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Intrigue: U.S. Tracks Al Qaeda Funding Through Ally Turkey for Syrian Rebels

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Seattle Times ELF Al Qaeda

Seattle Times ELF Al Qaeda (Photo credit:

American Intelligence and national security community sources say they are tracking the movements of funds from various wealthy individuals in the Persian Gulf to al-Qaeda-linked militants in Syria, but the governments of key US Arab allies are reluctant to crack down, a report says.

“Unless the money is actually in the US financial system, you have to point out to these governments where the money is going and try to work with them to make sure it goes to legitimate groups,” said one US official who spoke with The Washington Times on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of intelligence related to tracking such money.

“The US can’t shut down bank accounts in Kuwait or Qatar,” the official said. “We can tell them, ‘Look at what this person is doing.'”

The approach has worked with variable success over the past decade, during which US authorities have worked closely with counterparts in such nations as Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia to choke off streams of cash to al-Qaeda’s core leadership in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

English: World map about terrorist attacks of ...

English: World map about terrorist attacks of al-Qaeda. Español: Atentados atribuidos a Al Qaida Dansk: Verdenskort med alle de terror angreb der påstås at været begået af al-Qaeda. Svenska: Världskarta över Al-qaida attentat (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But when it comes to stemming the flow of aid to Salafist and al Qaeda-linked groups inside Syria, the strategy has been less successful — suggesting authorities in the Persian Gulf states now may see American pressure for such action as less worthy than previous calls to block cash to al-Qaeda.

“In some nations where they have had success in clamping down on terrorist funding for al Qaeda’s core, this is a source of funding that has not really been clamped down on,” the official said.

The extent to which that money is aiding the rise of extremists in Syria seemed to burst open last month when 11 Syrian militant groups, including the Nusra Front — an organization US officials link to al-Qaeda — banded together in a public rejection of the more moderate opposition groups outside the country that are receiving aid from Washington.

When it comes to ISIS, said Moustafa, “you’re talking about al-Qaeda’s network,
and I would assume most of the aid and resources they’re getting comes directly
from Iraq, where the system was already in place to raise money going back to
the rise of al-Qaeda in Iraq several years ago.”

“In addition to providing funding for al-Qaeda activities in Afghanistan and
Pakistan, this network is working to move fighters and money through Turkey to
support al Qaeda-affiliated elements in Syria,” according to the Treasury
Department press release. “Al-Fadhli also is leveraging his extensive network of
Kuwaiti jihadist donors to send money to Syria via Turkey.”

A Turkish government source, who also asked not to be named, said the US comment was unsurprising “because American authorities are very well aware of our operations against al-Qaeda.”

“To claim that Turkey is supporting terrorism is an insult to Turkey,” said the Turkish source. “We’re trying to control our borders as much as we can.”


Written by voiceoftruthusa

October 18, 2013 at 9:09 pm

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