MESOPOTAMIA NEWS Funding in Place: Local Financing Trends Behind Today’s Global Terrorist Threat

Katherine Bauer and Matthew Levitt –  ICCT Journal  November 18, 2020

Two former U.S. Treasury officials provide an in-depth look at how geography, ideology, and a host of practical concerns shape the manner in which terrorists raise, store, and move their funds.

The following is an excerpt from a paper originally published as part of Evolutions in Counter-Terrorism, a special-edition journal by the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism in The Hague.

Over the last decade, the terror finance landscape has changed dramatically. The proliferation of un- or under-governed spaces has allowed terrorist organisations to exploit local populations and resources to support their operations. Together with a trend toward self-radicalised lone actors and self-financed individuals or small cells, this has led to a discernible trend toward localised terrorist financing, or funding in place. As a result, some now call into question the value of traditional tools used to counter the financing of terrorism (CFT). Such critiques typically focus on the ineffectiveness of financial sanctions against territory-controlling terrorist organisations and/or the difficulty financial institutions face in identifying and flagging terror-related transactions. However, the idea that the focus of CFT efforts is primarily on tracking the movement of funds through bank accounts and investigating reports of suspicious activity is false…

Full text