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Mansoor Ijaz

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This article is part of the Center for Media & Democracy's focus on the fallout of nuclear "spin."

Mansoor Ijaz (also found as Musawer Mansoor Ijaz, Musawer Ijaz, and Musawer M. Ijaz), an American Muslim of Pakistani ancestry, is a New York financier. [1] Ijaz is a prominent businessman and a frequent media commentator on terrorism, foreign policy and national security especially in relation to Pakistan, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Business interests

Ijaz is founder and chairman of Crescent Investment Management LLC, which was formed in 1991, is a private equity investment firm with the principal partners being Ijaz, Lt. Gen. James Alan Abrahamson and German architect Joachim Hauser. (The Crescent Partnerships was a name used until 2004 to refer to the wider group of Crescent-related companies).

As of February 2006 companies that are related to Crescent Investment Management LLC are:

  • Crescent Technology Ventures PLC (CTV), a publicly quoted company on the AIM Market of London Stock Exchange whose directors and advisers include Ijaz Chief Executive, Abrahamson, chief technology officer, Lt Gen Tom McInerney (USAF Ret), non-executive chairman, and Amb R James Woolsey, chairman of the Board of Advisers. CTV is "developing homeland-security technologies" [2] with a focus on "Internet and cyber-security, air and seaport cargo container security, stratospheric telecommunications platforms and alternative energy development." [3]
  • Crescent Hydropolis Resorts PLC (CHR), a London Stock Exchange (AIM) quoted company founded in 2005 which Ijaz is chief executive of, "which is franchising and constructing the world's first underwater hotels and resorts. Proposed sites for Hydropolis Hotels include Dubai, Oman, Monaco, Las Vegas, Rio de Janeiro and Qingdao." [4]

Background

According to Benador Associates Ijaz's biography states that he "received his SM degree in mechanical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1985 where he trained as a neuro-mechanical engineer in the joint MIT-Harvard Medical School Medical Engineering Medical Physics Program. He received his bachelor's degree Magna Cum Laude from the University of Virginia in 1983, where he majored in Physics. In the late 1980s, he applied the extensive modeling experience he gained at MIT and Harvard to develop The CARAT System, Crescent's proprietary currency, interest rate and equity risk management system." [5]

"Ijaz's father, Dr. Mujaddid Ahmed Ijaz (deceased), a prominent American physicist, was an early pioneer in developing the intellectual infrastructure of Pakistan's nuclear program," his profile states. [6]

Ijaz, who has "family connections with Pakistan's intelligence establishment," [7] has appeared as a foreign affairs commentator in numerous media outlets including on Fox News, CNN, the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, National Review and other outlets. (See the full list of outlets at Articles & Commentary by Mansoor Ijaz). A late 2001 biographical note on CNN states that he "consults regularly with the U.S. government in the areas of nonproliferation, counterterrorism and the Islamic world." [8] Ijaz is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. [9]

Ijaz as a political donor

Ijaz has been a major donor to Democratic Party campaigns and candidates. This includes:

The Washington Post noted that Ijaz raised a total of $525,000 for the Democratic Party. This included "$250,000 from his personal funds and $200,000 donated by guests at a fund-raising reception for Vice President [Al] Gore at Ijaz's New York penthouse in September, according to Federal Election Commission records, White House documents and Ijaz," the Washington Post reported. [14]

Ijaz told the Washington Post that political contributions helped at least gain initial access to decision makers. "Everybody knows who I am. Donations give you access once or twice. But in order to be meaningful in the policy process, you have to have something important to say, and information." [15]

Ijaz told the Washington Post's reporter that his "political credentials" with the Democrats were useful internationally citing Pakistan, Azerbaijan, Israel and various Persian Gulf states as examples. "Their leaders wouldn't give you the time of day if you're not politically prominent." [16]

