Terrorism financing post 9/11

Terrorism and territory control: A new form of power and finance

Master's Thesis, 2020

110 Pages, Grade: Master degree

Free online reading

Table of contents

Table of contents


I) International terrorism financing: transfer of money, donations and financing between terrorist groups
1) The new use of donations
a) The use of NGOs and individual donations
b) How do terrorist groups transfer money?
2) Cooperation between terrorist groups
a) Al Qaeda expansion and support to other groups
b) Potential ground alliances
c) Terrorism financing in Europe: A decrease of external support

II) Terrorism and territory control: A new form of power and finance
1) Islamic State’s territory control
a) Oil and gas
b) ISIS control of the financial sector and taxes imposed
c) Alternative financial means and projection into the future
2) Al Shabab in Somalia: An elaborated financial system
a) Al Shabab tax system
b) Activity in Mogadishu
3) Partial territory control: Diverse opportunities
a) Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula; Temporary territory control
b) ISI: A predecessor of the Islamic State already implanted

III) Terrorism involvement in international trafficking (drug, human, gold.)
1) Kidnapping and terrorism
a) Kidnapping travelers: A major source of funding
b) Kidnapping and human smuggling in refugee roads
1) Human trafficking and terrorism
a) How Terrorist groups use modern Slavery and Sexual Violence?
b) Organ trafficking
2) Smuggling and Trafficking (Drug, gold, cigarettes.)
a) Terrorism and drug trafficking
b) Case study: The implication of Taliban in drug trafficking

IV) State support to terrorism and internal hurdles: Major sources of financing for terrorist groups.
1) States sponsoring terrorism
a) Pakistan controversial support since 1980
b) Iran support to terrorism
c) Isolated cases and partial state involvement
d) Imposing sanctions to limit state sponsor of terrorism
2) Corruption and opportunities for terrorist groups
a) Corruption and its impact on terrorism spreading
b) Dealing with corruption and development: Foreign aid controversy
V) Counterterrorism
1) UN resolutions and common definitions
2) State efforts to improve measures and assessment
3) How to Limit firearms distribution to terrorists?
4) Limiting access to terrorism smuggling opportunities: The example of gold
5) Payments of ransoms: A large controversy within the international community:


Analysis of the State of ISI (2007)
Report on the Needs of the Mujahidin in Somalia (1993)
Letter Regarding Al-Qa`ida Strategy (unknown date)
Letter from UBL to `Atiyatullah Al-Libi 4 (2010)


On 9/11 2001, 2 planes struck the twin towers of the World Trade Center, causing the deaths of three thousand people following the worst terrorist attacks in History. Since then, the term “terrorism” was integrated into the universal language, terrorist groups becoming the main threats of the international community after the Cold War.

The UN General Assembly Resolution 49/60 (1994) describes terrorism as “Criminal acts, intended or calculated to provoke a state of terror in the general public”. Some groups were designated as terrorism after individual acts. For example, the Taliban became historically designed as terrorists, following significant attacks targeting civilians.

According to Paul Gilbert, the best short definition of terrorism is “a crime with war aims.” The motivation can be nationalistic, as was the case with the Basque organization Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (ETA) and the Irish Republican Army (IRA), or it can be purely political, as it was for the Italian paramilitary group, the Red Brigades. In the 20th century, a new wave of terrorist groups appeared, some of them have been called “jihadist groups” such as the Islamic State, Al Qaeda, Boko Haram. According to Hammer and Rothstein, jihadism can be defined as:

“A term that has been constructed in Western languages to describe militant Islamic movements perceived as existentially threatening to the West. Western media have tended to refer to Jihadism as a military movement rooted in political Islam.1

According to Martin Kramer, jihadism is generally used to refer to the most violent persons and movements in contemporary Islam, including Al-Qaeda. In 2020, such definition can include terrorist movements like the Islamic State, Boko Haram or new groups such as AL Shabab.

