Merchant of Death
Money, Guns, Planes, and the Man Who Makes War Possible

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A Bit More on Dawood Ibrahim and Why He Matters
Because of the high interest in my recent post on Dawood Ibrahim and requests for more information, I am adding to that the little more that I know and have learned in recent days.

Ibrahim is known to have at least 8 passports, all issued by India and all from Mumbai, where the recent attacks occurred. He uses well over a dozen aliases, which he uses, along with the names of henchmen and family members, to owe properties around the world, including in United Arab Emirate, Australia, Canada and Pakistan. He is also deeply involved in the informal hawala money transfer trade that moves billions of dollars a year, primarily among Pakistan, the Arab Peninsula and India.

This ability to cross relatively unimpeded between the worlds of legal business, organized criminal activities (kidnapping, extortion, drug running, smuggling of all kinds) and terrorism makes Ibrahim one of the primary "shadow facilitators" in the criminal-terrorist nexus.

Like Viktor Bout, Monzar al Kassar, A.Q Khan and others, these individuals are part of multiple networks, so targeting them brings the added value of making life more difficult for several organizations at the same time.

What makes Ibrahim so interesting is that he is Indian by birth, but now works with Pakistani radicals (and possibly, from time to time, with the ISI), making him, in the eyes of the Indian government, a traitor. This is particularly true given his role in funding Pakistani groups claiming the Kashmir, which is a flashpoint in India.

Yet, like A.Q Khan, he is able to find refuge in the Arab world, primarily, like Khan, Bout and others, in the United Arab Emirates, specifically in Dubai.

Like Bout, he seems to have sensed the new world of opportunities opening to him with the end of the Cold War and the rapidly changing international landscape, particularly the changes that globalization would bring.

In this sense, he was one of the pioneers of the shadow facilitator. While amassing his fortune, he funded the 1993 murderous Islamist attacks that killed more than 200 people, in a series of spectacular attacks that resemble the recent carnage. At that time, he was already deeply involved in the heroin trade, something he would then ply on behalf of the Taliban in later years.

Through his now famous D-Company, Ibrahim set out to acquire businesses and properties around the world. Through front companies, nominee share holders and other practices common in the new grey market world emerging, Ibrahim managed to acquire great wealth and show it off, yet have little of it in his name or directly traceable to him. The acquisitions also gave him great access to countries and cities around the world.

It is worth noting that Ibrahim owns multiple commercial properties in Karachi, from where the terrorists left for the recent attacks.

Despite what some commentators have said on previous blogs, there is a strong belief among some in intelligence community that Ibrahim provided the initial boat the terrorists boarded, before boarding a smaller fishing vessel at sea.

The lone survivor, in transcript published by the Financial Timesdoes not name Ibrahim but makes it clear multiple ships were involved in the journey.

We boarded the said launch and after journey of 1 hour we boarded a bigger ship by name Al-Huseini in the deep sea. While boarding the said ship, each of us was given a sack containing 8 grenades, one AK-47 rifle, 200 cartridges, 2 magazines and one cell phone for communication.

Then we started towards Indian coast. When we reached Indian waters, the crew members of Al-Huseini ship hijacked one Indian launch. The seamen from the said launch were shifted to Al-Huseini ship. We were then boarded the hijacked Indian ship. One Indian seaman was kept along with us.

At the gun point, he took us towards the Indian coast. After journey of about 3 days, we reached near sea shore of Mumbai. While we were at some distance from the shore, Ismail and Afadulla killed the Indian seaman, (Tandel) at the basement of the said Indian launch. Then we boarded floatable dinghi and reached Budwar Park Jetty as per the instructions received earlier.

The Ibrahims of the world matter. Attacking them should be among the highest priorities, not only in combatting radical Islamists, but the power of organized crime that is merging with it.

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