Terrorism Financing

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  • An ancient sculpture of a god's face superimposed over source code, images by Adolf and kentoh/Adobe Stock

    Report

    How to Track and Disrupt the Illicit Antiquities Trade

    May 12, 2020

    The sale of stolen cultural property provides an important funding source for terrorist organizations and rogue states. New evidence compiled from numerous open sources shows how the illicit antiquities market operates and ways law enforcement might be able to disrupt it.

  • Armed fighters over a background of Syrian, Iraqi, and U.S. currencies and gold ingots, photos by zabelin, Cimmerian, Vitoria Holdings LLC, and johan10/Getty Images

    Report

    U.S. Efforts Are Essential to Counter an Islamic State Comeback

    Aug 7, 2019

    The Islamic State can no longer rely on local funding sources as it did when it controlled territory. But as an insurgency, its expenses are far lower. With revenue from criminal activities and the cash it hoarded, the group will survive as a clandestine terrorist movement. Counterfinance, intelligence, and possibly military action will be needed.

Explore Terrorism Financing

  • Commercial Book

    Terrorism, Inc.: The Financing of Terrorism, Insurgency and Irregular Warfare

    This in-depth, historical analysis of terrorism investigates the major funding streams of terrorists, insurgents, guerrillas, warlords, militias, and criminal organizations throughout the world.

    Jun 15, 2015

  • Testimony

    A Survey of Terrorist Financing: Addendum

    Document submitted on June 12, 2015 as an addendum to testimony presented before the House Financial Services Committee, Task Force to Investigate Terrorist Financing on April 22, 2015.

    Jun 15, 2015

  • Smoke rises after what activists said were clashes with Islamic State fighters in Soran Azaz, Aleppo countryside June 1, 2015

    Commentary

    Islamic State's Global Expansion

    The radical Islamist group, also known as ISIS or ISIL, is now expanding in roughly a dozen countries across Africa, the Middle East, and Asia by exploiting local grievances, doling out money, and leveraging its battlefield successes.

    Jun 4, 2015

  • Members of al Qaeda's Nusra Front man a checkpoint in Idlib, Syria, March 30, 2015

    Testimony

    Breaking the Bank: Undermining Terrorist Financing

    Undermining the financing of terrorist groups must be done as part of a broader effort to undermine terrorist ideology. Policies should focus on the most significant threats to the United States and utilize tools that target the ways these groups finance themselves.

    Apr 22, 2015

  • An Iraqi soldier rides in an armoured vehicle in Salahuddin province, Iraq, March 4, 2015, where Islamic State militants set fire to oil wells in the Ajil field east of the city of Tikrit to try to hinder aerial attacks aimed at driving them from the oilfield

    Commentary

    Oil Bonanza: Good News for the World

    World oil prices have fallen by more than 40 percent since June 2014 and over the next several years prices are more likely to fall than to rise. The global economy will benefit hugely from this shift, and it's possible that global security will also benefit from lower oil prices.

    Mar 31, 2015

  • Report

    Foreign financing of Islamic institutions in the Netherlands: A study to assess the feasibility of conducting a comprehensive analysis

    The report presents the results of a study assessing the feasibility of conducting a full analysis of the size and scope of foreign funding of Islamic institutions in the Netherlands and the possible conditions under which funding may be provided.

    Mar 26, 2015

  • Militant Islamist fighters wave the ISIS flag atop a tank on the streets of northern Raqqa province, Syria, June 30, 2014

    Testimony

    Countering ISIL's Financing

    Stolen oil, extortion revenue, and access to international financial systems have enabled ISIL to build wealth. Helping Iraq and regional partners target financial facilitators and local revenue sources can reverse ISIL funding.

    Nov 13, 2014

  • Oil barrels under a clear, blue sky

    Commentary

    The Upside of Lower Oil Prices

    Movement toward sharply lower oil prices should be a prominent component of any strategy directed at disabling many of the world's most disruptive threats: Iran's nuclear development, ISIS, Hamas attacks on Israel, and Russia's threat to Ukraine.

