On 8th February, a policy brief from the Washington Institute proposed that focused targeting of jihadist funds, the use of biometric data, and continued co-operation among UN member states all constitute promising answers to threats posed by the group.  It says that the group has even claimed responsibility for terrorist attacks it did not carry out; and the group no longer produces some of the online magazines for which it became famous around the world.  Despite these setbacks, the UN Secretary-General concluded in his latest report that it present s real threat.  It argues that “frustrated travelers” — meaning individuals who attempted to travel to conflict zones but were unsuccessful and remain radicalised — as well as foreign terrorist fighter returnees and those fighters who relocate to other battlefields will become more relevant as ISIL’s pool of recruits diminishes. It also says that sustaining relationships with regional affiliates and followers and supporting sympathizers around the world cost money, and despite losing access to massive oil income, the Islamic State continues to find ways to finance its insurgent and terrorist activities.  It says that UN member states report that ISIL moves money across the Middle East by means of the hawala system and cash couriers, as it did before the fall of its caliphate.  Outside Syria and Iraq, such as in Libya, ISIL continues to raise funds through extortion and checkpoints, as well as imposing taxes on human smuggling and trafficking networks.  The group also takes advantage of legitimate businesses, using them as fronts, as well as “clean” individuals able to deal with the formal financial system.  As reconstruction efforts begin in territories liberated from the Islamic State, officials fear the group may be well placed to defraud reconstruction efforts and investment in the local economy, especially through front companies in the construction and other industries.  It concludes by saying that Islamic State still poses serious terrorist threats, but it is slowly becoming a more limited and less reliable financial backer of its affiliates and operatives.

Author: raytodd2017

Chartered Legal Executive and former senior manager with Isle of Man Customs and Excise, where I was (amongst other things) Sanctions Officer (for UN/EU sanctions), Export Licensing Officer and Manager of the Legal-Library & Collectorate Support Section

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