By looking into the Al Qaeda initial strategy, it is possible to identify how and why it can be considered as a terrorist group. Al Qaeda was created in 1988, appearing to the world after the 9/11 attacks. In the document, AL Qaeda’s strategy to the year 20 202, the group’ global strategy is explained. It mentions AL Qaeda’s primary purpose is to provoke the United States and the West into invading a Muslim country by setting a massive attack on US soil that would result in civilian casualties. Such a strategy perfectly suits with the definition of terrorism mentioned upper, illustrating how modern terrorism has been considerably intertwined with international jihadism. Initially perceived in the Quran as a spiritual and internal fight, the term jihad has been transformed and defined in the common language as a civil war replacing fight against crusaders in the 21th century context.

For this essay, we mainly focus on this “jihadism”, its evolution and the activities purported by groups officially claiming terrorist activities for this purpose. It has become tough to define terrorism and identify specified “terrorist groups” due to the opacity of the definition mentioned upper. A certain number of national governments and international organizations have created lists of organizations that they designate as terrorist groups. The lack of clarification and uniformization of those lists causes potential confusion and makes it hard to identify actual terrorist groups. For example, the Hezbollah, considered as a legal, political party in Lebanon, is designed as a terrorist organization by the United States. In 2020, Germany started considering the political branch of the groups as a terrorist, leading to a new acceptation for the classification of Hezbollah, while the United Nations remain reluctant to integrate the organization within its terrorist list. Recently, the United States also unilaterally started considering Iran’ Revolutionary Guards as terrorists, despite reluctance from the international community.

Terrorist activity considerably ramped up over the last years. For example, in 2002, 1,333 terrorist incidents were reported, compared with 16,903 in 2014. The number of casualties following terrorist attacks also considerably increased, reaching 44, 490 in 2014 compared with 4,805 in 2002. If 9/11 is considered as the deadliest attack in history with around 3,000 casualties, terrorist activity spread further after 2001, with new types of weapons, new organization methods for terrorist groups. European states have been particularly affected by this new jihadist wave, based on 9/11 actors “calls” for an “international jihad”. Between 2001 and 2019 EU states (France, UK, Spain, Belgium) were targeted by massive suicide attacks, vindicated by international terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda in the decade after 9/11, and then followed by the Islamic State. One striking moment was the 2015 13th November attacks in Paris, causing around 130 fatalities and the Madrid 2004 attacks, inspired on the 9/11 model during which 193 people died after a coordinated bombing of trains. Additionally, after 2001, terrorist activities considerably spread worldwide, reaching new areas, notably in West and Central Africa, and more recently the Middle East with new type of attacks, directly targeting Shias and Yezidis communities. Often assimilated following 9/11 as a global jihad against “crusaders”, meaning westerners, terrorism in the 21th century is entrenched with diverse and unreachable purposes, a multitude of actors and diverse perceptions. Roland Jacquard3, in its book, designated Usama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda as the main guides of global jihadism, but terrorism groups can be now be assimilated with diversity. Since 90s years, terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda adopted diverse strategies and methods to gather funds and money as a way to create their organization and considerably increase their influence. Terrorism financing is a huge aspect, gathering different means and procedures, different actors and differently evolving depending on the years and territories. It can be defined as mentioned by UN security council resolution 26424 adopted in 2019:

Terrorists and terrorist groups raise funds through a variety of means, which include but are not limited to abuse of legitimate commercial enterprise, exploitation of natural resources, abuse of non-profit organizations, donations, crowdfunding and proceeds of criminal activity, including but not limited to: kidnapping for ransom, extortion, the illicit trade and trafficking in cultural property, trafficking in persons, including sexual exploitation, drug trafficking and the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons,”

Terrorist attacks always have a cost, but, as we will demonstrate in this report are not the primary purpose of terrorist financing. Down below, we gathered the cost of some attacks carried out by Al Qaeda that occurred between 2998 and 2001:

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

As we can conclude by looking at this table, a terrorist attack does not require massive funds. Actually, it often involves personal wealth like in the Madrid Bombing. Additionally, the new “lone wolf” attacks such as the ones that occurred in Nice or Orlando considerably dwindled potential costs of terrorist attacks, with potential remote orders given by central terrorist commanders to new recruits. Orlando attack in a gay nightclub in 2016, for example, was wholly exempted of cost including only an assailant with a gun.

