jihadi strategy and finance; Afghan riches; submarines

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For years the Pakistani military has promised the West that it would launch an offensive in North Waziristan to clear the tribal agency of the Taliban and al Qaeda, but it has failed to do so. Groups such as the Haqqani Network and Hafiz Gul Bahadar’s Taliban faction operate in the open in North Waziristan, and are considered “good Taliban” by Pakistan’s military and intelligence establishment as they do not openly support jihad against the state. But the Haqqanis and Bahadar fight in Afghanistan, and shelter and support al Qaeda, the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, and a host of terror groups that attack the Pakistani state and promote international jihad. http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2014/01/pakistan_launches_ai.php#ixzz2sIfGhYha

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Saudi Arabia and Iran are key bases for these jihadi-financed activities, but this is a global phenomenon.  Here’s Money Jihad’s short list of the worst offenders:

Al Rajhi Bank:  The Saudi financial institution has served as the sharia bank of choice for the world’s jihadists, including East Africa embassy bomber Mamduh Mahmud Salim, Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, and organizations like Indonesian Kompak and Al-Haramain.  Bank co-founder Sulaiman Al-Rajhi appeared on the infamous Golden Chain document of Al Qaeda financiers.  These allegations were reinforced by the recent U.S. Senate investigation into HSBC’s correspondent relationships.

Al Shamal Islamic Bank:  Osama Bin Laden co-founded the Al Shamal in Sudan and invested $50 million there.  During the 1990s and early 2000s, Al Qaeda distributed money to its cells through Al Shamal.  Funds passed through Al Shamal were used in preparation for terrorist attacks.

National Commercial Bank:  Offering conventional and sharia banking services, Saudi Arabia’s self-described first, largest, and most prominent bank is NCB.  Among other misdeeds, a Saudi audit revealed that NCB transferred $74 million in the 1990s as zakat through its charitable front organizations to Al Qaeda (see here, here, and here).  Khalid bin Mahfouz, the head of the bank, exploited libel laws to sue author Rachel Ehrenfeld in an effort to silence accusations about his role in financing terrorism.

Arab Bank:  This conventional bank in Jordan maintains a wholly-owned subsidiary (Islamic International Arab Bank PLC) that offers full-range sharia services.  Arab Bank has transferred money on behalf of Comité de Bienfaisance et de Secours aux Palestiniens (CBSP), a notorious French charity, to a known financial subunit of Hamas.  The Jordanian bank has paid out insurance benefits to families of suicide bombers for the Saudi Committee—another charity that funds Hamas.  Arab Bank has handled transactions for the Holy Land Foundation, whose leaders now sit behind bars for financing terrorism.  It has been the subject of American investigations, but the bank has consistently refused to turn over related documents to the U.S.

Islami Bank Bangladesh Limited:  IBBL, Bangladesh’s biggest sharia bank, has handled Wahhabi accounts to propagate radical Islam since its inception.  In 2011, the Bangladeshi home ministry intelligence revealed that 8 percent of the bank’s profits were diverted as corporate zakat to support jihad in Bangladesh.  One of the men on IBBL’s board of sharia advisors was arrested in connection with a terrorist attack against Bangladeshi police officers.  The U.S. Senate slammed British bank giant HSBC for maintaining relationships with IBBL despite evidence that it served terrorists like Shaikh Abdur Rahman of Jamatul Mujahideen Bangladesh and terror-funding Islamic charities like IIRO.  The Senate’s report also implicated HSBC for disregarding evidence of terror financing at another Bangladeshi sharia bank with whom it worked:  Social Islami Bank.

Bank Melli:  The Iranian Islamic bank sent “at least $100 million to an Iranian Revolutionary Guard branch that supports Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and other terrorist groups, the Quds Force” between 2002-06.

Bank Saderat:  Another major Iranian sharia finance house, the U.S. Treasury Department sanctioned the rocket-funding Bank Saderat, stating that “The bank is used by the Government of Iran to transfer money to terrorist organizations, including Hizballah, Hamas, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. A notable example of this is a Hizballah-controlled organization that has received $50 million directly from Iran through Bank Saderat since 2001.”   http://moneyjihad.wordpress.com/2013/01/07/sharia-banks-that-fund-terrorism/

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Afghanistan signed a 25-year contract with National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) last December covering drilling and a planned refinery in the northern provinces of Faryab and Sar-e-Pul. It is the first major oil production in the country.
The venture with CNPC, which has invested hundreds of millions of dollars, was expected to produce billions of dollars over the next two decades – CNPC will pay a 15 percent royalty on oil, 20 percent corporate tax and give 50-70 percent of its profit from the project to the government.

