Crooks Scam Terrorists’ Families

From Strategy Page comes this latest scam, though in this case, not out of Nigeria (yet).

The latest criminal racket in the Middle East is to scam money out of the families of al Qaeda terrorists who have gone to Iraq and, well, disappeared. Several thousand Saudi Arabian men have gone to Iraq to fight for al Qaeda…. But this has provided opportunities for crooks in Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Syria. When these fellows find out about a young man who has gone off on jihad to Iraq, they contact his parents with the news that their son is in trouble, and that money can make it all better. The story varies, from the kid getting kidnapped, or arrested, in Syria or Iraq. The families, whether they approved of their lad’s terrorist intentions or not, are usually eager to get him back. Money is sent, and the scammers are never heard from again. Sometimes it turns out that the kid in question has not even left Saudi Arabia yet, or got stuck in Syria, unable to get across the border. In other instances, the young fellow does get killed in Iraq, and his parents never hear anything more. It’s often impossible to identify suicide bombers after they carry out their homicidal mission.The people who set them up, and set them on their way, often do not get word back to the parents.

I find it ironic that Iraq, that was the source of Saddam’s Martyrdom award of $25,000 to the families of terrorist bombers against Israel, is now the source of a scam against the “holier than thou” Saudis, owners of the holy cities of Medina and Mecca (when was the last time you heard “the holy city of Rome?”).

I do wonder if the families involved supported their children’s decision to “fight the infidel,” or if their gullibility to the scam shows that they too are victims of radical Islam? Or is this part of the fatalist world-view that seems to be prevalent in this region of the world, as the old Golda Meir quote goes, “There will be peace when the Arabs love their children more than they hate us.” Who knows if the individual families here are “reaping what they sowed,” or are grieving victims (as opposed to the Saudi welfare system that leads to many “idle hands”) .

Another concern I have is whether this could be an indirect method of funding further terrorist acts – the scam artists have to get the terrorist “suicide” bomber IDs from someone.

FILED UNDER: Iraq War, Middle East, Terrorism, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , ,
Richard Gardner
About Richard Gardner
Richard Gardner is a “retired” Navy Submarine Officer with military policy, arms control, and budgeting experience. He contributed over 100 pieces to OTB between January 2004 and August 2008, covering special events. He has a BS in Engineering from the University of California, Irvine.


  1. John Burgess says:

    Just being snotty here, but the formal name of Vatican City is “The Holy See”. You really shouldn’t be conflating Rome with the Vatican, however… they even have different stamps and passports!

  2. Tracy says:

    I think it’s criminal gang taking advantage of the pious Wahhabis who do support their sons’ martyrdom. It’s reminiscent of the Afghanistanis who cashed in by telling coalition forces that practically anybody and everybody was Al Qaeda. Think of all the men who were shipped off to Guantanamo who were subsequently released when it was determined they had no ties to Al Qaeda.

    What I’m curious about is the Zarqawi family’s public disavowal and “lifting of tribal protection.” If Zarqawi turns up dead on account of his own tribe phoning in his whereabouts hours after the disavowal, will Arabs start to question the tribal culture? It suggest that all along this tribe could have stopped the relentless massacres of Iraqi civilians.