G20 Pledges to Cut Off IS Financing

G20 Pledges to Cut Off IS Financing G20 Pledges to Cut Off IS Financing

The world’s 20 most important countries intend to work together to curb the so-called Islamic State’s terrorism not just by direct attacks, but also by using financial means.

For the first time in their history, the 20 most important industrial and emerging nations, who together represent two-thirds of the world’s population, have issued a strong condemnation of international terrorism. Terrorism cannot and should not be associated with any religion, the G20 wrote in a joint statement published in Antalya, Turkey.

In response to the terrorist attacks in Paris on Friday and October bombings in Turkey, the organization’s members pledged to do more to combat terrorism, ensure better cooperation among security services and dry up the terror networks’ sources of finance, Deutsche Welle reported.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel told journalists that the flow of cash to terrorists had to be stopped. She was referring primarily to the group calling itself “Islamic State,” which has established governmental structures in parts of Syria and Iraq, and collects both taxes and protection money there.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schauble, also taking part in the summit, reminded people that initiatives were already in place to detect and prevent financial activity by terrorist groups on the international financial markets.

France has already made a number of suggestions following the “Charlie Hebdo” attacks in Paris in January, including that terrorists’ accounts and assets should be swiftly frozen or seized. The heads of state and government now promise that actions will follow words.  European Council President Donald Tusk declared that after the shock of the Paris attacks, things could not continue as before.

  Support From Saudi Arabia

Experts in the field, as well as many western secret services, believe that until a few weeks ago finances and supplies were reaching the IS terrorists relatively unimpeded. Its main sources of income are still presumed to be the sale of Syrian and Iraqi oil, as well as ransoms extorted for western hostages and the proceeds from the sale of relics and antiquities.

Many western secret services have repeatedly indicated in their reports that for years Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia were financing IS. Daniel Wagner, the head of a private security analysis company in the US, said it was only after IS started using excessively cruel practices and the financiers themselves felt threatened that they cut back on official funding.

“The monster they helped to create is coming to attack them in their homeland,” he wrote in the Huffington Post. However, he said that “a few wealthy individuals in these countries picked up where the governments left off” and continue to fund IS.

Following the pledge given in Antalya on Monday, Saudi Arabia could, as a member of the G20, stop them from doing so.

Turkey also plays a significant role as far as IS funding is concerned. DW reported as early as last year that goods and equipment were being delivered to the IS stronghold of Raqqa by Turkish suppliers. IS militants are also said to be delivering oil from Syria to Turkey.

The hosts of the G20, therefore, could also take action to stop the provisioning of the terrorist army. According to media reports, after Libya collapsed into chaos, the United States transported large quantities of arms through Turkey to Syria to arm rebel groups there. Some of these weapons may also have fallen into the hands of IS militants.