The 10th anniversary of 9/11 was different for the Americans. The decade-long wait is over and even the perpetrator of 9/11 is dead. This 9/11 was also the first anniversary when Americans felt contented by the very fact that their revenge is over and they have again proved their supremacy over the world. But then, this very celebration amidst sorrow is far from complete. Perhaps the chief operative of 9/11 is dead, but the modus operandi is still active and running. Neutralizing Osama is just half the task done, but the very system that allowed Osama to execute the entire 9/11 episode, still thrives. Amidst the entire hullabaloo, what got swept under was the manner in which the entire operation was funded. It is a lesser known fact that the funding for 9/11 had its roots in Africa, and it was all possible because millions of Westerners bought stones that had been (since the last four decades or so) hyped up as the most precious gifts for women. Yes, I’m here talking about diamonds, or rather conflict diamonds – to be more precise, those that with time have earned the title of being ‘blood diamonds’. Several investigative reports post 9/11, including UN war crime reports, have revealed that the Al Qaeda joined Liberian President Charles Taylor in the African diamond trade, which was used for terrorist activities. The terrorists used illicit diamonds as currency for funding their operations, as the demand for illicit diamonds remains high, while tracking the movement of the same is extremely tedious.

If one goes back in time, the entire episode of conflict diamonds started post World War II, when natives of Sierra Leone, working for the British army, returned home to find that their nation was still being looted by the British. Although diamond mining was not just confined to Sierra Leone, what was unusual particularly in Sierra Leone was that unlike other parts of Africa where diamonds were found in specific zones only, diamonds in Sierra Leone were spread all across its geographic expanse, which made the loot easier and plentiful. Gradually, the natives (early 1950-60s) started mining these diamonds illegally and then selling them in the local market. Since the mining was in open fields (alluvial zones), security and protection became virtually impossible. The British used a police force to deter these natives from mining; but then, eventually, the natives learnt the art of warfare (thanks to the soldiers who returned home) and with time, illegal mining started to flourish. Moreover, Lebanon gave the natives of Sierra Leone the market they needed. Along with trade facilities and a thriving market, Lebanon provided the natives with mining equipments and tools as well. These diamonds also made their way to Liberia, since Liberia was a dollar-based economy and had flexible laws – selling and purchasing these diamonds became easier and in due course, they started getting traded internationally.    
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