The supposed demise of Islamic State (IS) does not mean that security and related financial risk has reduced. IS has made extraordinary gains in recent years and its influence continues to inspire jihadists around the world. With IS and terrorism more generally, money is the lifeblood of any potential terrorist act. Terrorists need funds, not only to carry out attacks but also to promote militant ideologies, train new members, pay operatives, acquire weapons and sometimes carry out ostensibly valid activities to provide a veil of legitimacy for their organisation. To defeat IS, and terrorism more generally, there needs to be a better understanding of the value of financial information. All countries and businesses, as global citizens, have a responsibility to stop terrorism not only in their home countries but overseas as well. The global community must maintain a firm stance if we are to contain and restrict the influence of terrorists.

A significant factor contributing to the success of IS has been the amount of money it has been able to source. With IS controlling land, most of its funding appears to have been raised via illicit means, namely proceeds from occupation of territory including crime, extortion and threat. FATF, the inter-governmental body that develops and promotes policies to combat terrorist financing, has also highlighted bank looting, control of oil & gas reserves, cultural artefacts, illicit taxation of goods, cash that is used in territories where IS operates and taxing the salary payments to Iraqi government employees as other ways IS sources its funds.

Jan-Mar 2017 Issue

University of NSW