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

Blood from Stones

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Press Releases

Near East Review

Oct. 11, 2004

Jewels for Jihad

A Fascinating New Book By Douglas Farah Explores How Hizballah And Al-qaeda Exploit The West African Diamond Trade.

In the compelling new book Blood From Stones: The Secret Financial Network of Terror (Broadway), author Douglas Farah details how al-Qaeda has exploited West Africa's illicit "blood" diamond trade to keep its financial empire thriving and virtually untraceable through techniques learned from Hizballah.

Having investigated these matters since he first stumbled upon them in 2000 as The Washington Post's bureau chief for West Africa, Farah takes his readers to the war-torn, corruptly governed nations of Liberia and Sierra Leone, where Hizballah established the connections and "business models" that have also been utilized by Osama bin Laden's terror network.

In an interview after the publication of Blood From Stones, Farah told NER that while he is uncertain if al-Qaeda continues to operate in West Africa, "Hizballah is still definitely in Sierra Leone and Liberia." Moreover, Farah said, "Hizballah's networks that exist are good at smuggling people, drugs, weapons, cigarettes--they don't have any trouble moving anything they want to at all."

One former U.S. counterterrorism analyst confirmed Farah's assessment, telling NER that there are active "smuggling routes, services and recruitment" that were provided to al-Qaeda from the networks that were originally set up by Hizballah in West Africa.

As the Associated Press reported last June, U.S. diplomats are charging "Lebanon's Hizballah guerrilla movement is siphoning profits from West Africa's diamond trade, in part by threatening Lebanese diamond merchants."

"One thing that's incontrovertible is the financing of Hizballah. It's not even an open secret; there is no secret," Larry Andre, deputy chief of mission for the U.S. Embassy in Sierra Leone told the Associated Press.

Farah's Blood From Stones not only shows how Hizballah and al-Qaeda are able to finance terrorism by exploiting weak states and a loose diamond trade, but how, absent major efforts to stop such practices, the war on terror could become increasingly difficult to win.

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