Rachana Pathak


This Note examines the complex mechanics of hawala networks. Part I provides information regarding their origins, scope and reasons for continued existence. Part II contrasts the U.S. approach to regulating hawala networks through the USA PATRIOT Act and Operation Green Quest, with the U.A.E.'s approach, which is resistant to some of the American-led efforts. Part II also reviews three separate Green Quest actions: 1) Al Barakaat, an expansive Somalia-based organization through which Somalia's diaspora sent cash to families abroad; 2) Hussein Alshafei, an Iraqi American, who operated a money service business to Iraq; and 3) Mohammed Albanna, a Yemeni-American, based in Lackawanna, New York, who operated a hawala service to Yemen. Part III is a critical assessment of these American-led efforts to regulate hawala networks. This Note concludes that regulating hawala operations is indeed necessary, but argues that some of the U.S. law enforcement efforts as in the Al Barakaat, Alshafei, and Albanna cases are misguided. This Note proposes that the United States actively develop region-specific hawala networks to compete with informal systems. By offering tangible alternatives to convince people to switch to institutionalized banking, the United States would be taking a more international, culturally and economically sensitive approach