Nonetheless, terrorist financing opportunities have never been so significant, reaching new heights when the Islamic State took control of a massive territory in 2014. According to a report by Jean Charles Brisard in 2015, the Islamic State was at this time controlling assets amounting to US$2 trillion, with an annual income that reached US$2.9 billion. Other groups such as Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and Boko Haram also considerably increased their financial means, taking over territory looting and taking parts to diverse smuggling activities. After 2005, in Afghanistan, the Taliban implicated themselves in a vast opium trafficking network, directly taking part in the transaction and selling processes. Considered as the central involvement in trafficking by terrorist groups, such type of activities have been reproduced in other sectors, such as cigarettes trades, and, at an unprecedented scale after 2010, human trafficking.

In 2020, terrorist groups also considerably converge with armed groups and local militias, enabling them to proceed with direct recruitments, strengthening their capacity to control territory and exerting looting activity.

In this essay, we will demonstrate how “officially recognized terrorist groups” have now diverse financial opportunities and can sometimes directly compete with states authorities. In 2015, Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria announced the creation of a califate, spreading across the territories of Mesopotamia and recreating the 9th century “Golden Age of Islam”. Those new territorial ambitions marked a turning point with Al Qaeda’ crusade and worldwide strategy, that only involved remote communications and individual attacks against designed “crusaders”. As this report will demonstrate, financial means and potential skills of the Islamic State to build a state and expand its territorial control was unprecedented for a terrorist group. While Al Qaeda in 2001 considered suicide attacks as its ultimate target, such strategy is no longer the purpose of groups such as Boko Haram, the Islamic State or Al Shabab. New technologies have also played a new role by providing terrorist groups with new donations opportunities and remote financing. New weapons and recruitment capacity have enabled terrorist groups to compete with international mafia groups and traffickers, positioning themselves in some territories.

How, and by which diversity are terrorist groups since 9/11 financing themselves and use available materials, means structures and flaws to expand their influence, territory control, practical means, despite the existence and improvement of international counter-terrorism measures ?

The purpose of this report is to bring a light on the diversity of financial means at the disposition of terrorist groups and notably how those groups adapt themselves to potential new situations. We will try notably to demonstrate how recognized “terrorist organizations” can now be sometimes considered as Mafia groups and even “states” in some area with new purposes of territory control and adaptation to local populations. In this report, we will try to provide an answer and to show how vast and diverse are financial opportunities and to which extent they have been used by terrorist groups. We also try to demonstrate how countries are taking measures to limit terrorist involvement in gold trafficking or migrant smuggling. This essay demonstrates how essential and inserted terrorist groups have become implemented in our society. The diversity of potential funds has reached new points, and terrorism financing now involves all the parts of society. A new “legitimization” of terrorist groups on the ground allows them to expand their activity and territory control.

- First of all, the essay provides information on the new state of donations and how this method of financing, the main source of funding for Al Qaeda before 9/11, is still used in 2020. We will also demonstrate how remote support between terrorist groups and transfer of funds, mainly spread just after 9/11 considerably decreased and how alliances between terrorist groups are mainly considered on mutual interest and territorial proximity.
- This second part will demonstrate the extent and capacities of territory controls today by terrorist groups, mainly the Islamic State. The importance of territory control to establish a durable source of funding is now, as we will demonstrate, the ultimate purpose of terrorist groups in 2020. By using diverted examples, we also analyze the diversity of situations depending on the means and territories, showing how terrorist groups can adapt themselves.
- The third part will be mainly focused on international smuggling and kidnapping, showing how important kidnapping has become for terrorist groups. Source of Funding involving human trafficking, organ trafficking, drug smuggling and involvement in diverse trafficking show the extent and potentiality of terrorist groups sources of funding,
- At last, the fourth part will get focused on the main source of terrorist growth after 9/11: The absence of durable territory control and the prevalence of corruption amongst states such as Afghanistan, Iraq and more recently, Mozambique and Nigeria. The lack of capacity and the absence of any directed anti-terrorism policy in Iraq, for example, provided the means for the Islamic State to increase its territorial control. We will also demonstrate how financial support from some states such as Iran, Pakistan, Syria to terrorist groups for their interests is a huge hurdle for the international community and counter-terrorism operations.
- After providing relevant information, we will give detailed recommendations based on international reports from organizations and list opportunities for the international community to limit terrorism financing worldwide.

