Caucasian contribution to the funding of jihad
by Joseph “Soso” Zaalishvili
Anyone who thinks that jihad is a just war that simply begins one day, he is profoundly mistaken.
Jihad involves the teaching of Islam, the spiritual state of the Mujahedeen, and even more importantly, a lot of money.
I want to present one of the schemes for the financing of jihad which is well tested in the Caucasus.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1992, economic crisis reigned in the Caucasus. The population of the North Caucasus regions of Russia (Chechnya, Dagestan, Kabardino-Balkaria, and Ingushetia) and the new states (Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan) needed new jobs and economic stability.
Jihadists have always considered the Caucasus their territory, and actively began economic expansion to help the people of the Caucasus in the development of small businesses.
Citizens of Azerbaijan, Dagestan, Chechnya and other Muslim parts of the Caucasus received goods produced in Arab countries and Pakistan as practically free, as gifts.
A senior official of Chechen jihadist intelligence explained the origin of these items: these products were zakat (Islamic assistance to the needy). Goods sold in the Caucasus funded jihad in the Caucasus.
According to him, in the jihadist movement, there are special economic groups whose responsibilities include the establishment of business relations with the authorities of countries. So it was in Azerbaijan and Georgia. The jihadists fed the people with cheap products and earned money to continue the jihad.
In the Christian republics of the Caucasus, such as Georgia and Armenia, the jihadists are trying to establish business relationships with the law enforcement authorities of these republics, as serious business in post-Soviet republics is invested in the representatives of the power structures.
This scheme of funding jihad has been successfully operating today.
A significant portion of financial assistance that Georgia receives from the United States is spent on the purchase of household goods and food products manufactured in Islamic countries such as Iran, Turkey, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, etc.
Georgian armed forces take part in anti-terror operations in Afghanistan and Iraq and the Georgian nation is proud of it, while the government is encouraging economic relations with Iran.
If the international community does not treat seriously the issue of the financing of jihad in this way, the economy of the Caucasian republics so reaches out to the financial interests of the jihadists that they will lobby their political interests, and serious signs of this already exist in Georgia. There is a visa-free regime including Iran, Turkey and the North Caucasus, while in Georgia there is no official list of terrorist organizations, such as Al-Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood, Hezbollah, the Caucasian Imamate, etc. In Georgia, they are not officially considered terrorist organizations.