From January 1, CNPC will extract 1.5 million barrels of oil annually, Shahrani said. Up to 87 million barrels of crude are estimated to be in Amu Darya.
Its inauguration on Sunday should lend confidence to nervous Chinese investors who have halted work on the $3 billion Aynak copper mine project in eastern Logar province, where insurgents trying to wreck the project have stepped up attacks. Afghan officials have been trying to convince the investors to restart. http://uk.reuters.com/article/2012/10/21/uk-afghanistan-oil-idUKBRE89K07Y20121021
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6-13-12 The Afghan-Tajik basin, a geological zone in the northeast, is estimated to hold 1.9 billion barrels of oil and natural gas liquids with gas deposits equivalent to 1.5 billion barrels of oil, according to US Geological Survey data.

Most important, the deal testified to the astounding success of Chinese diplomacy in Kabul. China already figures as Afghanistan’s biggest foreign investor. In 2007, it won a multi-billion deal to mine Afghanistan’s biggest copper deposit at Aynak and also build a coal mine, power plant, smelter and a railroad.

Three blocks of the Amu Darya basin form part of a geological zone that extends to Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, where Chinese oil and gas companies are already well-established and China has built a pipeline grid to evacuate the oil and gas to Xinjiang….

Watan is owned by the Popal brothers who are cousins of Karzai. According to a New York Times report, Watan’s largest shareholder could be Qayum Karzai, brother of President Karzai, who denies it. (The New York Times recently reported that Qayum Karzai was possibly mulling a run for the presidency when his brother steps down.)

Evidently, China kept a low profile and quietly worked its way through the Byzantine corridors of power in Kabul to reach the most powerful family in Afghanistan. Indeed, Watan has proven credentials. It serves as war contractors for the United States by providing logistics, security services, etc. It protects convoys of trucks carrying supplies for US forces between Kabul and Kandahar. (There are allegations that the company paid the Taliban to the tune of 10% of their $360-million contract so that the insurgents would not attack the US convoys.)

Now, just when everything seemed to be going brilliantly for the CNPC, trouble has appeared out of nowhere. Chinese engineers from CNPC are being intimidated from working on the oil project in the northern province of Sar-e Pul by local strongmen demanding hefty bribes and kickbacks.

…At any rate, immediately after his return to Kabul from Beijing on Friday, Karzai ticked off Dostum. On Sunday, the National Security Council in Kabul (which reports to Karzai) accused Dostum of “undermining national interest” by intimidating Chinese engineers working at the Sar-e Pul site. …
Meanwhile, former vice president and leading opposition figure, Ahmad Zia Massoud (brother of slain Northern Alliance leader Ahmad Shah Massoud), has come out in defense of Dostum and the searchlight gets turned on the CNPC’s oil deal. Massoud scoffed at Karzai’s moral right to speak of “national interests”. He told a press conference in Kabul on Monday:
Those who looted $900 million from Kabul are national traitors, those who built private houses on the property of Ministry of Defense in Kandahar are national traitors, and those who misused the Ghori Cement plant and took financial benefit from it are national traitors.
The reference is to the alleged role of Karzai’s family members in the scandal surrounding the Kabul Bank (which lost about $900 million in insider deals, much of it ending up in secret bank accounts in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates). …
The line-up – Karzai versus Massoud and Dostum – shows the acute political polarization in Afghan politics. The opposition has got a fresh issue to agitate and the CNPC deal itself may come under public scrutiny. http://www.atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/NF13Df01.html
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11-1-13 Twelve years after the invasion into Afghanistan, the country finds itself at the crossroads to a promising future thanks to its riches in oil, gas and other natural resources (including gold and lithium). It is expected that the war-raged country holds about 1.6 billion bbl of oil and 16 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. In terms of natural gas, this could put Afghanistan at No. 6 in the world’s largest proven natural gas reserves, just behind Iran (33 trillion cubic feet) and Turkmenistan (17 trillion cubic feet).

With pictures of war and underdevelopment in the international consciousness, the idea of investing in Afghanistan sounds strange at first. But it is happening. Also this October, a consortium including Dragon Oil, Turkiye Petrolleri A.O. (TPAO) and the Ghazanfar Group, signed a production and exploration sharing contract for two blocks in the Afghan-Tajik basin which it is expected to hold the majority of Afghan oil. http://exclusive.multibriefs.com/content/afghanistan-at-the-crossroads-to-oil-and-gas
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12-19-12 three of these nations (China, Iran, North Korea) are likely to use their subs against the U.S. or its allies.* China has fifty of these boats, Iran has three (plus 25 much smaller mini-subs) and North Korea has 20 (plus 50 much smaller mini-subs). So the U.S. has to worry about 73 diesel electric subs and 75 mini-subs. But about half the full size subs are elderly, obsolete, and noisy. The same can be said for at least half the mini-subs. That leaves about 36 full size subs and 40 mini-subs that are a clear threat (though the older stuff can be a threat if you get sloppy). That’s a lot of subs, and they make the East Asian coast and the Persian Gulf dangerous places for American warships. http://www.strategypage.com/htmw/htsub/20121219.aspx
(Pakistan is expected to buy 6 YUan-class subs from China in 2014; Singapore has 4 subs, Vietnam is getting 6 this year from Russia; India has some Russian-made subs.)
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