Forensic Accounting and Al Qaeda

A new RAND study of captured documents from Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) reveals some interesting facts about the organization. It found that “AQI was a hierarchical organization with decentralized decisionmaking; AQI in Anbar was profitable enough to send substantial revenues out of the province in 2006; AQI relied on extortion, theft, and black market sales to fund its operations in Anbar; AQI needed large, regular revenue sources to fund its operations, but its administrative leaders did not hold much cash on hand.” Significantly, the study found that “disrupting AQI’s financial flows could disrupt the pace of their attacks.”??[%comments]


"AQI needed large, regular revenue sources to fund its operations,"

.... in other words, AQI needed the U.S. govt there to provide this revenue, either directly, or indirectly!

Ian Kemmish

But, since it's a decentralised, cellular organisation, doing that is going to be just as difficult as tackling, say, drug traffickers in the US.

It's an open secret that various terrorist groups in Northern Ireland funded their operations in the same way. I wonder if any academics suggested disrupting their financial flows? I wonder if any attempts were made to actually do it? A modicum of research ought to be able to provide answers to both questions.

Some Random Economist

"AQI relied on extortion, theft...."

Since Al Qaeda supports sharia law we can all expect the members of AQI to amputate each other's hands, right?

Eric M. Jones

"AQI was a hierarchical organization with decentralized decision making;"

Organizational Theory 101: If it has decentralized decision making, then it isn't a hierarchical organization....Am I missing something?

Malice in Wonderland

Maybe they didn't teach Organizational Theory 101 at the madrassa?