As Iraqi and Kurdish troops (with Americna assistance) fight to retake Mosul, a report from the House Homeland Security committee sheds considerable doubt on the administration's efforts, and future ability, to cut the funding of terrorist groups like ISIS. From the report:
• The U.S. Government lacks a national strategy to counter ISIS and similar terror groups’ fundraising tactics.
• Despite recent setbacks, ISIS’ rapid global expansion and its diverse revenue sources continue to strain the U.S. Government’s ability to disrupt the group’s financial flows.
• The Obama Administration has weakened America’s no-negotiation stance toward terrorist groups who kidnap U.S. persons, and it has failed to take meaningful action to deter foreign governments from making ransom payments to ISIS and other terror groups.
• The U.S. Government lacks clarity about the extent to which terrorist groups like ISIS are using online fundraising platforms to generate income.
• The U.S. Government has largely failed to develop a comprehensive government-wide approach to help foreign partners build the capacity to combat terror financing.
• Efforts by foreign partners to crack down on ISIS’s cross-border smuggling and facilitation networks have so far been inadequate.
• Too few countries have effective financial intelligence units to connect the dots and disrupt terrorist transactions.
• ISIS has been able to withstand targeted sanctions because few countries enforce them.
• Many foreign countries rely on a patchwork system to share expertise and prosecute terror-related financial crimes, increasing the odds that terror financiers will slip through the cracks.
• Domestic and international law enforcement agencies have not put high-enough priority on tracking black market sales of cultural artifacts and antiquities, which have become a significant source of terrorist revenue.
• The U.S. Government does not have standardized internal controls in place across federal departments and agencies to prevent terrorists from using charities, nongovernmental organizations, non-profits, and humanitarian groups to raise and move money covertly.
• Gaping weaknesses in reporting and oversight standards for hawala transactions hamper efforts to identify ISIS financiers and hold financial institutions accountable.
• ISIS has been able to adapt to battlefield setbacks and generate new sources of revenue to support the group’s mission.
• ISIS continues to receive financial assistance from supporters in permissive Gulf State countries.
The next adiminstration will have its work cut out for it trying to reduce the money flows to ISIS and its ilk...because it seems few governments are truly interested in the task.