United States foreign policy initiatives spurred on the spread of al Qaeda, which is still a formidable force around the Middle East and elsewhere.
This new report from the Los Angeles Times comes on the heels of independent and also mainstream media reporting on the Obama administration’s financial support for al Qaeda groups, and against the backdrop of massive EU-sanctioned Islamic migration onto the European continent.
Seventeen years later, Al Qaeda may be stronger than ever. Far from vanquishing the extremist group and its associated “franchises,” critics say, U.S. policies in the Mideast appear to have encouraged its spread…
The group has amassed the largest fighting force in its existence. Estimates say it may have more than 20,000 militants in Syria and Yemen alone. It boasts affiliates across north Africa, the Levant and parts of Asia, and it remains strong around the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.
It has also changed tactics. Instead of the headline-grabbing terrorist attacks, brutal public executions and slick propaganda used by Islamic State (Al Qaeda’s one-time affiliate and now rival), Al Qaeda now practices a softer approach, embedding itself and gaining the support of Sunni Muslims inside war-torn countries.
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The Middle East Forum has discovered that the Obama administration approved a grant of $200,000 of taxpayer money to an al-Qaeda affiliate in Sudan — a decade after the U.S. Treasury designated it as a terrorist-financing organization,” according to the report. “More stunningly, government officials specifically authorized the release of at least $115,000 of this grant even after learning that it was a designated terror organization.”
In October 2004 the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated the Khartoum, Sudan-based Islamic Relief Agency (ISRA) to be a terrorist organization. The group was a known fundraiser for Osama bin Laden’s terror group Maktab al-Khidamat, which preceded al-Qaeda.
“Despite this well-documented history, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in July 2014 awarded $723,405 to World Vision Inc., an international evangelical charity, to ‘improve water, sanitation and hygiene and to increase food security in Sudan’s Blue Nile state,’ according to the report. “Of these funds, $200,000 was to be directed to a sub-grantee: ISRA.”
USAID was alerted by World Vision in November 2014 of ISRA’s terrorist designation, and subsequently OFAC confirmed to the humanitarian group that ISRA was indeed on the list of terrorist organizations.
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