In RadicalIslam.orgs interview with Money Jihad, we discussed how poorly the U.S. has handled the scourge of hawala, the traditional Islamic method of transferring money.
The Bush administration talked about hawala, but wasnt able to accomplish much to stop the opaque money swapping method that is often used to fund terrorism. The Obama administration has been worse, passing up a golden opportunity to seek a maximum penalty against the hawala dealer who funded the failed Times Square bomber.
The latest news that the Treasury Department has sanctioned a hawala business with branches in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iran that has transferred millions of dollars for the Taliban is somewhat encouraging.
Weve always known that these cases exist, but normally we dont even hear about them because of diplomatic sensitivities with Pakistan. The fact that the feds would go public with this information is a step in the right direction.
But in practical terms, the sanctions are largely symbolic. As Treasurys press release said, "As a result of todays action, all property in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons in which Rahat Ltd, Mohammed Qasim, and Musa Kalim have an interest is blocked, and U.S. persons are prohibited from engaging in transactions with them.
That is, unless Rahat maintains an account a U.S. bank, it is unlikely that any funds will be frozen as a result of this action.
As long as we have troops on the ground in Afghanistan, it would be somewhat more effective to treat the Afghan branch of Rahat Ltd as a military target: raid the branch, detain and interrogate its employees, and confiscate its records. Theres more intelligence to be gathered about the Talibans financials. (continue reading...)