Zarqawi Financial Network Independent
Douglas Farah reports that,
The U.S. Treasury Department just designated Sulayman Khalid Darwish, a Syrian, as a terrorist financier. He is the first person to be designated for directly offering financial support to the Zarqawi network (Jama’at al Tawid al Jihad) in Iraq. What is interesting about the designation is that is clearly shows a separate financial pipeline to Zarqawi, one that operates independently of the Baathist elements who finance themselves with Saddam’s cash. This separation has been the topic of some debate within the U.S. intelligence community, although my European friends had no doubt about the separation. There may even have been specific times when Zarqawi actually gave financial aid to the Baathists, when the Baathist money shipments were delayed. Darwish was responsible for sending $10,000 to $12,000 to Zarqawi every 20 to 25 days. He also is responsible for recruiting combatants for Iraq, and is an expert in forging documents. Replacing him in the latter operation may be the most difficult and most crucial for the network. While there are numerous replacements for bagmen and recruiters, a good document forger is hard to find.
The separate financial pipeline is important because it not only opens up another front that need to be dealt with in the efforts to cut off funding (as opposed to simply going after the Baathist money), but it also means that the financial needs of the Salafist/al Qaeda/Zarqawi network are growing. I have heard nothing to hint they are having any difficulty meeting these new needs, and that is bad news, indeed.
His blogmate Andrew Cochran has links to several background stories.