Thu, 10 Mar 2005

Failed states protect al-Qaeda

Jinichi Matsumoto, The Asahi Shimbun, Tokyo

Loretta Bondi, director of the Cooperative Security Program at the Center for Transatlantic Relations at Johns Hopkins University, asked me if I knew Liberia had made a lot of money from its ties with the terrorist group al-Qaeda.

Liberia is a small country in western Africa with a population of about 3 million. With almost no resources to speak of, it is one of the world's poorest countries, and it relies on registering foreign ships that fly Liberian flags of convenience to earn much-needed foreign currency. The per capita gross annual income is a meager US$150 (15,750 yen). How can such a country make a fortune?

Al-Qaeda provided weapons to Liberia's rogue president and had it agree to the purchase of diamonds in return, Bondi said.

Charles Taylor, Liberia's president from 1997 to 2003, was once arrested in the United States for embezzling public funds. He escaped from prison, returned to his country and joined a civil war as a way to rise to power.

Taylor maintained ties with anti-government guerrillas in Sierra Leone, Liberia's western neighbor, from the time of the Liberian civil war. Sierra Leone is a well-known producer of diamonds. Taylor supplied the rebels with weapons and ammunition and received payment in diamonds. As a result, diamonds worth billions of dollars flowed into Liberia.

Taylor beat out his opponents to become president in 1997. As soon as he took office, he started lining his pockets. The registry fees for ships that flew Liberian flags of convenience were deposited in Taylor's personal account instead of government coffers. He also kept the diamonds he took from Sierra Leone for himself. Liberia's case is a classic example of what is known as a "failed state."

Al-Qaeda emerged as the buyer of the diamonds, and their sale is said to have made a profit of nearly $10 million in the four years from 1998.

A Russian named Victor Bout, a former KGB agent, sold the diamonds in Europe and the United States. Bout established an airline company in Dubai and set up regular flight routes linking Liberia, Afghanistan and Europe.

Such dubious figures are common to failed African states. More often than not, al-Qaeda lurks in their shadows.

Chased by anti-government rebels, Taylor was forced to flee to Nigeria in August, 2003. But Liberia still remains a failed state and the al-Qaeda connection is still believed to be alive.

The minimum duty of a state is to secure the safety of its people. If failed states that have neither the will nor the capability to protect their people are left as they are, they immediately become a base for dangerous forces.

The east African nation of Somalia, which is in a state of anarchy, is a typical example.

On Nov. 28, 2002, in Kenya, which shares its northern border with Somalia, a car driven by a suicide bomber crashed into an Israeli-owned hotel in the coastal city of Mombasa, killing 16 people, including Jewish tourists.

Around the same time on the same day, an Israeli passenger plane that took off from Mombasa airport was targeted in a missile attack. Thanks to such defense mechanisms as flares and aluminum chaff, the missile narrowly missed the target.

After the incident, a group of Islamic radicals affiliated with al-Qaeda claimed responsibility for the attempted attack. The CIA believes perpetrators went into action using missiles and ammunition they had stored in Somalia.

In Kenya, the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi was also bombed on Aug. 7, 1998. More than 200 people died. Also in this attack, Somalia is believed to have served as a terrorist base.

Somalia, whose government is dysfunctional, has no passport control. Anyone arriving on Somalia's shores by boat can enter or leave the country without a passport. Terrorists are free to bring in bombs and missiles. Since there is no police presence, they would not be searched. In failed states, anything goes.

Bondi said there are many other failed states. Afghanistan, which was al-Qaeda's first base, was made a failed state by the former Soviet Union.

Iraq, which did not tolerate the presence of Islamic radicals in the past, has now become a haven for them. In this case, unless the United States is careful, it could be blamed for making a failed state out of Iraq.





