Thursday, September 6, 2007

Grading U.S. Performance against Terrorism Financing

by Michael Jacobson from The Washington Institute for Near East Policy

A recent Wall Street Journal article illustrated the challenges facing the UN. In November 2001, the UN designated Saudi businessman Yasin al-Qadi as a terrorist for his ties to al-Qaeda ... Although Persian Gulf countries have taken some steps, the region is still an important source of funds for terrorists. In a March 2007 report, the State Department urged the Saudi government to establish a commission to supervise its charitable sector and to subject international charities to the same oversight as domestic ones. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson added recently that despite being "very effective at dealing with terrorists within the kingdom," the Saudis "need to do a better job holding people accountable who finance terrorism around the world." ... Terrorists are also increasingly using cash couriers and bulk cash smuggling to transfer funds. Although less efficient, this method is more difficult for law enforcement to track. Putting regulations in place to govern cash couriers in Gulf countries has been an uphill struggle because carrying bulk cash is a common practice there.

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