Counter-Terrorism: Arab Nations Unite Against Al Qaeda


June 24, 2008:  Most Arab nations have agreed on a new set of regulations to crack down on terrorist fund raising and money laundering in their countries. Until the recent defeat of al Qaeda in Iraq, it was considered too politically risky to go after wealthy donors to Islamic radical groups. Money laundering was another untouchable area, because corruption was so common, and money laundering was part of that. But "reform" has become increasingly popular in the Arab world over the past few years, and these new counter-terrorism efforts are part of it.


It's no longer fashionable to rejoice whenever a Islamic terrorist bomb goes off in the West, or anywhere else for that matter. Since 2003, most of the al Qaeda violence has been against Arabs, and after a few years of this, public opinion turned on the Islamic terrorists. Public opinion wants these butchers shut down. This means that those who support Islamic radicalism are no longer as tolerated as they used to be.


Another aspect of the crack down on money laundering is the growing popularity of honesty is business and government. Lots of corruption is still tolerated, and many Arabs insist that corruption is "part of the culture." But the money laundering is seen as primarily criminal, a tool largely for gangsters and terrorists.


How successful these new agreements will be remains to be seen. It will be at least a year before one can tell with any certainty.



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