Measures to cut off the flow of money to terrorist outfits including monitoring suspicious charitable organisations, had a severe effect and forced the al-Qaeda into a “catastrophic financial situation low of money,” former al-Qaeda member Fawaz Al-Otaibi revealed in an interview with Al-Watan, a daily based at Abha, Saudi Arabia, a few days after his surrender to Saudi Arabian authorities in September 2009.

A cable, dated September 8, 2009 (223974: confidential) sent from the U.S. embassy in Riyadh documented the changes in al-Qaeda recruitment plans because of a poor flow of funds. It also recorded the views of Jamal Kashoggi, editor of Al-Watan and former confidant of Osama bin Laden, who interviewed Mr. Al-Otaibi in his home before the arranged time for turning himself in.

Mr. Al-Otaibi explained in his interview that a shortage of funds had forced al-Qaeda to reduce its recruitment of fighters from abroad and how it increasingly relied on local veterans. New recruits were turned away citing insufficient resources. He also explained that al-Qaeda leaders preferred to limit the numbers of Arab fighters and focussed on recruiting youth to carry out terrorist operations in their home countries. Newly recruited foreign fighters were not allowed to participate on the front in Afghanistan, but instead were asked to join suicide bombing groups targeting countries such as Saudi Arabia.

Jamal Kashoggi advised the diplomats that the U.S. “has to come to grips” with “jihadism,” which he explained is a part and parcel of Islam. To pretend it isn't is a delusion, he insisted. “The way to reconcile this reality,” he continued to advice, is to explain to “the Muslim community that the decision to wage jihad resided not with individuals, but with the leader of the State — in this case, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques.”