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Monday, August 8, 2011     FOR YOUR EYES ONLY

Cash crunch: Al Qaida raises funds online to 'feed widows and orphans' of 'the martyred'

BAGHDAD — Al Qaida has appealed for funds to support its network in Iraq.


Al Qaida in Iraq has acknowledged that it lacked money for support operations in the insurgency war in Iraq. A leading Al Qaida agent said this has hampered payment to families of those killed in attacking Iraqi and U.S. targets.

"A few days ago a brother was martyred, leaving behind a wife and children," Al Qaida Web site administrator Seif Saad said. "There is no need to explain how we were running here and there to collect money for their minimum requirements of life."

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In a statement on July 26, Saad said Al Qaida urgently needed money for the families of those killed in operations. He said Al Qaida was trying to support thousands of widows and orphans of casualties.

"We need this to feed widows and orphans," Saad, who represented the Al Qaida-aligned Islamic State of Iraq, said in a statement on an Al Qaida forum.

On July 26, an Al Qaida fighter and his two children were killed when a car bomb exploded prematurely near Kirkuk. Earlier, officials reported the dismantling of an Al Qaida cell that killed more than 100 people in Baghdad.

The appeal came in wake of U.S. intelligence assessments that Al Qaida in Iraq was encountering increasing financial difficulties. The assessment said Al Qaida has sought to raise money through criminal activities, including bank robberies.

This marked the third Al Qaida appeal in less than a year. In 2010, Al Qaida also appealed for money for operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Al Qaida has urged its fighters to help raise their own funds for operations. In his statement, Saad proposed that operatives use their weapons to extort Iraqi and foreign companies as well as news agencies and wealthy families. The protection money, he said, should amount to two percent of assets.

Not everybody agreed with Saad. Another Al Qaida website administrator, who gave his name as Mohammed Abdul Hadi, said extortion should be used only against Iraqi Shi'ites.

"All the Shi'ites, including merchants or government officials, are infidels and confiscating their money is part of jihad," Abdul Hadi wrote in the Al Qaida forum.

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