Terrorism: September 5, 2002


: Napoleon might have been right about an army marching on it's stomach, but it fights on it's checkbook. On 3 September, the Washington Post reported that Al Qaeda had moved large quantities of gold out of Pakistan to Sudan in the last few weeks, transiting through the United Arab Emirates and Iran. Boxes of gold, disguised as other products, were taken by small boat from the Pakistani port of Karachi to either Iran or Dubai. From there, they were mixed in with other goods and flown by chartered airplanes to Khartoum, the Sudanese capital.

European and U.S. intelligence officials said the movement of gold also highlighted three significant developments in the war on terrorism: 

1) Iranian intelligence and the country's hard-line clerics growing role in protecting and aiding al Qaeda

2) The reemergence of Sudan as a financial center for the terrorist organization.

3) Al Qaeda's ability to generate new sources of revenue, despite the global crackdown on its finances.

Some of the chartered planes used to transport the gold were linked to Victor Bout, the Russian arms merchant worthy of a James Bond story. Bout, whom US officials have called the largest arms merchant in the world, maintains more than 50 aircraft in the United Arab Emirates. American experts note that Bout has long had dealings with the Taliban, flying in weapons and medicine for the group when it governed Afghanistan. - Adam Geibel


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