Drugs and al Qaeda

Peter Brookes has an interesting piece on the effort to deny financing to al Qaeda and other Islamic terrorist organizations:
“Two weeks ago, six Arabs with suspected al Qaeda links were arrested in Syria carrying $23 million in cash, according to administration officials. (Syria has not confirmed this report.) If true, this is believed to be the largest netting of terrorist bulk cash since the War on Terror began over two years ago.
“The good news is that Syria pickpocketed al Qaeda of $23 million. (Not that having $23 million in the hands of the terror-backing Syrians is a comfort either.) The bad news is that al Qaeda couriers were running around with $23 million in cash to some yet unknown destination.
“That’s a lot of scratch, especially considering the previous belief that al Qaeda’s operating budget was in the tens of millions of dollars. So this event will either put a crimp in al Qaeda’s finances – or its annual budget is a lot bigger than we thought.”
News reports make it clear that al Qaeda has gotten into drug trafficking in a major way. (For the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party, this may be one more reason not to disrupt their activities.) While drug dealing by terrorists is obviously sinister, it strikes me as a good development. Drug trafficking adds a whole new layer of complexity and danger to financing terrorist operations. It is obviously much easier and safer to receive “charitable contributions” from well-funded Islamic organizations than to endure the hazards of running drugs. The fact that al Qaeda has gotten so heavily into drugs suggests, to me at least, that our efforts to crimp the organization’s financing have been pretty successful.

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