This report, based mainly on official documents from the UNSC, US State department and diverse researchers, will provide a clear and detailed overview of the current state of terrorism financing. Involvement of recognized terrorist groups in drug and human trafficking, kidnapping, donations and territory control will be detailed. We will also put forward the new considerations of some groups as quasi-state or powerful cartels. By studying examples of terrorist-state like Al Shabab (still active) and the Islamic State (between 2014 and 2018), this report will also demonstrate how terrorist groups are expanding territory control to a more substantial degree than some states. This new wave of terrorism activity has notably expanded the importance of prevention and control, with a significant part no dedicated to smuggling activities. Since their apparition in the universal language, terrorist organizations increasingly threatened the security, infrastructure, and citizens of nations throughout the world. Given the importance of sources and subjects mentioned, we chose to use official reports from UN or US reports on terrorism. Additional, documents from NGOs such as Transparency International have also been used. We also dissected unclassified official documents coming from terrorist organizations. For example, a detailed analysis of the series of terrorist documents found in Abbottabad after Bin Laden’s death in 2011 was greatly useful for this report.

For this work, we will mainly get focused on a small degree of terrorist groups still potentially active today. EU members and the United States at least consider all the organizations evocated in this report. For example, while the US defined the Iran Revolutionary Guards recently as a terrorist organization, in 2020, we will not include it in our work. By contrast, organizations such as Hezbollah and Hamas, considered as terrorist organizations only by some states such as the US and the EU members will be included in our report.

Here is the list of the organizations we chose to evocate in this report

- Al Shabab: Created in 2006, active in East and Central Africa, mainly Somalia and composed with 7,000 to 9,000 militants. Pledged allegiance to AL Qaeda. Its main funding resources are taxes, looting, kidnapping.
- Al Qaeda: founded in 1988, operates s a network in. gathering. Mainly active in terrorist attacks between 1996 and 2010. Its main funding sources are donations
- AL Qaeda in the Islamic Maghre b: Islamic group aiming to implement an Islamic State in the Maghreb and affiliated to Al Qaeda. Its primary funding sources are trafficking, kidnapping and smuggling.
- Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula: Founded in 2007 and affiliated to Al Qaeda. Gathers 7000 men in 2018. Its main funding sources are kidnapping smuggling extortion. And individual donations. Responsible for Charlie Hebdo Attacks.
- Boko Haram: Founded in and operating in West and Central Africa Group previously affiliated to Al Qaeda pledged allegiance recently to the Islamic State. Its main sources of Funding are extortion, kidnapping, smuggling taxations and donations.
- Hezbollah: Group created by the Islamic Republic of Iran in 1995: Mainly funded by annual donations from Iran and to a small extent, drug trafficking.
- Lashkar e Taiba: Founded in 1990. Mainly active in India but also responsible for attacks in Europe. Financial sources include state sponsorship, charities, and businesses.
- Islamic State in Iraq and Syria; Funded in 2006 under the name of AL Qaeda in Iraq. Took over a large control territory in Iraq and Syria between 2014 and 2018. Still active in this territory.
- Islamic State Khorasan Province: Created in 2015. Affiliated to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Mainly active in Afghanistan and the border with Pakistan. Its source of Funding are donations, smuggling and looting.
- Islamic State in East African province: Created in 2015, mainly active in east African territories and affiliated to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Its main sources of Funding are donations, looting and smuggling activities.
- Taliban: Created in 1996 and considered as a state organization since 2001. Its main sources of Funding are extortion, taxes, drug trafficking, looting and donations.
- Tahrir al Sham: Created in 2017 as a merger between diverse terrorist groups. Mainly active in northern Syria. Its main sources of Funding are taxes, smuggling and donations.

