An economic analysis of the financial records of al-Qa'ida in Iraq

Type Report
Title An economic analysis of the financial records of al-Qa'ida in Iraq
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2010
Publisher Rand Corporation
This monograph conducts a series of economic analyses on two collections
of documents detailing the administration of al-Qa‘ida in
Iraq (AQI) during 2005 and 2006 in Anbar province, Iraq. The documents
contain information on the group’s finances, payrolls, and
The records show that AQI was a bureaucratic, hierarchical organization
that exercised tight financial control over its largely criminally
derived revenue streams. Using attack reports and AQI’s spending
data, we find that attacks statistically increased at a rate of one per
every $2,700 sent by the provincial administration to a sector group
within the province, suggesting that AQI paid not only for materiel but
also for important expenses related to organizational sustainment, such
as compensation and rents. AQI members were paid less and simultaneously
faced a much greater risk of death than the general Anbar
population, which suggests that financial rewards were not a primary
reason for joining the group. Our findings imply that financial interdiction
is one useful tool for slowing and disrupting militant attacks,
but that neither interdiction nor material demobilization incentives on
their own will be effective in ending a militant group.
This research was conducted within the Intelligence Policy Center
of the RAND National Defense Research Institute, a federally funded
research and development center sponsored by the Office of the Secretary
of Defense, the Joint Staff, the Unified Combatant Commands,
the Navy, the Marine Corps, the defense agencies, and the defense
Intelligence Community

Related studies