News Search/Filter
Transaction Rates
17 Oct 18
Buy
Sell
AED1
4,141.07
4,141.07
AFN1
200.00
200.00
ALL1
140.59
140.59
AMD1
31.42
31.42
ANG1
8,569.33
8,569.33
AOA1
50.52
50.52
ARS1
423.53
423.53
AUD1
10,858.36
10,858.36
AWG1
8,448.12
8,448.12
AZN1
8,934.44
8,934.44
BAM1
9,004.48
9,004.48
BBD1
7,605.45
7,605.45
BDT1
179.57
179.57
BGN1
9,003.57
9,003.57
BHD1
40,350.42
40,350.42
BIF1
8.49
8.49
BMD1
15,210.90
15,210.90
BND1
10,785.86
10,785.86
BOB1
2,200.85
2,200.85
BRL1
4,083.13
4,083.13
BSD1
15,210.90
15,210.90
BTC1
97,700,589
97,700,589
BTN1
206.69
206.69
BWP1
1,429.32
1,429.32
BYN1
7,214.06
7,214.06
BZD1
7,568.80
7,568.80
CAD1
11,758.18
11,758.18
CDF1
9.31
9.31
CHF1
15,357.25
15,357.25
CLF1
607,270.04
607,270.04
CLP1
22.74
22.74
CNH1
2,200.65
2,200.65
CNY1
2,200.64
2,200.64
COP1
4.91
4.91
CRC1
25.61
25.61
CUC1
15,210.90
15,210.90
CUP1
590.71
590.71
CVE1
159.44
159.44
CZK1
681.55
681.55
DJF1
85.45
85.45
DKK1
2,360.18
2,360.18
DOP1
304.54
304.54
DZD1
128.68
128.68
EGP1
849.34
849.34
ERN1
1,014.18
1,014.18
ETB1
545.75
545.75
EUR1
17,609.16
17,609.16
FJD1
7,139.77
7,139.77
FKP1
20,059.76
20,059.76
GBP1
20,059.76
20,059.76
GEL1
6,188.94
6,188.94
GGP1
20,059.76
20,059.76
GHS1
3,137.58
3,137.58
GIP1
20,059.76
20,059.76
GMD1
307.55
307.55
GNF1
1.67
1.67
GTQ1
1,968.42
1,968.42
GYD1
72.76
72.76
HKD1
1,940.85
1,940.85
HNL1
631.87
631.87
HRK1
2,374.42
2,374.42
HTG1
213.80
213.80
HUF1
54.70
54.70
IDR1
1.00
1.00
ILS1
4,177.22
4,177.22
IMP1
20,059.76
20,059.76
INR1
207.04
207.04
IQD1
12.76
12.76
IRR1
0.35
0.35
ISK1
128.88
128.88
JEP1
20,059.76
20,059.76
JMD1
113.78
113.78
JOD1
21,438.80
21,438.80
JPY1
135.39
135.39
KES1
150.69
150.69
KGS1
221.92
221.92
KHR1
3.72
3.72
KMF1
35.79
35.79
KPW1
16.90
16.90
KRW1
13.54
13.54
KWD1
50,187.90
50,187.90
KYD1
18,253.04
18,253.04
KZT1
41.42
41.42
LAK1
1.78
1.78
LBP1
10.07
10.07
LKR1
89.02
89.02
LRD1
96.88
96.88
LSL1
1,054.49
1,054.49
LYD1
10,999.87
10,999.87
MAD1
1,611.46
1,611.46
MDL1
892.72
892.72
MGA1
4.29
4.29
MKD1
286.31
286.31
MMK1
9.50
9.50
MNT1
6.11
6.11
MOP1
1,884.09
1,884.09
MRO1
42.60
42.60
MRU1
423.70
423.70
MUR1
442.82
442.82
MVR1
984.52
984.52
MWK1
20.91
20.91
MXN1
811.05
811.05
MYR1
3,662.25
3,662.25
MZN1
251.38
251.38
NAD1
1,054.02
1,054.02
NGN1
41.81
41.81
NIO1
473.40
473.40
NOK1
1,867.72
1,867.72
NPR1
129.18
129.18
NZD1
10,014.09
10,014.09
OMR1
39,511.39
39,511.39
PAB1
15,210.90
15,210.90
PEN1
4,565.70
4,565.70
PGK1
4,534.33
4,534.33
PHP1
282.56
282.56
PKR1
115.16
115.16
PLN1
4,107.61
4,107.61
PYG1
2.55
2.55
QAR1
4,177.67
4,177.67
RON1
3,773.49
3,773.49
RSD1
149.01
149.01
RUB1
232.85
232.85
RWF1
17.28
17.28
SAR1
4,054.77
4,054.77
SBD1
1,916.18
1,916.18
SCR1
1,116.88
1,116.88
SDG1
322.30
322.30
SEK1
1,707.13
1,707.13
SGD1
11,066.47
11,066.47
SHP1
20,059.76
20,059.76
SLL1
1.81
1.81
SOS1
26.27
26.27
SRD1
2,039.54
2,039.54
SSP1
116.77
116.77
STD1
0.72
0.72
STN1
716.81
716.81
SVC1
1,738.55
1,738.55
SYP1
29.53
29.53
SZL1
1,056.27
1,056.27
THB1
468.00
468.00
TJS1
1,613.89
1,613.89
TMT1
4,345.98
4,345.98
TND1
5,385.33
5,385.33
TOP1
6,596.53
6,596.53
TRY1
2,671.83
2,671.83
TTD1
2,256.63
2,256.63
TWD1
495.16
495.16
TZS1
6.64
6.64
UAH1
544.65
544.65
UGX1
4.02
4.02
USD1
15,210.90
15,210.90
UYU1
461.08
461.08
UZS1
1.85
1.85
VEF1
0.06
0.06
VND1
0.65
0.65
VUV1
136.84
136.84
WST1
5,816.37
5,816.37
XAF1
26.84
26.84
XAG1
222,976.18
222,976.18
XAU1
18,633,729.83
18,633,729.83
XCD1
5,628.35
5,628.35
XDR1
21,279.99
21,279.99
XOF1
26.84
26.84
XPD1
16,482,705.56
16,482,705.56
XPF1
147.56
147.56
XPT1
12,817,490.07
12,817,490.07
YER1
60.75
60.75
ZAR1
1,072.69
1,072.69
ZMW1
1,258.28
1,258.28
ZWL1
47.18
47.18
Taxation Exchange Rates
31 Aug 16 - 06 Sep 16
USD 1
13,232.00
AUD 1
10,043.30
CAD 1
10,213.70
DKK 1
1,999.40
HKD 1
1,706.22
MYR 1
3,283.28
NZD 1
9,623.63
NOK 1
1,605.23
GBP 1
17,433.70
SGD 1
9,757.68
SEK 1
1,569.45
CHF 1
13,631.10
JPY 100
13,101.00
MMK 1
11.01
INR 1
197.29
KWD 1
43,920.70
PKR 1
126.23
PHP 1
285.00
SAR 1
3,528.53
LKR 1
91.12
THB 1
382.08
BND 1
9,756.53
EUR 1
14,885.50
CNY 1
1,987.61

Okusi Associates: Indonesian Business & Management Services