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

Photogallery Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving With Feasts, Festivities

Holiday traditions include turkey dinners, 'turkey trots,' American-style football and New York parade with giant balloons More

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

With two years left in term, analysts say, president has less to lose by taking conversation on race further More

Video Italian Espresso Expands Into Space

When Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti headed for the ISS, her countrymen worried how she would survive six months drinking only instant coffee 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.
US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Paradei
X
Anush Avetisyan
November 26, 2014 10:57 PM
Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Parade

Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

Throughout the crisis in Ferguson, Missouri, President Barack Obama has urged calm, restraint and respect for the rule of law. But the events in Ferguson have prompted him to call — more openly than he has before — for profound changes to end the racism and distrust that he believes still exists between whites and blacks in the United States. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Online Magazine Gets Kids Discussing Big Questions

Teen culture in America is often criticized for being superficial. But an online magazine has been encouraging some teenagers to explore deeper issues, and rewarding their efforts. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky went to this year’s Kidspirit awards ceremony in New York.
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid