COMMONS

ISIL's finances have been damaged, but UK can do more

12 July 2016

In their report MPs on the Foreign Affairs sub-Committee say ISIL faces an increasingly desperate struggle to raise money. The so-called 'richest terrorist group' may have generated more money than any other terrorist organisations but it also incurs unprecedented costs.

The report considers the known methods by which ISIL raises revenue including oil production, taxation, cash storage facilities, donations and access to local and international financial systems. The UK has worked with the Coalition to block these routes as part of an economic war, including the use of airstrikes to destroy ISIL’s bulk cash storage facilities and oil infrastructure.

The UK has the capacity to lead the international effort to isolate ISIL financially. But for its contribution to match its potential, the UK must do more to ensure that experts in its public and private sectors work effectively together, and that allies abroad have access to this expertise.  

Chair's comments

The report was prepared by a sub-Committee of the Foreign Affairs Committee.  Chair of the sub-Committee, John Baron MP, commented:

"ISIL's finances have been damaged by the Coalition’s efforts but more needs to be done. The UK contribution seems underpowered compared to our potential.

ISIL thrives in states debilitated by war. The Iraqi Government must demonstrate that this terrorist organisation does not and cannot generate income from inside Iraq's financial systems - that must be transparent to all. The UK Government is in a position to help Iraq develop effective abilities of its own to counter ISIL's finances. 

Much depends on blocking access to local and international money-making activities. The UK Government needs to speed up the recruitment, and ensure the retention, of specialists who understand local custom and practice.

This is a fluid picture. As oil and tax revenues decline, ISIL is likely to seek new sources of funding. The UK should take a leading role in international efforts to identify and target new funding streams for ISIL with a stronger role in the CIFG (Counter-ISIL Finance Group) currently chaired by the US, Italy and Saudi Arabia."

Further information

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