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Countering Terrorist Financing

The practitioner’s point of view

Edited By Mark Pieth, Daniel Thelesklaf and Radha Ivory

Terrorists need money to commit acts of violence and sustain their operations. Measures to combat terrorism therefore aim to prevent terrorists from raising, moving and using funds or other assets. The effectiveness – and the fairness – of these measures were considered at the second ‘Giessbach’ seminar on counter-terrorist financing (CTF) organised by the Basel Institute on Governance in October 2008.
This book contains essays presented at the seminar written by practitioners and academics with extensive experience in the field of CTF. The authors offer a diversity of views on the domestic, regional and international initiatives aimed at detecting terrorist funds in the financial system, preventing terrorists from moving their money via alternative financial channels and facilitating the recovery of terrorist assets. The editors conclude with in-sights into the ongoing challenge of making CTF measures both effective and legally sustainable in the lead-up to Giessbach III in December 2009.


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GUIDO STEINBERG - Al-Qaida and Jihadist terrorism after 2001 1


GUIDO STEINBERG Al-Qaida and Jihadist terrorism after 2001 Since 2001, the term ‘al-Qaida’ has become widely synonymous with international Islamist terrorism. Whenever Islamist terrorists perpet- rate an attack – in Europe, the Middle East, South or Southeast Asia – al-Qaida is the prime suspect. Nevertheless, the Jihadist movement is a much more diverse and diffuse phenomenon than the interest in al- Qaida would suggest. Al-Qaida might be the most successful and most well-known organisation but it is only one among a larger spectrum of different actors. Groups like the Jemaah Islamiyah in Indonesia, Lashkar-e Tayyiba in Pakistan or Ansar al-Islam (Supporters of Islam) in Iraq might maintain relations with al-Qaida and follow broadly similar goals but they are not part of the al-Qaida organisation. In general, the networked character of al-Qaida has been overstated. During their years in Afghanistan, Usama Bin Laden and his supporters tried, rather, to build a hierarchical organisation with a well-controlled infrastructure of training camps and guest houses. Like terrorist groups of the past, al-Qaida profited from the support given to it by a state actor, namely, the Taliban. In some cases, al- Qaida did in fact rely on more networked forms of organisation, e.g., when it financed operations by non-members. However, this was only for the sake of more effectively targeting its enemies and not because of a particular preference for loose organisational structures. To the contrary, on a global scale, al-Qaida instigated a centralising process among Islamist militants in the 1990s. In the early 1990s, most...

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