News / Asia

Experts: Bin Laden’s Death Has Negative Impact on Terrorism Financing

Al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan (1998 file photo)
Al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan (1998 file photo)

The death this week of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden is likely, analysts say, to have a negative impact on the terrorist organization’s ability to raise money and finance future large scale attacks. 

Osama bin Laden was the face of international terrorism and his financial firepower helped fund the mujahedeen in the war against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s.

After the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States, bin Laden became the worldwide symbol used to raise money for al-Qaida and its affiliates in South Asia, the Middle East and North Africa.

Stuart Levey is the former undersecretary of terrorism and financial intelligence at the U.S. Treasury Department and is currently with the Council on Foreign Relations.

"Osama bin Laden was the primary inspirational figure for al-Qaida both for recruiting new members to al-Qaida, but also for the funding of al-Qaida and so they will have lost that sort of iconic figure," he said.

Source of funding

Analysts say al-Qaida receives most of its funding from individual wealthy donors living in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.

Governments of those countries have tried to stop the fundraising and experts say in recent years it has been a challenge for al-Qaida to raise significant sums of money.

They say intelligence suggests al-Qaida is having trouble paying for the training of its militants and providing funding for their families.

Matthew Levitt, director of the program on counterterrorism and intelligence at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, says bin Laden’s death during a raid by U.S. forces in Pakistan creates an opening to further damage the organization.

"This is a great opportunity for us to have further disruptions of the al-Qaida network across all the different aspects of that organization from fundraising on down," he said.

The Obama administration announced that during the attack in Pakistan, U.S. forces collected intelligence information that could be helpful in the fight against terrorism.

News organizations are reporting this included a large number of computers, hard disc drives and other memory devices.

"The apparent exploitation of the intelligence that was apparently picked up during the raid is a potential huge lead with respect to terrorist financing and frankly not just financing, but going after the network in general depending on what kind of information is in those computers and whatever else was taken," said analyst Stuart Levey.

Falling Muslim support

A recent poll by the Pew Research Center says support for bin Laden among people in predominantly Muslim countries has declined significantly in recent years.

Analysts like Matthew Levitt say the recent revolts in Arab countries have offered a new and more attractive narrative to the violence and bloodshed preached by al-Qaida.

"And here you have had in a matter of weeks relatively peacefully a bunch of youth accomplishing, in places like Egypt, that which al-Qaida and its affiliates, through very bloody violence over many years, failed to accomplish," he said.

Impact on financing

Current and former officials at the U.S. Department of the Treasury say the death of bin Laden is an important step in the effort to reduce donations to al-Qaida.

But Stuart Levey says it is essential to maintain pressure on al-Qaida and other terrorist organizations. "The death of bin Laden is a tremendous development for counterterrorism in general and for terrorist financing as well.  But it is not the end of the battle. It is just a significant milepost along the way and I think it is important that we do continue these efforts. I think that we will," he said.

Matthew Levitt of the Washington Institute says the nearly ten-year and now successful search for bin Laden since the 2001 attacks sends a strong message to anyone considering making financial contributions to al-Qaida.

"But this tightening of the noose, it is much more than just the removal of bin Laden," he said. "We have indicated that it may take a long, long time, but we will find you and that has to make people think twice about how much they want to be involved in this enterprise."

Analysts say counterterrorism efforts by the United States and its allies have forced al-Qaida’s fundraising activities to become decentralized.

They say its affiliates are now being left to raise their own funds and conduct operations without significant assistance from the core organization.

You May Like

US Imposes Sanctions on Alleged Honduran Drug Gang

Treasury department alleges Los Valles group is responsible for smuggling tens of thousands of kilograms of cocaine into US each month More

At 91, Marvel Creator Stan Lee Continues to Expand his Universe

Company's chief emeritus hopes to interest new generation of children in superheroes of all shapes and sizes by publishing content across multiple media platforms More

Photogallery New Drug Protects Against Virus in Ebola Family

Study by researchers at University of Texas Medical Branch, Tekmira Pharmaceuticals is first looking at drug's effectiveness after onset of symptoms More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebolai
X
George Putic
August 20, 2014 8:57 PM
While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls For Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid