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The business and finance of terrorism

The business and finance of terrorism

what are the Business and Finance of terrorism? If you put all the inputs together, the definition would sound something like this.

What is Terrorism?

It’s a notoriously hard term to explain. There is no international consensus on the definition of a terrorist legally or academically. The US government has more than 20 definitions for it. The world over, Scholars say that it is simply impossible to define the term. They say an observer would know it when they saw it. It is also said that one man’s terrorist is another man’s Freedom Fighter.


So what constitutes terrorism? what are the Business and Finance of terrorism? If you put all the inputs together, the definition would sound something like this. Terrorism is violence or the threat of violence against non-combatants or civilians, usually motivated by political, religious, or ideological beliefs; several variants of this definition are taught in Schools and colleges, but none of it explains what drives people to terrorism. Ideologies and beliefs are only a vehicle for individuals to become terrorists.

They say terrorism has no religion. Well, it may or may not have a religion, but it certainly has a lot of money. It’s also about power terrorism is now a business; look around you.

what are the Business and Finance of terrorism?

taliban present situation
The business and finance of terrorism

The world’s deadliest Terror outfits have become business enterprises. They have adopted structures and tactics that have been tested in the Business world. Take the example of the most active terror outfit in the world right now, the Islamic State of Iraq, and the Levant ISIL or ISIS. At its peak, it was operating as a business Empire.

It had a detailed structure with specific functions and jurisdictions, many of its leaders the former officers from Saddam Hussein’s disbanded army. They use their military experience to trained mercenaries. What about the money? How did they manage their finances?

The group controls on? The most extensive oil fields in Syria; in 2014, it was producing 25,000 to 40,000 barrels of oil in a day. This was worth 1.2 million dollars in the Underground Market. 1.2 million dollars a day and close to 40 million dollars a month. The revenue made the Islamic state, one of the wealthiest Terror groups in history, “a financial Powerhouse.”

How does money work in terrorism?

 This money helped in recruitment. ISIS gets recruits from different countries. It created a committed core of loyalists; at one point, Islamic States recruitment was a global phenomenon. In December 2015, the group had 30,000 fighters from at least 85 countries; most of the ISIS Fighters were from Western Nations countries with high levels of economic development. Why would they join Isis? Do you think there’s only for an ideological or religious Cause?

Osama bin Laden
Osama bin Laden

The answer is No, and they also came for the money. According to a 2016 report, Congressional research service, Isis Fighters, earned between 400 to 1200 dollars a month. That’s a 50 dollar stipend for their wives, $25 for each child. And this is not their only source of income. They were making a lot more money through Ransom and extortion. Thankfully, Most of this is history. The Isis is now down pushed to the margins, but around the world.

The business of terrorism is flourishing. Look at what’s happening in Libya; turkeys involved in a conflict there to shore up their position in the Mediterranean; last we checked, the Turkish government was paying Syrian mercenaries a monthly salary of 2000 Dollars.  Who are these mercenaries’ war criminals and Islamic extremists? They are being used as Hired Guns to sustain, turkey’s foreign policy when we have countries like Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon, Somalia, Yemen Afghanistan, and how can I not mention the terror capital of the world, Pakistan?

How Pakistan helps terrorists?

The country is home to nearly 40,000 terrorists. A total of 32 domestic and transnational Terror organizations. The Jaish-e- Mohammed, the Jamaat-ud-Dawah, The Hizbul- Mujahideen, the Lashkar-e-taiba, the Lashkar-e-Jabbar, the Lashkar-e-jhangvi, Al-Badr, al-barq, Harkat-UL-Ansar, Harkat-ul mujahideen, the three-e-nafaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi. Pakistan is teeming with Terror groups. It is a haven for all kinds of terror outfits. They may have different names, but they all serve the same purpose, and they have flourished despite repeated warnings to Islamabad.

pakistan flag
Pakistan flag

The world has been telling Pakistan to act; how? By withdrawing State support. But the bigger question is this, why do successive governments in Pakistan accommodate these Terror groups? The answer is money. Allow me to explain most of the terror groups. I just mentioned, have changed in recent years. Some of them now pretend to be charity organizations, like the Jamaat-ud-dawah, the JUD. It was run by 26/11 Mastermind half this side.

It has a body called the falah-e-insaniat Foundation. The organization functions in Pakistan, Strife ridden areas that exploit the humanitarian crises there and the failures of the Pakistan government, which are many. Now this group runs dispensaries, hospitals, ambulances, blood donation societies, and an Along with this Aid. They push hate propaganda. These communities are highly susceptible. The Jamaat-ud-dawah uses its so-called welfare services to convince young people to join its ranks. It also raises funds in various social programs, like education workshops discourses in value education.

Even mentoring courses for parents, the network spreads Beyond Pakistan; in 2018, the national investigation agency of India busted a funding racket in New Delhi; linked to this Foundation, they found incriminating documents and 1.5 crore rupees in cash, that’s close to $200,000. And that’s not all; the jamaat is also in the most foolproof business of minting money.

Terrorist or Freedom fighter

They are on the political party. It’s called the Milli Muslim League beat that a terror outfit with the political Wing. Then we have the Jaish-e-Muhammad. Masood runs it. Azhar, the man involved in the 2001 attack on the Indian Parliament. The 2008 Mumbai attacks, the 2016 Pathankot attack, and the 2019 Pulwama attack. His outfit, “The JEM,” Operates like a business Enterprise in Pakistan. It runs a charity Wing, Madarsas, magazines, Even YouTube Workshops.

Pakistan  Army
Pakistan Army

JEM Banner seeks religious donations in the name of slain terrorists. JEM members organize courses on their version of Islamic education, and JEM propagandists deliver weekly sermons openly calling for Jihad. 

Pakistan is a terrorist state, and that is a fact. The world has always known this.

Tara financing Watchdogs have also known this. So, what are we doing to fix it? Not very much. Look at the financial action task force, the FATF. It has kept Pakistan on its green list since 2018, but terra outfits, like JEM and JUD, continue to operate with impunity.  The FATF has fallen woefully short in dismantling Pakistan’s Terror infrastructure.

The Pakistan government takes cosmetic steps. Issues official decrees on Banning Terror groups. Temporarily freeze has some bank accounts, produces some documentation as proof of action. And as soon as the Affinity of the meeting is over terrorists, go back to business, the global Focus shifts away. The bands remain on paper, and the bank account starts operating again; the Menace never gets eliminated, far from it.

Terrorism works like an institution in Pakistan, the Pakistan Army, and ISIS uses it as a strategic weapon. They use it to wage a proxy war against India and Kashmir, their funding aiding and sustaining the terror machine.

Expecting them to have a change of heart will be naive and foolish. What the world needs to do is cut the financial Supply. That’s the only way to dismantle this institution, cut the pipelines that fuel terrorism. Turn the grey list into black.

Awesh Kumar
Awesh Kumar

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