The key issue at the International Conference on Peace and Security in Iraq today was terrorist financing – how the ISIS got to be financed thus far and how to disrupt its financing.
The Conference, convened by the President of France and of Iraq, was convened to discuss ways to deal with the growing threat of terrorism from ISIS. Several countries attended the Paris Conference including Canada, China, Bahrain, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Jordan, Kuwait, US, UK and Russia.
In an official statement, Conference attendees recommitted to abide by the UN Security Council Resolutions in respect of counter-terrorist financing and went so far as to agree to ensure that Resolution 2170 is correctly implemented into domestic law and properly enforced to have its intended effects.
Security Council Resolution 2170 requires countries ensure that their organizations, companies and citizens prevent terrorist financing and the provision of any support to terrorists, directly or indirectly including the provision of any services that benefit terrorists or their affiliated organizations. It also requires countries to implement sanctions in respect of the Resolution and to look at social media vehicles that allow terrorists to obtain financing.
Economists estimate that economic activity related to supporting financial infrastructure for terrorism accounts for $1.5 trillion, or 5% of the global annual output. Those funds flow ordinarily through the banking system. Other sectors besides banks are often targeted for terrorist financing. The investigation of UK resident Younes Tsouli showed that offshore online gambling websites can be one such source for terrorist financing. Tsouli, now incarcerated in the UK, developed a network of terrorist sympathizers in Canada, Denmark and Bosnia and allegedly used, among others, Absolute Poker and Paradise Poker sites, to fund terrorism.