November 12

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MODERN JIHAD: Tracing the Dollars Behind the Terror Networks

Loretta Napoleoni

Economist, political analyst and novelist Loretta Napoleoni has spent several years interviewing former members of Italian armed groups. Thanks to her unique insight into the management of armed organizations, she has written a book on a new shocking phenomenon: the economics of terrorism

Modern Jihad: Tracing the Dollars Behind the Terror Networks propels the reader into the netherworld of illegal organizations. From the Contras to Al Qaeda, Loretta Napoleoni maps out the arteries of an international economic system that feeds armed groups the world over with an endless supply of cash. Chasing terror money, she takes the reader from CIA headquarters to the smuggling routes of the Far East, from the back rooms of Wall Street to hawala exchanges in the Middle East.

The 'economy of terror' that Napoleoni identifies is a 1.5 trillion-dollar fast-growing economic system. It is made up of illegal businesses such as arms and narcotics trading, oil and diamonds smuggling, as well as charitable donations, profits from legal businesses and an intricate system of finance. Most importantly, Napoleoni reveals the interdependency between economies run by armed groups and western economies. This ranges from the consumption of narcotics to the production of arms, and from the recycling of illegal money to speculation on the stock markets, as occurred prior to 9/11.

Loretta Napoleoni is the first author to tackle the issues raised by September 11th 2001 from a specifically economic perspective. Presenting an astonishing array of evidence, taken from extensive research and interviews, the book is a fascinating account of controversial issues that lie at the heart of many of today's international problems. Revealing how the 'new economy of terror' has evolved by proxy through various wars -- from the Cold War to Al Qaeda -- Napoleoni argues that today's Islamic terror groups are driven by real economic forces in the Muslim world. They are the same forces that have been hindered in the last century by the economic interests of both the West and its allies, the oligarchic powers of the
Middle East.

Shifting the focus away from religious and cultural differences, Napoleoni assesses the full extent of the role of the West in developing the economies of armed organizations and provides a valuable insight into real factors dividing 'East' and 'West'.