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“ISIS is also supporting tens of thousands of militants who have been at war for months, with new recruits coming in every day.
Yet it keeps all these people answerable to them, seems to have incredible cross-border mobility and shows no signs right now of running out of money or fuel.”On October 23, Washington’s point person in the fight against ISIS—the U. Department of the Treasury’s Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David Cohen—acknowledged in a speech at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington that “[ISIS] has amassed wealth at an unprecedented pace and its revenue sources have a different composition from those of many other terrorist organizations.” ISIS doesn’t “depend principally on moving money across international borders,” he said, but “obtains the vast majority of its revenues from local criminal and terrorist activities.”This presents a formidable obstacle for the U. Treasury, which is accustomed to pursuing its enemies by pressuring established banks to expose their criminal clients.
Fake Humanitarian Aidhas learned, are also routinely laundered through unregistered charities in the form of “humanitarian aid,” with terrorists coordinating geographical drop-off points for payments using cellphone applications such as Whats App and Kik.
Not only can Whats App be used around the world but, crucially, it incorporates a GPS mapping tool that makes it easier for terrorists to communicate their exact locations to each other.
ISIS’s use of middlemen across the Middle East to smuggle cash in and out of its territory, in addition to employing decades-old smugglers’ routes, makes the group especially hard to track.
Abdulamir al-Hamdani, an Iraqi archaeologist specializing in Mesopotamia at the Department of Anthropology at the State University of New York at Stony Brook.
Its currencies of choice—cash, crude oil and contraband—allow it to operate outside of legitimate banking channels.