A recession-driven income slide? Or a brand in terminal decline? Whatever the origin of its money worries, al-Qaida’s latest appeal for funds reveals a group struggling with a fall in donations for its attacks on the West.
In an audio message posted in militant web forums on June 10, 2009, the group’s leader in Afghanistan Mustafa Abu al-Yazid said militants were short of food, weapons and other supplies needed to fight foreign forces there.
The complaint, the latest appeal by Qaeda leaders in the past 18 months, echoes a June 3 request from Osama bin Laden for supporters’ “charity and support” for the militant network’s operations in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
But most agree it is a combination of tighter curbs on charities in the Arab world, a drop in lucrative al-Qaida kidnapping and extortion campaigns in Iraq and the wallet-thinning effect of recession on donors and sympathizers.
Some speculate it also shows a drop in ideological support.