Terrorists Need Oil Money

DISCLAIMER: The author and publishers of the information presented in this article do not deny climate change. We pride ourselves on skeptical analysis of any argument that comes to the table.

It takes Big Money to operate a successful terrorist organization such as Al-Qaeda – and Big Oil has ponied up quite a bit of funding for combatants against the enemies of Islam. The complex system of terrorist financing behind the 9/11 attacks in 2001 had a money trail leading back to persons and charitable institutions in the Persian Gulf, notably Saudia Arabia.

The October 2002 Council on Foreign Relations report of an Independent Task Force on Terrorist Financing, Osama bin Laden and his men amassed millions of dollars using legitimate businesses (charities, nongovernmental
organizations, mosques, banks, and other financial institutions) to help raise and transfer their funds.

In Saudia Arabia, a rentier state, no taxes are imposed. Instead, a religious tax (the zakat) requires all Muslims to donate a minimum of 2.5 percent of their income to charities. While many charities do good work, others
exist to launder money and finance terrorist activities.

Underlying the Muslim financial structure is the generations-old, trust-based Hawala system, the unofficial way to transfer money where verbal agreements leave virtually no paper trail.

Government officials, following their time-honored religious principles, allow wealthy citizens to send money to charities that send it on to terror groups.

Oil monarchies in the Persian Gulf with the world’s largest oil reserves, along with places that get most of their income from oil exports also happen to be those with the strongest support for radical Islam. Ironically, Western oil imports from OPEC member states filled Saudi coffers, overflowing into terrorist hands.

Another irony is that, despite funding from their Muslim brothers, oil-producing countries are prone to terrorism since they are important targets. Terrorists may attack oil facilities to interrupt production and get media attention. Another motive is to harm the overseas interests of powerful countries. Oil resources often spawn grievances or greed among the locals who want to enjoy some of that wealth and may resort to terrorist activities to get it – or protest not getting it.

In 2004, United Nations Security Council Resolution 1566 defined terrorism as “premeditated, politically motivated violence which is perpetrated specifically against non–combatant targets with the aim to influence local or even international audiences.” 

Some analysts claim that terrorism that targets the energy sector goes beyond attacks physical on power plants, refineries, and/or oil and gas infrastructure and also encompasses stealing oil or gas from pipelines,
extortion, and funding militant groups that carry out such attacks.

Between the Spring 2020 fall in crude oil prices due to reduced demand under COVID-10 stay-at-home orders and a new volley in the continuing price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia, the two largest producers in the
OPEC+ global oil cartel, oil prices have taken a beating.

On March 19, 2020, days after President Trump declared a national emergency over the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) took action by issuing
sanctions against five United Arab Emirates (UAE)-based companies that facilitate petroleum and petrochemical sales for the Iranian regime.

In 2019, the five companies purchased hundreds of thousands of metric tons of petroleum products from the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), providing massive revenues for the Iranian regime. That government dispersed these funds to support the malign activities, including the support of terrorist groups, throughout the Middle East of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF). At least three of these companies falsified documents to conceal the Iranian origin of these shipments.

All property and interests in property of Petro Grand FZE, Alphabet International DMCC, Swissol Trade DMCC, Alam Althrwa General Trading LLC, and Alwaneo LLC Co. subject to U.S. jurisdiction were blocked, and U.S
persons were generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with them. 
By April 1, the price of Iran’s heavy crude fell to below $14 per barrel, down from $44 or more per barrel in February.

Iranian officials have claimed that the decline in oil price hasn’t hurt their economy. ” On April 21, First Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri <https://ifpnews.com/sanctions-kept-iran-fit-for-oil-price-drop-vp-says>said</a>: “The crises and the sanctions imposed by the United States of America have prepared us for running the country under the current
circumstances.”

It stands to reason that less money coming into states that fund terrorists will reduce that critical financial support. But will it be enough to stem the rising tide of global terrorism? Only time will tell.

 

By Jean Broida

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