I) International terrorism financing: transfer of money, donations and financing between terrorist groups

As we demonstrate in this report, terrorist groups in the 21st century have evolved into large- scale networks, with diverse funding sources and a dwindling dependency on external sources of funds. The differences between ISIS and Al Qaeda’ sources of funding and the use of donations has become different. Terrorist groups like ISIS are even reluctant to count on donations due to the potential lack of propaganda and wasted image such a practice can imply. Nonetheless, donations, involving the transfer of money from Gulf countries kept up and as we demonstrate, were notably prevalent after the Syrian war. In this chapter, we also examine the use by terrorist groups, particularly local cells in Europe of personal wealth and legal funds. Information will also be provided on cooperation and potential support between terrorist groups and affiliates. We will notably examine the role of Al Qaeda’s central in supporting affiliates groups worldwide after 9/11.

1) The new use of donations

a) The use of NGOs and individual donations

According to the Financial Action Task Force (FATF)5, an international organization targeting terrorism financing worldwide, donations under the guise of charitable aid may be deemed as one significant component of the broader issue of terrorism financing. Considered as the main source of Funding used for 9/11 attacks, international donations from individual actors and through organizations continue to be one of the methods used by terrorist groups. For example, Al Qaeda in the Islamist Maghreb receives funding directly from supporters in Europe. On a larger extent, all the terrorist organizations mentioned in this report have resorted, at different scales, to this method of financing, using external existing organizations for their financing.

The use of charity organizations for external donations is a long-standing mean for terrorist financing, already mentioned in the 9/11 commission report6 that details the funding addressed to the hijackers of Al Qaeda. In this document, US authorities are mentioning the existence of links between Al Qaeda and an organization entitled “the Global Relief Foundatio n” (GRF). It was a charity organization based in Bridgeview in Illinois, established to provide relief to conflict zones worldwide. Allegations that GRF was donating a substantial amount of funds to terrorist organizations existed since 1990. Links between GRF and Mujahidin in the 1980s had been observed when the organization’s founders had been affiliated with the Mektab al Khidmat network, designated as a global terrorist organization in 2001. Following the UN security council measure 2161, in 2014, the foundation was finally accused of having trade relations with Al-Qaeda. A list of 20 main financiers of al-Qaeda, composed by Osama bin Laden in 1988 and dubbed by him the “Golden Chain”, was found in the Bosnia office of Benevolence International Foundation when raided in March 2002. The list included some charities. In 1996, a report from the CIA indicated that International Islamic charities could have important ties with terrorist groups at this time. Such activity from NGOs notably increased after the launching of “jihad wars” in Afghanistan or in Eastern Europe. In the Balkans, activities from one-third of the local NGOs could have at this time facilitated terrorist groups activity (Hamas, Hezbollah, Al Gamaat Al Islamiyaa.). Osama bin Laden also had reported connection with the group International Islamic Relief organization according to the CIA.

Recent examples of such sources of financing were also found in 2016 when the United States designated Al-Rahmah Welfare Organization as a potential terrorist funder7. In 2013, the organization recruited Afghan insurgents to obtain photos of children, Afghan identity documents, cell phone numbers and created falsified documents to obtain donation, then transferred funds to several terrorist organizations (AL Qaeda…). The CEO of the organization, James Mc Lincktock was added in 2016 to the list of global terrorists. As early as 2010, McLincktock used the organization and the cover of providing food and support to Afghan orphans as a way to finance the Taliban’s militant activities in the Kunar Province. According to the US treasury information8, between April 2011 and April 2012 Al-Rahmah received approximately $180,000 from donors in the United Kingdom. It was also a recipient of financial support from charities in the Persian Gulf and the United Kingdom. Mc Lincktock also transferred materials for IEDs between Pakistan and Afghanistan to terrorist fighters.

