European Ransoms Keep al-Qaida Afloat
European states have become al-Qaida’s primary financiers, according to the New York Times, having secretly paid $165 million in ransom money since 2008. Under the guise of providing development aid, governments use multilayered transfer systems to ensure the release of their citizens. Critics argue that European governments are not only underwriting terrorists, but also incentivizing kidnapping. And while their citizens usually get out alive, captives from the U.S. and U.K. — both of which refuse to pay ransoms — haven’t fared so well.