Counter-Terrorism: Sometimes, Corruption Is Good

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December 21, 2010: Sometimes, corruption is good. For example, a recent study by Russian scholars revealed that the billions of dollars sent to Russia to encourage more conservative, and radical, Islam, has mostly been stolen or misappropriated. It all began when Russian intelligence revealed that it had identified nearly 200 companies, banks, companies and Islamic radical groups involved in funneling some $10 billion into Russia since 1991 (when the Soviet Union, and its police state collapsed.) Much of this money came from Islamic charities (in oil rich Moslem countries) that seek to make Moslem populations in the West more eager to persuade, or coerce, their infidel (non-Moslem) neighbors to convert.

The money was funneled to existing Moslem institutions and leaders in Russia. What the donors failed to realize was that many of these leaders were quite corrupt, largely from over half a century of dealing with a communist government that only tolerated religious organizations if they served the communist state. The alternative was death. It was an offer you couldn't refuse. When the Soviet Union dissolved, the corrupted religious leaders sought to maintain their positions, often seeking salvation in prayer. For many Moslem leaders, salvation came in the form of huge amounts of cash from Islamic charities. The Russian Islamic leaders knew that getting involved with terrorism was a no-win situation. Russians tend to respond very violently to such threats, and are especially nasty if religion is involved. Accustomed to operating in the shadows and handling cash off-the-books (that's how business was done in the Soviet era), the Russian Moslems fleeced the foreign charities and those seeking to set up terrorist operations. The Russian clerics already had connections with the police (a corrupt force that largely survived the collapse of the Soviet Union), so arrangements were made to split the money, and feed the cops a steady supply of cash and foreign terrorists. The cops and clerics got rich, and 90 percent of the money never got near Islamic radicals or terrorists.

Except for the rebellious Chechens (who have always been particularly troublesome), there has been little Islamic terrorism in Russia, despite a large number of Moslems (six percent of the population). The Moslems were largely bought off, using money intended to make Moslems more Moslem, and dangerous.

 

 


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