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British troops on patrol in Iraq (file photo) (AFP)
November 26, 2006 -- A classified U.S. government study has reportedly concluded that the Iraqi insurgency has become financially self-sustaining, with various militant groups raising tens of millions of dollars a year from oil smuggling, kidnapping, counterfeiting, and other crimes.
"The New York Times," which says it has obtained a copy of the secret report, quotes the document as saying insurgent groups are raising an estimated $70 million to $200 million a year from illegal activities, aided by "corrupt and complicit" Iraqi officials.
Foreign governments, according to the report, paid kidnappers an estimated $30 million in ransom money last year alone.
The report offers little hope that much can be done in the short term to cut off the insurgents' revenue.
"The New York Times" says the report was prepared by an interagency government working group -- including the CIA, FBI, Defense, Treasury and State Department officials -- investigating the financing of militant groups in Iraq