    Oct 17, 2014

  • A man holds up a knife as he rides on the back of a motorcycle in celebration after Islamic State militants took over Tabqa air base, in Raqqa, Syria, August 24, 2014

    Commentary

    Hit the Islamic State's Pocketbook

    The Islamic State is the world's richest terrorist group, with estimated assets of $1 billion to $2 billion. Airstrikes may disrupt the flow of oil and profits, but they won't lead to the group's financial ruin anytime soon. The Islamic State will bring in an estimated $100 million to $200 million this year.

    Oct 6, 2014

  • A resident of Tabqa city on a motorcycle waves an Islamist flag in celebration after Islamic State militants took over Tabqa air base, August 24, 2014

    Commentary

    To Defeat the Islamic State, Follow the Money

    ISIS, likely the world's richest terrorist organization, has bills to pay and mouths to feed. If U.S. President Obama wants to defeat them, he should follow the money.

    Sep 10, 2014

  • An Islamic State militant uses a loud-hailer to announce to residents of Tabqa city that Tabqa air base has fallen to Islamic State militants, August 24, 2014

    Commentary

    How ISIS Funds Its Reign of Terror

    ISIS raises much of its money just as a well-organized criminal gang would do. It smuggles, it extorts, it skims, it fences, it kidnaps and it shakes down. Although supposedly religiously inspired, its actions are more like those of an organized criminal cult.

    Sep 8, 2014

  • A man purported to be Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the reclusive leader of the militant Islamic State, allegedly in what would be his first public appearance at a mosque in Mosul, Iraq

    Commentary

    Hitting ISIS Where It Hurts: Disrupt Its Cash Flow in Iraq

    President Obama's decision last week to conduct airstrikes against ISIS and send humanitarian aid will help buy time for both Iraqi and Kurdish forces to regroup. But Baghdad needs a strategy that aligns the political and economic interests of all Iraqis to hit ISIS where it hurts: its war chest.

    Aug 13, 2014

  • A member of the Islamist Syrian rebel group Jabhat al-Nusra fires during clashes with Syrian forces near Damascus

    Commentary

    When Terrorists Kill Terrorists

    Battles between rival rebel groups and within terrorist organizations are not uncommon. Terrorists may compete with each other, sometimes in deadly battles, for the control of sources of financing. Some of the internal struggles are about who will lead.

    May 5, 2014

  • Vermeer, The Concert, 1658-1660. Oil on canvas

    Announcement

    Erik Nemeth Appears on History Channel's 'America's Book of Secrets: Lost Treasures'

    In an episode of the History Channel's “America's Book of Secrets,” Erik Nemeth discusses the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum heist of 1990 and the broader implications of art crime for national security.

    Jul 15, 2013

  • Journal Article

    Insurgent Compensation: Evidence from Iraq

    Participating in insurgency is physically risky. Why do people do so?

    May 1, 2013

  • Commentary

    Osama a Wizard of Illusion and Rhetoric

    Bin Laden was chairman of the board, not CEO, using his moral authority to urge his tiny army forward, pointing out new ways to kill Americans, encouraging followers to think outside the typical terrorist playbook, writes Brian Michael Jenkins.

    Jun 1, 2011

  • Commentary

    Glimpse of bin Laden Techniques in Captured Records of al-Qa'ida in Iraq

    Captured financial documents of al-Qa'ida's Iraq affiliate in Anbar Province revealed its internal operations and enabled one of the most comprehensive assessments of an al-Qa'ida linked group, write Benjamin Bahney, Renny McPherson, and Howard J. Shatz.

    May 26, 2011

  • Commentary

    How Might bin Laden's Demise Affect Business?

    Given how markets are responding thus far, Osama Bin Laden's death is likely to have a modestly positive and buoyant effect on equity markets, writes Charles Wolf, Jr.

    May 25, 2011

  • bill payment calculator

    Report

    Financial Records of al-Qa'ida in Iraq Reveal Vulnerabilities and Information about the Group

    An analysis of the financial operations and economics of al-Qa'ida in Iraq in Anbar province indicates that members were poorly compensated and suggests that they were not motivated primarily by money to join the group.

    Dec 15, 2010

  • Journal Article

    The Economic Cost of Harboring Terrorism

    The literature on conflict and terrorism has paid little attention to the economic costs of terrorism for the perpetrators.

    Dec 31, 2009