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Late 1985: Slush Funds Enable Cash to Be Siphoned Off from Huge Arms Deal to Afghan Mujaheddin

After the governments of Saudi Arabia and Britain sign the massive Al Yamamah arms deal, “unconventional aspects” of the deal mean that money can be diverted for a variety of purposes. The arms being purchased by Saudi Arabia are paid for not in cash, but in oil, with between four and six hundred thousand barrels a day being bartered to finance the weapons. This enables the Saudis to evade production caps put in place by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). Although most of the money realized from the oil should theoretically go to the British as payment for the arms, some of it apparently finds its way back to Saudi Arabians. It is then used to support a number of covert programs to arm anti-Communists supported by Saudi Arabia, such as the purchase of weapons in Egypt that are then sent to the mujaheddin in Afghanistan. (Coll 2008, pp. 289) It is possible that some of the money is used to finance a missile purchase by the bin Laden brothers for Arabs fighting in the Soviet-Afghan War (see Mid-1986).


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