Issues and debates Ijaz has been involved in

Bin Laden & Sudan

Commencing in 1996, Ijaz had a series of meetings with Sudan's president, Lt. Gen. Omar Hassan Bashir and the Islamic leader, Hassan Turabi and with Clinton administration officials including Sandy Berger. Both the United Nations and the U.S. Congress had imposed sanctions against the Sudanese government over the continued operation of terrorist groups on it soil. In February 1996 the U.S. government ordered the withdrawal of all its Embassy staff based on concerns about their security. (There were differences of opinion on how real the security threat was). [17]

Ijaz argued the U.S. should adopt a policy of "constructive engagement" [18] with Sudan and, in return for providing intelligence data on the terrorist groups and deporting Osama bin Laden to Saudi Arabia, ease the sanctions. Saudi Arabia refused to accept bin Laden. The U.S. government believed there were no legal grounds under which he could be indicted in U.S. courts at the time. On May 18 1996, under pressure from the U.S. government, the government of Sudan deported bin Laden. He then made his way to Afghanistan. [19]

Subsequently, Sudan made further overtures via Ijaz in July 1996 and April 1997 to the U.S. offering counter-terrorism assistance and access to intelligence data. In September 1997 the Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright announced she was sending a team of U.S diplomats back to Sudan, a decision reversed a few days later.

In the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon Ijaz and others accused the Clinton administration of having bungled an opportunity to catch bin Laden. [20] The accusations have been rejected by Clinton administration officials including Sandy Berger and Susan Rice.

The following year, others, such as the conservative website NewsMax and Fox News's Sean Hannity, went further than Ijaz and claimed that Sudan had offered to extradite bin Laden direct to the United States. [21] [22][23] The National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (also known as the 9/11 Commission), stated that "former Sudanese officials claim that Sudan offered to expel Bin Ladin to the United States. Clinton administration officials deny ever receiving such an offer. We have not found any reliable evidence to support the Sudanese claim." [24]

See Mansoor Ijaz, bin Laden and the Sudanese Government for a more detailed account of this controversy.

The Al Qaeda/Hussein connection

Ijaz has been on the forefront of arguing in his National Review Online pieces and elsewhere that there was a connection between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda. [25][26]

Kashmir

Commencing in 1999, Ijaz became involved in efforts to broker a ceasefire in Kashmir between Muslim militants and Indian security forces. [27][28] [29].

Pakistan & India , Nuclear Proliferation and the A.Q. Khan Nuclear Black Market Network

Following revelations in 2004 that Pakistani nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan had been selling nuclear know-how and technology to other countries, Ijaz expressed alarm at the risks of nuclear proliferation and urged Bush to make funding contingent on compliance with acceptable nuclear safeguards. "Pakistan has a right to maintain its nuclear deterrent. It does not have the right to hide from the world how many nuclear monsters it created in our midst," he wrote. [30][31]

Ijaz has also advocated the U.S. increase military support for the Pakistani Government, especially the sale of F-16s. [32]

Miscellaneous

Ijaz appeared in the 2004 Citizens United film Celsius 41.11. The Temperature at Which the Brain Begins to Die, a.k.a. The Truth Behind the Lies of Fahrenheit 9/11, "Featuring Fred Thompson, Bill Sammon, Charles Krauthammer, Fred Barnes, Victoria Toensing, John O'Neill, Michael Ledeen and Mansoor Ijaz." [33]

Speaking June 25, 2005, at a one-day conference organized by the Fulbright Commission in partnership with the City Circle, Mansoor Ijaz, "a multi-millionaire American entrepreneur who has established close links with the American administration, explained how American Muslims must understand how the US political system works in order to use it to the advantage of their community. He urged delegates to see themselves as citizens of their country first, and campaign on issues not as Muslims, which may alienate mainstream, but as citizens who seek what’s in the best interest of their country. He justified his relationship with Fox News saying that it was the only way to bring balance to what is a widely viewed channel."

Other affiliations

  • Advisory Board Member, Rebuilding Afghanistan Foundation [34]
  • College Foundation Board of Trustees at the University of Virginia [35]
  • A member of the Council on Foreign Relations [36]

Related SourceWatch resources

Links to articles by and about Ijaz