The Sunrise – Famagusta, Cyprus 1972 – Victoria Hislop

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Famagusta, Cyprus 1972

The Sunrise is the remarkable story of Famagusta.

History comes to life  – Famagusta was once the most desirable resort in the Mediterranean.  A couple are planning to open a luxury hotel such is the desire to enjoy the sun and good fortune that the island is enjoying. Greeks and Cypriots work and live in harmony and life is good.

However elsewhere on the island, life is not so good and in fact many of Famagusta’s  40 000 inhabitants  are those who have escaped the ethnic violence of elsewhere.

With tensions rising as well as the heat, a Greek coup destroys the peace and Turkey invades to protect its people. People are forced from their homes and their lives are in danger. Two families remain. Victoria Hislop tells their story.

Place and setting

The map as seen in the novel The map as seen in the novel

In 1972 Famagusta…

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Finances of jihad: How extremist groups raise money

Twelve months ago, the group now known as Islamic State (IS) was little recognised on the international stage beyond those inspired to travel and join the group as fighters or those in the security and academic worlds monitoring developments in Syria and Iraq.

Even at its emergence, it was dismissed as just another of the multitude taking advantage of the chaos created in Syria by the wide-ranging conflict with President Bashar al-Assad.But within a few months, IS controlled a vast and valuable swathe of territory across northern Syria and Iraq.

Article en français sur :Irak : comment se finance l’État Islamique, le groupe terroriste le plus riche au monde

Financing jihadism

Annual income and sources

  • Islamic State: sale of oil, tolls and ‘taxes’ $2bn
  • Afghan Taliban: donors, sale of drugs$400m
  • Al-Shabab: sale of charcoal and ‘taxes’up to $100m
  • Boko Haram: kidnap for ransom, fundraising $10m
  • Al Nusra Front: donations, kidnap for ransom $ unknown

New realities

More than with any other militant group perhaps, the focus of the international community’s attention is on the finances of IS – the revenue it earns from oil, taxation, extortion and looting.

The US-led coalition has directed a considerable portion of its air strike effort against the oil refineries and smuggling routes believed to be the mainstay of the group’s financial survival in the belief that disrupting funding sources will ultimately precipitate its demise.


Securing and maintaining reliable funding is the key to moving from fringe radical group to recognised terrorist organisation – from a hand-to-mouth existence to a more planned and organised model.

Successful groups are often defined as much by their skills as financial managers as they are by their military expertise and ability to recruit fighters.

In general, terrorist groups can draw on financing from two primary sources

  • Internally, funds are generated by taxation of people, businesses and transport routes; proceeds from kidnap and ransom; and profits from trade
  • External funding is provided by donors sympathetic to the cause, be they wealthy supporters (often from Gulf state countries, sometimes referred to as the “Golden Chain”) or members of the diaspora community


Al-Shabab in Somalia is a good case in point. Whilst the group receives some limited funding from external sources, it has developed a highly effective charcoal export business which generates up to $80m a year,according to the UN.

Al-Shabab has also mastered another funding tool – business, personal and transport tax. Like IS, al-Shabab controls territory and population, operating a form of quasi-government in the areas under its control – raising taxes and offering some services, particularly security and justice, in return

The control of territory also allows lucrative businesses, such as the growing of opium poppies in Afghanistan, to flourish.

Over $7bn has been spent on fighting the drugs trade in the country yet despite 13 years of a Nato-led effort, poppy cultivation is at an all-time high, with the Taliban exploiting Afghanistan’s position as the supplier of over 90% of global opium output to earn up to $150m a year.

But not all groups control territory containing populations ripe for taxation and extortion.

Based in the vast, sparsely inhabited regions across the Sahara and Sahel, AQIM raises its funding from two main sources

  • Abduction of foreign tourists and workers for ransom in a trade which is believed to have earned the group close to $100m over five years
  • Control over smuggling routes for drugs which are flown in from Latin America along “Highway 10” – referring to the 10th parallel – as the most direct route across the Atlantic en route to Europe

The Haqqani Network, based in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region, also relies on smuggling as a key source of finance.

Hostage trade

Kidnap for ransom is increasingly used by terrorist groups.

Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which is based in Yemen, is estimated to have earned $20m this way between 2011 and 2013.

Serge Lazarevic spent three years in captivity in Mali before being freed while Philippe Verdon (right) was killed in captivity

The UN underlines the profitability of this trade, revealing recently that terrorist groups are estimated to have earned $120m in ransom payments from 2004-2012.

IS alone is believed to have raised up to $45m in just the past year.

So if terrorist groups are to establish themselves, survive and thrive, they need to develop reliable sources of financing based on the territory, population and resources where they operate.

That Al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) recognised the critical importance of finance is clear from declassified documents captured in Iraq following the 2003 invasion in which the group identified poor money management and irregular income as critical contributors to the group’s failure.

Funding is clearly the lifeblood of a terrorist organisation. It is also its Achilles’ heel.



Des regards croisés sur l'Europe et le Moyen Orient

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