think that Saudi Arabia, the country that produced Osama Bin Laden and fifteen of the nineteen 9/11 hijackers, would do more to clamp down on terrorist fund-raising on its soil. But other diplomatic cables have revealed the House of Saud has been unable or unwilling to shut down the flow of money to al-Qaeda and its affiliates. Militant groups operate front charities inside Saudi Arabia with impunity or simply solicit cash donations openly during the annual Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca.

I find this interesting. I hope you do too. I also find it a bit terrifying. Saudi Arabia continues to act as if it is one of our buddies. Both of the Bush administrations worked hard at improving relations and communications with the nation. So has the Obama presidency. I think it’s another case where there are both secular and religious forces at work in Saudi Arabia and they see things very differently. Radical Islam is an insane and frightening movement.

*Silva, Daniel: Portrait of a Spy [Harper Collins, NY, 2011]


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