Over the last few years, one important point turned up concerning war areas and international aids. The humanitarian needs generated by conflicts ensued large -scale demands from local NGOs and humanitarian actors, combined with an unprecedented terrorist presence, particularly in Syria. In his blog, Omar Hussain, one British-born terrorist, explained the utility of humanitarian cover9.

“Prior to coming to Sham, I would investigate different charity organizations as I knew the MI5 were tracking my internet history. I firmly believed that I would go for charity help, and once I forced myself to believe this, this helped me to do the prior 'research’ I needed for this. I would send emails to the organizations, ask questions about food and accommodation, whether videos were permissible to make in the orphan camps, I done some research on how to adopt children, searched Islamic websites on the ruling of adoption, as well as asking a few Imams in masjids on the ruling in masjids which I knew were being monitored, etc.”

Such a statement displays how terrorists can use potential humanitarian Funding as a cover. For example, two British citizens, Syed Hoque and Mashoud Miah, were found guilty of using humanitarian aid convoys to fund their terrorist activity in 2012.10 Some terrorists such as Omar Hussein directly used the cover of humanitarian travel to pass over border controls. Accordingly, the border between Turkey and Syria has often been crossed by jihadists using humanitarian support as a cover.

In 2011, a three-persons terrorist cell in Britain conducted street collections for Muslim aid. They raised nearly £14 000 with only £1 500 coming to the charities concerned. As a consequence of such increased activity, in 2014, the UK charity commission11 issued a warning noting unknown groups could potentially use charities organizations as a “non-charitable purpose”. Some jihadist fighters coming to Syria also reported themselves as humanitarian workers. A large number of Kuwaiti fundraisers solicited humanitarian donations, cloaking their efforts to finance terrorist groups directly.

Humanitarian donations were also used on a widespread basis by terrorist fighters on the ground. In 2012, during a speech to the parliament, UK home minister noted how some local Islamic organizations portray themselves as charities. In December 2016, two British were convicted for joining an aid convoy to Syria as a cover to supply local terrorists. Even though the use of charity is (as we demonstrate in this report) for groups like ISIS, a small part of revenues, regular cases are reported involving isolated members. After 2014, a rise in the utilization of charity by terrorists was reported. Even in Australia, suspicious NGOs were identified, and then dissolving themselves after raising funds for humanitarian efforts and then transmitting to terrorist groups. In its 2015 report12, the Financial Action Task Force noted how “called bogus NGOs are reusing social media campaigns to fundraise extremists”. In 2016, the Regional Assessment on terrorist financing, concluded by six countries in Asia pointed out how13 NGOs can be considered as a new threat to terrorist financing. In Yemen, it is also essential to note the use of donations by terrorist groups after the civil war erupted in 2014. Abd al-Rahman al Humayqani, a founding member of Aklamara, a swiss based independent NGO, was accused of providing direct support In Yemen to Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. He notably used its role as the head of a charity to fundraise on behalf of A-’Qaeda supporters in Saudi Arabia.

Terrorist groups can well make use of NGOS and charity donations, as their implantation and territorial activity are often intertwined in warring areas. For example, terrorist groups regularly drawn upon convoys as a mean of transfer by terrorist groups to reach Syrian and Iraqi territories. On the same way, the lack of control on NGOs financial transfers in some countries is an opportunity for them.

