Tuesday March 31, 2015
Frequents our ears from time to time that the organization «Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant» («Daash») / «Islamic State» is the richest terrorist group in the world, being known for collecting huge sums of money through oil smuggling, and implementation of criminal large-scale projects, kidnapping for ransom, and other means. Therefore, the target group of funds has become the axes of the five major efforts that are working on an alliance against al «Islamic state.»
On 19 and 20 March / March, both the United States and Saudi Arabia and Italy participated in the meeting, presided over the opening of "an act against the financing of the organization« Daash »" set in Rome. The first objective contained on the group's work schedule was to prevent this organization, which calls itself the name «Islamic State» of the use of "the international financial system, including the bodies of unregulated money remitters." This is an important step in the right direction because the organization «Islamic State» has found multiple ways to circumvent the system in spite of the remarkable efforts to prevent the group from the transfer of funds.
Isolate the banks in the areas controlled by the organization «Daash»
Organization «Islamic State» needs in the territory controlled by the access to banks in order to avoid dangerous to deal entirely with cash that needs to be space for storage has been robbed. It also needs to be such a force outside the territory controlled to facilitate the movement of foreign fighters and financing operations that might executed abroad. In October / October last, he gave David Cohen, who was then Deputy US Treasury Department, the word to explain where it is to organize «Islamic State» uses funds raised effectively, rely group on access to banking services in Syria, Iraq, and the possibility that provided these services to gain access to the wider international financial system. So, the US Treasury Department has focused on curbing this force.
However, the problem is that a large number of banks and branches in Syria and Iraq are located either in the areas under the control of «Daash» or organization that is fighting to control it, including branches of international banks. In Iraq alone, about 90 branches of these branches will continue to operate in the disputed areas in the provinces of Nineveh and Salahuddin, Anbar and Kirkuk. So the US Treasury Department has embarked on a joint program with the Iraqi authorities, and with the headquarters of the major banks, and others in the international financial community in order to prevent the organization «Islamic State» of the use of these branches. Banks has been closely searched for indications about financing «Daash» filed suspicious activity reports to the US authorities, which says that these reports have provided "valuable information about the financial activities in the areas controlled by the organization« Islamic State »." At the same time, is "the Iraqi central bank" financial institutions to prevent bank transfers to and from banks located in areas under the control of «Daash», while international banks that have regional branches in these areas on the transfer of employees to other branches worked. For example, the transfer of "Mosul Bank for Development and Investment" operations center to Baghdad - note that the only Bank of Iraq, which is head quartered in that northern city controlled by the organization «Islamic State».
But, in spite of these efforts, I still have «Daash» adequate access to banking services. In Syria, the Assad regime is not content to allow the banks to continue to provide services to branches located in areas under the control of the organization «Islamic State», but also seems to have used these services to promote his own business interests with «Islamic State». On March 7 / March, for example, the EU imposed sanctions on Syrian businessman with close ties to Damascus after his role as mediator in the deals were concluded by the regime to buy oil from the organization «Daash.»
In a new report on the financing of the organization «Islamic State» released last month by the "Financial Action Task Force" - actions which is a multi-national body to formulate policies to combat the financial illegal activities and promotion - it was reported that "more than twenty Syria financial institution that has a business in the territories under the control of «Daash» ", still operates there. In addition, the branches of these banks are still "connected Bmqradtha president in Damascus; and perhaps some of them still has links with the international financial system." Fortunately, most of the major financial institutions abroad is likely to cut its ties to these banks in the past few years because of the sanctions imposed by the United States and European Union countries targeted by the "Central Bank of Syria" and other local institutions. However, the "Report of the Task Force on Financial Action" emphasized that working in an al «Islamic State» land banks are still able to coordinate with some authorities, but he did not disclose the names of these authorities are doubtful. Even when it is blocking access to local banking services, the war conditions and backward situation suffered by the Syrian banking sector, "causing the introduction of these funds by force in financial institutions in the adjacent areas."
