Is it just a coincidence that more US helicopters are being shot down now after a recent report claiming that Saudi citizens have been funding the insurgency in Iraq, and that some of the money is being used to buy anti-aircraft equipment?
US Military Chopper Down Northwest of Baghdad
Report: Chinook Shot Down; Fifth US Helicopter in 18 Days Downed
Posted 4 hr. 34 min. ago
Eyewitnesses say the Ch-46 Sea Knight Helicopter was shot down. AP quotes Pentagon sources as saying seven aboard killed. Al Qaeda in Iraq released a statement claiming responsibility for shooting down the helicopter, which has capacity of 25 passengers. Witnesses say a missile brought down the helicopter. Video from the scene showed the wreckage in flames.
posted December 8, 2006 at 11:00 a.m.
Report: Private Saudi citizens funding Iraqi insurgents
Riyad officials deny 'organized terror financing' for Sunnis to buy weapons, including anti-aircraft missiles.
By Tom Regan | csmonitor.com
The Associated Press reports that "key Iraqi officials" say private Saudi citizens are providing millions of dollars in funding to Sunni insurgents in Iraq. Much of the money is used to buy weapons.
The Iraqi officials interviewed for the article say most of the money comes from "private Islamic donations inside Saudi Arabia, known as zakat." The zakat is one of the five pillars of Islam, and all Muslims are obliged to give it, primarily for the "poor and needy." Some Saudis know where the money goes, the officials say, but others give the money to Islamic clerics and don't know where it goes.
The two Iraqi officials said that while some of the funding goes to Iraqi Sunni leaders, who then disburse it, other channels are being used to send money directly to insurgents. Among them are Iraqi drivers working on road links between Iraq and neighboring countries.
Several drivers interviewed by the AP in several Middle East capitals said Saudis have been using religious events, like the annual hajj pilgrimage to Mecca and a smaller midyear pilgrimage, to send money into Iraq on buses that carry returning pilgrims.
"They sent boxes full of dollars and asked me to deliver them to certain addresses in Iraq," said one driver who would give his name only as Hussein for fear of reprisal. "I know it is being sent to the resistance, and if I don't take it with me, they will kill me."
AP also says an Iraqi Sunni cleric used US $25 million to buy an anti-aircraft missile from Romania on the arms black market.