The Counter ISIS Finance Group, a working group of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, held its seventeenth meeting on combating ISIS financing worldwide. At the November meeting, the group affirmed that defeating ISIS in Syria and Iraq remains a key priority.
Since the last Counter ISIS Finance Group, or CIFG, meeting in May, the Global Coalition has targeted key ISIS financial leaders and officials in the Middle East. In addition, the U.S. military is working closely with the Syrian Democratic Forces and Iraqi Security Forces to combat the ISIS insurgency in Syria and Iraq. These operations have degraded ISIS’s ability to plan, resource, and conduct attacks globally.
Despite substantial leadership losses this year, ISIS Core remains intact and maintains access to as much as $25 million in cash reserves held in Syria and Iraq. The terrorist group amassed these funds during its 2014-2017 occupation of Iraqi and Syrian territories by selling oil, extorting local economies, and looting banks.
ISIS Core’s revenue streams are diminishing due to pressure from the military forces of the Global Coalition and law enforcement actions in the region. As a result, ISIS leaders rely on declining incomes from extorting local businesses, kidnapping for ransom, looting, and sporadic external donations to fill their coffers.
Over the past year, the CIFG has increased its focus on countering ISIS financing in Africa, where ISIS affiliates —branches, networks, and cells — seek to gain territorial control while terrorizing the civilian population.
The ISIS branch in Somalia is one of the most important ISIS franchises on the continent, according to the CIFG. It serves as a hub for disbursing funds and guidance to ISIS branches and networks throughout Africa. ISIS-Somalia receives the majority of its revenue from aggressive extortion tactics that target businesses and civilians in Somalia, generating hundreds of thousands of dollars per month.
CIFG welcomed the sanctions the United States imposed on November 1, targeting ISIS-Somalia weapons traffickers and urged other nations to take similar measures.
The CIFG is also working to counter ISIS financial networks in other parts of Africa, including the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania, Uganda, Mozambique, and South Africa, among others.
CIFG will continue working closely with its counterterrorism partners to disrupt ISIS funding. Together, the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS will dismantle the financial support networks and achieve the enduring defeat of ISIS and its affiliates.