How Europe Nations Fund Half of al-Qaeda's Budget
By paying ransoms after kidnappings: New York Times investigation
By Shelley Hazen, Newser User
Posted Jul 30, 2014 5:32 PM CDT
A building in Timbuktu, Mali, that has been used to hold European hostages.   (AP Photo/Rukmini Callimachi)

(Newser) – Brit Edwin Dyer was kidnapped in 2009 by al-Qaeda in North Africa, along with a German and a Swiss couple. Like the US, Britain doesn’t pay ransoms and didn’t in this case—and Dyer was killed. But his fellow captives were released after their governments paid al-Qaeda a collective $10.7 million; that same year, Swiss lawmakers added a line item in their budget for humanitarian aid … code for ransom money, reports the New York Times. European governments—mostly France, Spain, and Switzerland—routinely pay al-Qaeda ransoms for captive citizens, else they be killed. In short, "Europe has become an inadvertent underwriter" of the terror group, writes Rukmini Callimachi. And it's big money: about $125 million since 2008 and $66 million last year alone.

"Kidnapping hostages is an easy spoil, which I may describe as a profitable trade and a precious treasure," says the leader of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. By one recent al-Qaeda estimate, ransoms covered half of its expenses. The group and its affiliates have become expert at all aspects of the abductions and subsequent negotiations, which include periods of silence to create panic. “Kidnapping for ransom has become today’s most significant source of terrorist financing,” says a US Treasury official. "Each transaction encourages another transaction.” Click to read Callimachi's full story, or to see a Times video of kidnappers in action.

More From Newser
My Take on This Story
To report an error on this story,
notify our editors.
How Europe Nations Fund Half of al-Qaeda's Budget is...
Show results without voting
You Might Like
Showing 3 of 22 comments
Lou Bernardo
Jul 31, 2014 4:19 PM CDT
Obama's selling the military and country down the tubes trading 5 high level al-Qaeda officers for one spineless deserter is an example. Don't just blame the Europeans. We yet have to find out who paid him to decide to do this, he's nor bright enough to arrange that on his own, no doubt his Muslum handlers are behind it.
Jul 31, 2014 12:34 PM CDT
“We can forgive the Arabs for killing our children. We cannot forgive them for forcing us to kill their children. We will only have peace with the Arabs when they love their children more than they hate us.” ? Golda Meir
Jul 30, 2014 10:54 PM CDT
Europe should use that money to build a few nuclear bombs and...