Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Disinvesting won't stop terrorism

by Benjamin Zycher from the LA Times

Financial support for terrorist activities is primarily ideological, and regimes are loath to sacrifice ideological goals just because economic conditions are declining. Saudi financing of the Wahhabi madrasas, for instance, both official and unofficial, continued during the 1990s when oil revenues were low. Similarly, during the 1990s, various terrorist groups received much of their support from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Sudan — nations not noted for strong economic performance. The notion that we can "de-fund" terrorism by withholding our investment is particularly weak. The reality is that terrorism is relatively cheap; the 9/11 commission computed the cost of the 9/11 attacks at less than $500,000, an estimate likely to be too low, but not by enough to change this central conclusion.

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