January 25, 2007

The Easy Movement Of Terrorists

It wasn't until I read Digby's post about Bush's ongoing Strangelovism, which indeed should hardly be news, that I really noticed this other largely untrue thing Bush said in his state of the union address:

... The enemy knows that the days of comfortable sanctuary, easy movement, steady financing, and free-flowing communications are long over. For the terrorists, life since 9/11 has never been the same. ...

Just a couple days ago, I wrote here about an article on Taliban fundraising based on Asia Times reporting on the Afghan finance network for the insurgency in that country. Once more, with feeling:

... Jalil's contacts and relatives in Banaras Colony had already tapped up people to make contributions, so the meeting was more of a formal handing over of the money, and an opportunity for him to say thank you.

Fellow Taliban sitting beside Jalil had already been to other places in Karachi and Lahore to gather money for their respective fronts in Helmand and Kandahar.

... In essence, this is the traditional tribal system of taking care of their own, without the sophistication of a modern financial system.

... Sardar Shaukat Popalzai is the president of the Balochistan Economic Forum, which conducts research on economic trends in Balochistan. Being connected with the royal Popalzai tribe of Afghanistan, Shaukat also keeps good track of the economic situation in Afghanistan.

"There are only 100 members of the Chaman Chamber of Commerce, but there are over 3,500 importers and exporters in the Chaman market," Shaukat told Asia Times Online.

... "If you get the chance to go to the Japanese cities of Nagoya and Osaka, you will see Chaman businessmen operating successfully there. They have such an edge over everybody that they have ample cash liquidity - so much so that they can occupy whole floors of five-star hotels for months whenever they visit Japan," Shaukat said.

... The UAE, though, remains the hub for the Taliban's finances, ... Taliban commanders who have not yet made it on to any wanted list frequently visit the UAE, where they link with the Afghan diaspora to make financial appeals in support of the Afghan resistance. ...

There are no border guards along the Afghan-Pakistani frontier. The nomadic tribes throughout the Arabian peninsula wander where they want at will. Refugees from war torn countries, Palestinians, Iraqis and Afghanis might get pushed away when they show up destitute at their neighbors' doors, but mostly, these countries have borders that are more like the former arrangements between the US and Canada than like the hostile divide between the US and Mexico.

Their financial systems are based, as the article notes, on tribal custom and religious obligations. According to a news article on Shia religious organizations, mirrored in Sunni culture as well, that I wrote about some years ago, these networks can be quite formal and extensive. The original link is dead but some of the quotes can be found at the original blogspot post about some of the Saudi charity money that found its way to the 9-11 hijackers through a third party not proven to have any connection to the original donor.

A Shiite ayatollah or Sunni cleric gains a following not only through their writings and pronouncements, but through managing the obligatory charitable donations made by their followers and dispensing them to the needy in their communities and networks. The organizations set up to handle them can be as simple as your typical US soup kitchen, or approach the complexity of a government public welfare office. They can perform work as ad hoc as Hezbollah's rebuilding of homes in Lebanon after the Israeli shelling or as stable as the educational services of Ayatollah Sistani's charitable schools. Particularly wealthy individuals may have similar arrangements, or may merely donate to established religious charities. Such giving is mandated in Islam and is integral to Middle Eastern culture. The vast majority of it is benign to benevolent, nothing you couldn't find equivalents to among private western charities. These are people we're talking about, not demons, much as we may strenuously disagree with some of their goals or activities.

However, the system's general use for good or evil isn't really the point. It's that the Taliban aren't going to be inconvenienced because they can't open a Citibank account. A large, dead-tree, neighbor-to-neighbor, give-'til-it-hurts culture of charity exists within the Muslim world that isn't going to go away and is ripe for the co-opting by groups that want to appeal to it.

All of the NSA's computerized bank scanning won't crack it. All of the cell and satellite phone taps in the world won't pin it down.

It's a goodwill network, a system of handshakes. As might be suspected, goodwill and trust are the prime currency, almost secondary to the actual cash exchanged. The Taliban have currency in this system, which is unfortunate in the extreme, but true. The United States has worked to build none during Bush's term in office.

That the president fails to acknowledge this means that he's fundamentally out of touch with yet another reality on the ground. And you can't fix a problem you won't acknowledge.

Posted by natasha at January 25, 2007 01:56 PM | War on Terrorism | TrackBack(1) | Technorati links |

Jeez, what a great effing site you guys have. Where are all the comments?

Count me a new regular reader.

Posted by: ohdave at January 25, 2007 07:52 PM

Christianity discredited? The desastrous consequences of the Bush era: a report from Cologne Germany where Muslim extremists have no probs any more cause Bush thrashed morality

Turkish as dutysubject from 5th grade

50 children shall learn with

"multicultaral international perspective"

Starting with the next school year

the first German Turkish high school

wants to go at work

"We´re no elite school, but want to promote

people the elite way" says the chairman

of the Turkish-German academical federation,

Alp Sarac, self-confident (quite taken away from

his actions). One would create an offer for

talented children who want to grow up

with a "multicultaral international perspective."

That would promise the best expectations for the

professional (active) life.

The (Turkish-German) academical federation,

in which Turkish-rooted people of Cologne

engage in education and equality of chance and

better perspectives for immigrationchildren,

shall not only be a sign for the

educationlandsape of Cologne.

He wants to let 50 children participate in a

special fostering. In summer the startout

will be with 2 5th grades in Buchheim

(a suburb of Cologne Germany on the east side

of the river Rhein). There the club has an own

house, the former employment office.

One wants to achieve that the classes consist

for fifty percent out of children from migrant


The project is ambitioned, though the body

dissociated from its original plan to

start as a bilingual or trilingual high school.

The 5th graders will only start out with

2 languages. English and Turkish are duty subjects.

Teaching language is German.

The school does all-day schooling with creative

courses and musical courses as well as

target-language fostering in German and English

and Turkish in the afternoon also.

"We want to care for the children and accompany

them thru their school career" says Sarac.

The club can lay back on year-long experience

in home-work care and coaching at locations

in Cologne and Bruehl and recently Wesseling.

The district government of Cologne, that

has to permit the "replacement school"

(instead of an ordinary school), can discern

at the moment no reason for stopping the

startout scheduled for summer.

"The applicants are being set up well,"

said speaker August Gemuend.

The examination of such an application

would be very comprehensive and would include questions

for the background of the body of the school.

The foundation of German-Turkish high schools had raised critical questions for a possibly problematic background of the body of the school in Berlin.

Turkey and Islam experts maintain of the divisive

Turkish preacher Guellem and his environment that he wants

to found Turkish-islamistic Eliteschools worldwide.

Goolen lives in the USA in exile, after he got problems

with state and justice in Turkey. The appearance

of Goolen reminds insiders of the way of sects and

organisations like scientology.

Arp Sarac denies a connection to Goolen, but

also doesnt want to stamp him as the devil.

Goolen would be an often read "constructive thinker who

doesnt know no dogmas."

The (Turkish-German)"academical federation of Cologne

would be an "independent club," that finances itself out of

donations from citizens living here and from donations of

parents (parental donations).

Posted by: ccokz at January 26, 2007 01:36 AM