One of the consequences of our contretemps with the Russians is that we’re experiencing a Great Relearning of things they learned in long conflict with Chechen and other Islamists. One of them is this: attacking terrorist funding and logistics only goes so far, because compared to national armies or security services, terrorism runs on a shoestring budget. It is by its very nature an economy of force operation.
Recent analysis of high-profile terror attacks inspired by ISIL in France bears this out. We have edited the excerpt below: we have inserted values in $USD based on today’s rounded exchange rate ($1.22=£1), further rounded to the nearest $500 or so.
The string of attacks in France, which have killed more than 200 people in less than two years, were funded by jihadis selling cheap ‘made in China’ clothes and accessories on the black market, as well as insecure consumer loans.
Researchers at the Centre for the Analysis of Terrorism in Paris combed the bank accounts of bloodthirsty jihadis behind the Charlie Hebdo, Bataclan and Nice attacks.
The perpetrators of the January 2015 attacks, which targeted Charlie Hebdo and a Jewish supermarket – Amedy Coulibaly and brothers Chérif and Saïd Kouachi – spent a combined total of £23,000 ($28,000).
More than £18,000 ($23,000) was used to buy a range of heavy weapons, including two sub-machine guns and two semi-automatic pistols, and a rocket launcher.
Heavy weapons? Well, it’s an English paper. If they looked in many of our readers’ gun rooms or safes, they’d go up like Guy Fawkes. FOOM!
Between them, Coulibaly and the Kouachi brothers killed 17 people: 12 people were killed in the attack on the Charlie Hebdo newsroom, and four people were killed in the attack on a Jewish supermarket. A female police officer was also shot dead by Mr Coulibaly.
The November 13 Paris attacks – when shootings at the Bataclan theatre and bomb blasts left 130 people dead and hundreds more wounded – were the most “expensive and complex” said the CAT researchers, and cost the radical Islamists a total of £73,000 ($89,000).
According to French weekly le Journal du Dimanche, where the study was published, ISIS chiefs gave each terrorist £2,600 ($3,000) to spend on the attacks – the rest they paid for themselves.
Two of the attackers, brothers Salah and Brahim Abdeslam, ran a bar in Molenbeek, Belgium, and took money directly from the till.
Hasna Aitboulahcen, the cousin of Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the ringleader behind the Paris massacre, gave the terrorists £3,500 ($4,500) before blowing herself up.
The extremists spent £24,000 ($30,000) on travel, £17,000 ($21,000) on secret hideouts, and £14,000 ($17,000) on suicide vests and guns, including six AK-47 rifles.
In addition, the ISIS executioners spent £10,000 ($12,000) on rental cars, and £7,000 ($8,500) on phones and fake ID.
The Nice attack, which took place on July 14 whilst crowds were busy celebrating Bastille Day, the French ‘Independence Day’, was the least expensive, and cost ISIS fanatic Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel no more than £2,200 ($2,500).
Mr Lahouaiej-Bouhlel, who has been described as a “sex-obsessed, pork-eating alcoholic”, used the money to buy a gun and to rent the 19-tonne lorry he used to plough through the Bastille Day crowds. The ISIS convert killed 86 people during the attack, including 30 Muslims.
CAT researchers also said that suspected terrorists’ bank accounts should be checked on a regular basis, as keeping an eye on their financial transactions could help prevent future attacks.
You should be reassured that, while the Diverse Vibrancy coming to a refugee shelter near you could very well kill you, at least they won’t be profligate spendthrifts whilst doing you, and they will dispatch you in a practical, economical manner.
The linked article says that surveillance of the suspected jihadis’ bank accounts might help to expose them — a few paragraphs where it describes how several of them scammed the necessary money off of cash businesses and thefts. That’s what passes for deep thinking in Journalistan.
Jamming their money up, or watching their money, is not going to be effective when they need very little money. It’s reminiscent of the great extremes and risks our special operations forces and airmen took to bust trucks on the Ho Chi Minh trail, when the while North Vietnamese combat effort in South Vietnam needed only 4,000 to 6,000 pounds of supplies of all classes daily. It sounds like a lot, but consider this: you not only had to bust trucks, you basically had to bust all of them, because the enemy ran his whole war on less than 2-3 trucks a day. But MacNamara never thought that one all the way through. (Show us your shocked face, on a screwup by Mac?)