The situation repeated itself in Iraq, where he could organize «Daash» of access to international financial services in the adjacent land areas under his control. In one case studies contained in the report, "the Task Force on Financial Action" was the highlight of the continuing ability of the group to receive funds transferred to nearby areas or certain individuals, either through electronic fund transfers issued by banks or alternative funds transfer systems. According to the "sensitive financial information" compiled by the US authorities, has often been receiving these transfers "She is known for in the centers of finance, logistics and smuggling terrorist organizations and terrorists, foreign fighters areas." In other cases, the deposit was "excessive amounts of cash" in the US accounts were then sent via bank transfers to beneficiaries close to the areas controlled by the organization «Islamic State». As the withdrawal of unidentified persons of foreign money through ATMs in such areas, winners won money from bank accounts based in the United States using bank cards. In some cases, these transactions were in close coordination where large sums of money deposited in the accounts and then immediately withdrawn from ATMs near-controlled «Daash territory». Has stated that the Netherlands found similar indications that terrorists foreign fighters used debit cards "associated with their accounts at the national bank to withdraw money from ATMs located to the side of those areas where the organization« Islamic state works. »
Not used to organize «Daash» neighboring areas only to receive money from abroad, but also to Ajtaba money from Iraqi government officials who are still working in the territory under his control. For example, Baghdad may be [engaged in] pay up to $ 130 million a month to government officials in Mosul alone. I've been closing the formal banking system of the city after the wisest organization «Islamic State» control, so "sends envoys circles to Iraqi Kurdish territory or [to] collect their salaries." When share him of these funds - According to these officials come back to spend their money, cut into the «Daash» course to report "the Task Force on Financial Action", the "most likely that the group is benefiting from hundreds of millions of dollars annually by the imposition of taxes on those salaries payments staff" .
Banking schemes unofficial
Organization «Islamic State» can send and receive money also outside the formal banking system, through foreign bodies close on the transfer of funds. For example, the authorities have informed the Finnish "Task Force on Financial Action" that one of the common methods for the delivery of funds to foreign fighters is a cross sent by "concerned with the transfer of funds, which has agents in the areas adjacent to the territory controlled by the« Daash views »to finance those fighters After their arrival in Syria / Iraq. " Dutch authorities have noticed similar activity which "considers it extremely unlikely that the ... intermediaries transferring cash to close parts of the territory occupied by the organization« Islamic State ».
We have created the elements of «Daash» Other schemes also. For example, Saudi authorities informed the "Task Force on Financial Action" that individuals with link with the group may have sought help from donors across social networking "Twitter" site and asked them to communicate with them via "Skype" service. Then asked elements of these donors buy prepaid international cards (such as mobile phone credit cards and the balance of shops) and send this card numbers to them via "Skype". The information will eventually reach the followers of the group near an al «Islamic State» zone in Syria, Vimcn from the sale of these cards and bring the cash generated to the community.
Iraqi government and other actors of Finance has taken commendable steps to limit the ability of the organization «Islamic State» to keep money and converted through banks located in areas under its control. And, whenever possible, were disarmed assets and the closure of banks and the transfer of the main headquarters and staff to other branches. However, it is still in front of «Daash» ability to access to banks in Syria and to those informal money remitters and scope of the force does not stop at the "borders" organization «Islamic State».
One of the objectives of the "working group to combat the financing« Daash »" is to provide technical support and to develop countermeasures to deal with the jihadists efforts to collect and transfer funds. And is supposed to be closing the door to fraud organization «Islamic State» methods on the banking sector, one of the first goals of the group.
In the meantime, the US Treasury Department continues to work in the bilateral relations with the governments in the region and around the world in order to prevent the organization «Islamic State» of access to the international financial system. In the last week warned a delegation from the US Treasury Department was visiting the region on the banks need to guard against diversion «Daash» of funds from Gulf Arab states through Turkey or Lebanon.
However, it is clear that these efforts be associated with programs designed to access sensitive areas on the immediate border with the territory «Daash». Should aim here is to be a strict regulation and transparency, without stopping all the money flowing to these border areas. The latter solution is not realistic nor desirable, since the Alersouh under a collapsed economy not only lead to a worsening humanitarian crisis and harm the innocent civilians who are in fact Rhina to organize «Islamic State» trying to survive day to day. But, without further supervision and control over the flow of funds to the regions, "Foreign located close" of the organization «Islamic State», the group will continue to use fraudulent methods to fund the brutal and terrorist operations in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere.
Matthew Levitt: Vromr- Wexler fellow and director of the Stein Program for intelligence and counter-terrorism at the Washington Institute, has previously served as deputy assistant secretary for intelligence and analysis at the US Department of the Treasury
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