�Gavin Finch and Ed­ward Robin­son

Bloomberg Businessweek (North America) - - Global Economics -

money. But the bank couldn’t get com­fort­able with the char­ity send­ing money into Syria. More­over, Chris­tian Aid planned to rely on hawala, a cen­turies- old sys­tem of mov­ing cash around the Mus­lim world that op­er­ates out­side for­mal bank­ing chan­nels. Un­der hawala, some­one in Lon­don who wants to send money to a rel­a­tive in Syria vis­its a lo­cal bro­ker, hands over the cash, and, in re­turn, re­ceives a code. The rel­a­tive uses this code to col­lect the funds at the other end, and the two bro­kers set­tle at some later date.

Char­i­ties use hawala be­cause it’s of­ten the only way of get­ting cash into a coun­try that doesn’t have a func­tion­ing bank­ing sys­tem. But since Sept. 11, U.S. au­thor­i­ties have tar­geted some hawala net­works for help­ing ter­ror­ists move money. “They are not pre­pared to take any risk in­side Syria,” says Guy, who had to ditch the field-kitchen project. “That’s their right. It’s just dis­ap­point­ing.”

The bot­tom line Char­i­ties such as Oxfam work­ing in war zones are hav­ing trou­ble trans­fer­ring money: Banks don’t want to fund ter­ror­ists ac­ci­den­tally. Crude oil pro­duc­tion at month’s end, bar­rels per day Saudi Ara­bia $119 U.S. Record high

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