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March 10, 2005

Syria Tumult: Potential Boon for Terrorist Financing Investigators

Topics: Middle East News and Perspectives

Great idea from the Counter-Terrorism Blog!

The partial or complete withdrawal of Syrian forces from Lebanon, and the stress on their alliances in the region, should present a golden opportunity for counterterrorism investigators to see how Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, and Hamas manage their finances. If those terrormasters think about their money like most humans, they're nervous and have started transferring accounts, liquidating hard assets into cash or commodities (diamonds?), and maybe shift their most knowledgeable financial experts to "safer" places. In the process, we could also discover more about their secret allies around the Middle East, Europe, and even in this country. I would also assume that the terrorists are destroying bank records as they go, trying to make the investigatory job tougher.

Background reading: Sponsoring Terrorism - Syria and Islamic Jihad

As an example of the need to take advantage of the "golden opportunity for counterterrorism investigators: 

- Nov to Dec 2002 Middle East Intelligence Bulletin
"The most detailed evidence that Islamic Jihad leaders in Damascus planned attacks, sent orders for attacks to operatives in the territories and funneled money to them, comes from the documents of PA intelligence agencies seized by Israeli forces in the West Bank earlier this year and deemed authentic by American officials. In an October 2001 document, Palestinian Preventive Security chief Jibril Rajoub briefed Yasser Arafat on the activities of Palestinian terrorist groups in Syria, citing intelligence indicating that "intensive meetings are being held in Damascus, in which leaders of the Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the Popular Front and the Hezbollah take part, in an attempt to increase the joint activities "inside," with financial support from Iran.

It's time to sieze and go through documents, again!

Posted by Hyscience at March 10, 2005 8:54 AM

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