While the use of NGOs is prevalent in terrorism financing, the backbone of Al-Qaeda was also forged by individual donations starting on the 1980s and directly coming from Saudis businessmen. In a testimony before the Senate subcommittee on terrorism technology and Homeland in 2002, Matthew Levitt evocated the individual donations from Saudi Businessmen. He noted the testimonies from Omal Al Farouq, one Al-Qaeda operational point man. According to him, Al-Qaeda operations were funded through Saudi authorities and diplomatic personnel also at that time played a critical role in financing Islamic organizations. Muhamad Fakhri, chief of service in the Berlin embassy was accused of giving funds to associations according to the instructions of Usama Bin Laden’s “close friends “. One Saudi diplomat, Fahad al Thumairy, working for the Saudi consulate in San Francisco was denied entry to the United States because of its apparent links with terrorist. In 2003, Bosnian police found during an operation one prominent lists of Saudis funders. US government never released the list content, but the Wall Street Journal reported it included Saudi billionaire bankers like Saleh Kamel and Khalid bin Mahfouz. Other potential sponsors were Saudi businessmen like Yasin al Qadi or Muhammed Ussein al Amoudi.

As a way to get provided with external funds, Al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups used “Zakat” requests as soon as 1990. In Muslim tradition, Zakat is regarded as a term referring to the obligation that an individual earning much that a predefined amount has to donate a certain proportion of wealth each year to charitable causes. In an interview with ABC News , Usama Bin Laden noted that Muslims and Muslim merchants, in particular, should give their Zakat to the organization. Terrorist factions before 2001 also profited from the lack of control on Zakat to get provided with important funds. The reluctance of local authorities in Saudi Arabia, to check if charities activities played a role in terrorist groups' also motivated the use of this source of financing. Saudis banks are paying Zakat on financial transaction fees, leaving no paper trail and little opportunity for government oversight.

Al Qaeda leaders directly played a role and called to external donations through Zakat, using TV interviews to spread the idea of a “religious mission” for all Muslims. For example, Abu Hafs, one al Qaeda leader after 9/11, said in an interview with Al Jazeera in 2002.

“We think that the cause in which all Muslims can participate in supporting by means of money, men, or any kind of help, is the cause of Afghanistan. Afghanistan is the first goal for the Crusaders, for the Crusader-Jewish alliance; they want to add it to the booty that they have already accumulated.”

Such a statement includes every Muslim and request for external donations, giving a role to the terrorists against “crusader-fighters.”

Even before 2001, Bin Laden reconnected the ties he previously had with Saudi officials while fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan, to get provided with external donations. Some donors knew precisely the destination of their funds, while others did not but, according to testimonies, those donations involved a widespread diversity of external actors. A lack of controls on transactions in some parts of the world made those money exchanges easier. In 1996, a report from the CIA already indicated that International Islamic charities could have important ties with terrorist groups. For example, in 1994, Saudi officials had given 150£ million through Islamic NGOs for aid to Bosnia in 1994. In the Balkans, activities from one-third of the local NGOs could have at this time facilitated terrorist groups activity. (Hamas, Hizbullah, Al Gamaat Al Islamiyaa..). Osama bin Laden and Ramzi Ahmed Yousef14 had reported connection with the group International Islamic Relief organization according to the report of the CIA.

We would like to put forward in this essay how external donations, main provider of Al Qaeda’ external funds before 9/11, is now the source of only a tiny part of the financing of groups such as Islamic State or Boko Haram. Nonetheless, individual donations are still important, notably after some groups, such as the Islamic State , benefited from an international recognition.

In 2014, Lori Plotkin Boghardt, a fellow in Gulf politics and Washington Institute for Near East Policy told during an interview with Newsweek15 that private donors were funneling money across the Persian Gulf, directly benefiting to the Islamic State. Donors from Qatar and Kuwait were pursuing funding activity, according to the author. By 2014, ISIS had notably exploited the banking system of Qatar and Kuwait to get provided with donations. Mohammed Hayefal Mutairi, one Kuwait member of parliament, directly raised funds for jihadist groups having ties with ISIS fighters. The presence of hundreds of accounts on twitter has been identified over the previous years, with recognized ISIS fighters asking for donations. In a 2013 Brooking Institute report16, Elizabeth Dickinson noted that fundraisers in Kuwait would appeal for donations to help orphans, refugees "and jihad."

