This article presents the results of two case studies focused on the linkages between diamonds and the terrorist groups al-Qaeda and Hezbollah.
Results indicated weak and conflicting evidence for the linkages between the diamond trade and al-Qaeda and Hezbollah. While many sources reported interactions between the diamond trade and the terrorist organizations, the language used to describe these interactions was vague and little direct evidence could be produced linking diamond trade funding to al-Qaeda and Hezbollah. However, taken as a whole the available evidence suggested terrorists groups or people associated with them appeared to be active in diamond transactions, although members of al-Quada did not appear to be as seriously involved in the diamond trade as members of Hezbollah. While direct links were not uncovered, the authors warn that there is vulnerability in the gems sector that may allow for future use by terrorist organizations. Vulnerabilities include the ease of mining and transportation for diamonds as well as the difficulty in tracing their origins. Steps should be taken to make the gem industry more transparent and accountable in order to prevent and detect financial misconduct in the industry. Research methodology involved interviews with U.S. law enforcement officials, the Belgium Federal Police, investigators from the United Nations, reporters, industry people, and academics. Researchers also reviewed transcripts and evidence from the West African embassy bombings trial, the research literature, and public and confidential reports. Future research should continue to probe the linkages between the gem industry and terrorist organizations. Footnotes, references