Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Jihadists Strive To Undermine U.S. Dollar

Numerous postings on Islamist websites in the past two years reflect the mujahideen's growing interest in the state of the U.S. economy. As was argued in a 2007 MEMRI analysis,(1) many of the jihadists and their supporters have come to view their struggle against the U.S. and the West as an economic war. More specifically, they have come to the conclusion that it is financial, rather than military, losses that will prompt the U.S. to change its policies in the Middle East and elsewhere. Consequently, they emphasize the importance of targeting U.S. interests around the world, and of directing their military jihad primarily at targets that affect the U.S. economy.

To view the MEMRI Islamist Websites Monitor Project, visit http://memriiwmp.org/ .

"The Dollar Can Expect Two Additional Blows That Will Break Its Back"

The mujahideen's growing interest in undermining U.S. economy is reflected, for example, in an article in the 26th issue of the GIMF's e-magazine Sada Al-Jihad (Echo of Jihad), recently posted on Al-Hesbah and on other Islamist websites.(2) The article, titled "Why the Dollar Collapsed and How America Controls the Price of Oil," discusses the factors that contributed to the devaluation of the dollar in recent years.

The author lists among the key factors the economic damage caused by Hurricane Katrina; the losses caused by the September 11 attacks; the cost of the war on terror and of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq; the U.S.'s persistent trade deficit and growing government debt; investors' growing faith in the Euro; the recent subprime crisis in the U.S.; and the fact that financial institutions around the world have started to reduce their dollar reserves, thereby flooding the market with dollars and decreasing the demand for this currency.

The author ends his analysis with the following threat: "The dollar can expect two additional blows that will break its back... [namely] the announcement of the return of the Caliphate..." and the reinstatement of the gold standard in international monetary trade.

"Get Rid of [Your] American Dollars... and Buy Gold"

A recent posting on the Al-Ikhlas forum urges the mujahideen and their supporters to sell their dollars, if they have any, because Al-Qaeda is planning a strike inside the U.S. so that it will undermine the American economy: "[I advise you] to get rid of [your] American dollars... and buy gold instead... or real estate. The next attack inside the U.S. is imminent... Zawahiri will convey his instructions [regarding this attack] in his next [message]... This attack will put an end to the so-called United States of America and destroy its economy completely... The day of the attack is very near..."(3)

Given that it is highly atypical for Al-Qaeda to give prior warning of its attacks, the message is probably an attempt to pressure Muslims to sell dollars, in order to generate pessimism in the dollar market and thus accelerate the drop in its value.

(1) See MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 387 "The Battle... Is Economic Rather than Military" – An Economically Oriented Concept of Jihad Emerges in Islamist Discourse," September 11, 2007, http://memriiwmp.org/content/en/report.htm?report=2371.
(2) http://www.myhesbah.net/v/showthread.php?t=182568.
(3) http://www.ek-ls.org/forum/showthread.php?t=152815.

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