Small Wars Journal

With Coffers Draining, ISIS May Seek Donations And Step Up Crime

With Coffers Draining, ISIS May Seek Donations And Step Up Crime by Bennett Seftel - The Cipher Brief

Once billed the richest terrorist group in history, ISIS’ revenue streams are drying up, which may force it to rely more heavily on criminal enterprises and donations from like-minded extremists to survive.

The group has ceded nearly 90 percent of the territory it once controlled in Syria and Iraq, according to Brett McGurk, the special presidential envoy for the Coalition to Counter ISIS, speaking at a press conference held Tuesday evening at Fort Belvoir, Virginia.

As ISIS finds itself increasingly strapped for cash, the organization may turn to more traditional terrorist fundraising mechanisms to support its violent campaign across the Middle East and beyond.

“ISIS presented a different challenge for us in the Treasury Department since the group did not really use the traditional route of external fundraising,” said Leslie Ireland, Cipher Brief expert and former assistant secretary of the treasury for intelligence and analysis.

“But with the loss of territory and the loss of the ability to use that territory to generate funds, I would expect ISIS to take a page from other groups, such as al Qaeda and Hezbollah, and turn to external fundraising to acquire some of the funds that they need,” she assessed…

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