Terrorism

Iraq freezes assets of ISIS-funding individuals

By Khalid al-Taie

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ISIS used to receive large amounts of money from a variety of sources during its control of large swathes of Iraq and Syria, but these sources have dried up in light of the crackdown on its members and sources of funding. [Photo circulated online]

The Iraqi Parliament passed two resolutions in July to freeze the assets of individuals accused of funding terrorism-related activities.

Both resolutions were issued July 19th by the parliamentary "Committee for Freezing Terrorists' Assets", and were effective immediately.

Based on the committee's decision, the movable and fixed assets of those accused of funding terrorism will be frozen.

The parliament's decision was based on evidence presented at the Ninawa Investigation Court which specialises in terrorism cases, and aligned with the provisions of Iraq's Anti-Money Laundering Law.

These are the latest resolutions that Iraq has passed as part of its efforts to limit the flow of money to members of the "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS).

'A move in the right direction'

Based on the first mandate, the assets of 200 individuals will be frozen. The second focuses on freezing the assets of two individuals named Saad Hassan Rashash al-Rawi and Dawoud Salman Hussain al-Kubaisi.

Amir al-Saidi, politics and strategy researcher, told Diyaruna the new mandates highlight the government's efforts to trace ISIS terrorists' sources of funding and are "a move in the right direction".

Over the past several years, Iraq has issued several resolutions to freeze the assets of "a significant number of individuals and entities" that fund terrorism, he said, noting that this was done with the help of the US and the international coalition.

Iraqi security services have managed to trace and capture several cells that supply terrorists with money, causing millions of dollars of loss for ISIS, said al-Saidi.

Many middlemen and companies operate in Iraq and other countries to facilitate money transfers or currency exchange for ISIS, he said. Some entities use charitable organisations as fronts for funding ISIS activities.

Global co-operation needed

Al-Saidi said the global community should co-operate with Iraq to continue tracing ISIS agents, adding that although the funding cannot be stopped altogether, it could be limited through monitoring bank transfers and black market transactions.

Issam al-Fayli, a political science lecturer at al-Mustansiriyah University, told Diyaruna that laws aimed at freezing terrorist assets have targeted a sizeable roster of financiers and uncovered networks that are linked to financing terrorism.

Iraq has reached an advanced stage of tracking and dismantling networks and individuals who support ISIS, he said.

"There is remarkable collaboration led by the US Treasury and joined by other international partners to cut off funding for terrorists," he said.

The US Treasury released a statement in mid-July stating that the seven member nations of the Terrorist Financing Targeting Centre (TFTC) -- the US and Gulf nations -- jointly designated six targets affiliated with ISIS.

The designations targeted three entities and one individual located in Turkey and Syria that have provided a critical financial and logistical lifeline to ISIS; and an Afghanistan-based organisation, Nejaat Social Welfare Organisation, and its director.

Abdul Rahman al-Mashhadani, an international economics lecturer at Al-Iraqiya University, told Diyaruna ISIS is trying to become self-sufficient in light of efforts to cut off funding from the networks that feed it.

The terrorist group has traditional and local funding sources too, he said, to include blackmailing farmers and kidnapping for ransom in remote areas.

However, he said, revenue from such sources are limited and not comparable with the fortune ISIS made when it controlled large swathes of Iraq and Syria.

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