Al Qaeda running out of money?

Andrew Cochran:

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On 20 November 2007, Andrew Cochran reported on this blog about the success of the U.S. ITFC in shutting down elements of Al-Qaeda's financial network in Iraq, and that the government of a key Gulf state has assisted in these efforts. On the same day, the Washington Post published a report of its own about the U.S. efforts to break Iraqi insurgents’ financial networks, and the growing interest of insurgents in money rather than ideology.

A significant evidence for the U.S. successes in this field has recently appeared from an unexpected direction - Al-Qaeda itself. The Global Islamic Media Front (GIMF)—the primary indoctrination and propaganda means of Al-Qaeda, published on the same day - 20 November 2007, on the main Jihadi forum of Al-Hesbah, an unprecedented announcement, which we may title A CALL FOR DONATIONS. It was not the first time that Jihadi elements posted material on the significance of the Jihad bil-Mal (financial Jihad). However, past writings on the issue have had the religious and indoctrination nature. This time it looks as a genuine call resulting out of a real stress. The post by the “official” GIMF provides it also a nature of an official call by Al-Qaeda, not just some group belonging to the Iraqi insurgency. It does not refer to Iraq or any other place in particular, and therefore, it might also indicate the stress in which the organization is found in other regions of Jihadi fight as well, in the field of finance.

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The author of this call is not hiding or coloring the financial situation of the group in the battle field:

“Oh Muslims !! this is a call for you from the fighters to the entire Muslims. Following the campaign against Islam to dry its sources, many of the people who support this religion suffer from lack of equipments and basic means for their Jihad, after the belief in Allah. The situation became really bad. Imagine brothers, that some of them carry weapons with no ammunition. Sometimes they have no food or place of refuge. I see you calling for Jihad day and night without implementing it, as if the Jihad is just carrying weapons.

Brothers, in many cases the financial Jihad is not less than Jihad by fighting (Al-Jihad bil-Nafs). How could the Mujahid fulfill his huge tasks without weapons? Or without the support for his family while he is away or martyred?

The Noble Qur’an gave the financial Jihad a great priority. It is always compared to the Jihad by fighting as two sides of the equation. Moreover, in all the Qur’anic verses that record the two, except for one verse, the financial Jihad has a priority over the fighting Jihad.

… From these verses and stories, the significance of the financial Jihad is clear. The infidels spend their money to fight [the supporters of] Allah, and their reward, at the end of the day, is only defeat. Should not the believers spend their money to strengthen the basics of religion and enable its spread in the world? No one can claim that he owns nothing. I tell him, don’t you know any wealthy Muslim? Approach him and encourage him [to donate]. We know how far the infidels (Taghout) are suffocating the finance of the Mujahidin, and how dangerous it is.”

The picture is clear and the call seems to be genuine. There is also an interesting element in using the term Taghout for “those who suffocate the finance of the Mujahidin.” This term is used for the Arab or Muslim governments, rather than the U.S. or other Western “enemies.” This might be an indication to the cooperation of Arab governments in this field.

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This is more bad news for al Qaeda. Reports of communications between Zawahiri and Zarqawi suggested several months ago that al Qaeda central was running out of money and needed help from Zarqawi's Iraqi operation. Now that operation is being destroyed which may have been al Qaeda's last cash cow. It is somewhat Ironic that al Qaeda hoped to draw the US into a war that would be so costly that it would be unfordable. While it has certainly been expensive, al Qaeda is learning the lesson of the former Soviet Union. Do not get in a funding war with the US.

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