For terrorist groups and donations, one method also mentioned is the use of “beggars” to provide financing. Security operatives in Nigeria arrested a Man in 2011 who confessed how Boko Haram was using child beggars, physically challenged persons, and elderly people to call for donations in order to raise funds for the group. These beggars were positioned at strategic locations in major Nigerian towns and also used as spies.

For donations, terrorist groups are also using to a large extent, international networks, and diaspora. In its 2018 “National Terrorist Financing Risk report”17, the US treasury department noted how Al-Shabab continued to exploit Somali Diaspora communities in the United States as a way to raise funds. Some fundraisers of the group were based in the United States and solicited funds for Al-Shabab’s terrorist activities. Other fundraisers used charitable pretenses and diverted the funds to AL-Shabab. As an example, in October 2016, two women based in the US were convicted18 for providing material support to Al-Shabab by sending money into small amounts (50 to 100 dollars). They met regularly in a private chatroom to raise funds and sent he money to Somalia and Kenya as a way to finance Al-Shabab military operations.

One of Boko Haram’s facilitators in Cameroon, Alhaji Garre, reportedly received funds from someone in Qatar in order to support the group’s activity19. Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb also obtained over the last years a notable amount of funds coming from Western Europe by unidentified donors.20

The use of external donations mainly concerns small terrorist groups or with a lack of means and territorial control. For example, Boko Haram, once created, was dependent on such a source of funding. A group like Hamas is in 2019 still dependent on external donations. As we will demonstrate in this report, external donations can include various actors and notably state authorities such as in Iran and Pakistan.

Donations are also directly coming from new terrorist groups members. Regarding Boko Haram, most of the members have to21, before joining the organization, provide personal funds. The amount of donation is calculated based on the ability of each member to pay for it. In most cases, terrorists coming from abroad bring funds with them, providing additional funding opportunities for the organizations they join.

b) How do terrorist groups transfer money?

Since 2001, terrorist groups considerably improved their financial independence and capacity to circumvent international control. Already in a 2001 interview, Usama Bin Laden stated22:

Freezing of accounts will not make any difference for Al-Qaida or other jihad groups. With the grace of Allah, al-Qaida has more than three such alternative financial systems, which are all separate and totally independent from each other”.

Al-Qaeda, ISIS and all the terrorist groups mentioned in this report have improved their methods and found new ways to transfer money abroad23. As mentioned in the 9/11 commission report, Al-Qaeda notably used the hawala system for its personal transaction.

Hawala operates in the following manner: Let us consider a worker in Dubai who wants to send money back to his wife in Pakistan. He finds a hawaladar”24 and gives him the funds. The hawaladar contacts a fellow worker in Pakistan. The hawaladar in Dubai gives to both “hawaladars” a transaction code. The worker’s wife goes to the hawaladar in Pakistan with the code. If the codes are matching, the hawaladar in Pakistan gives to the worker’s wife the equivalent of US $1,000 added with a small fee. It is important to note that no funds are actually crossing borders during the transactions.

In 2001, the use of hawala in the United States was already possible as the system had existed since the 1980s. Most of the clients are immigrants using the system due to the fact it enables fast remittance across borders. Before 9/11, according to the US national commission, Al-Qaeda relied primarily on Hawala and couriers to move substantial funds of money. Al-Qaeda operators had no choice after the group moved to Afghanistan in 1996 due to the lack of financing means in the country. Hawala became particularly important after the August 1998 East Africa bombings that increased scrutiny of the formal financial system. As a result, one hawala network was operating in Pakistan, in Dubai, and throughout the Middle East to transfer funds efficiently. In total, Al-Qaeda used about a dozen hawaladars. Hawala records are useful for terrorists since they are harder to trace, considering they are often written shorthand and only detained for a short-term period.

Apart from Al-Qaeda, other terrorist groups are regularly using hawalas to provide money to affiliates and receive money funds. For example, two Iraqi Kurds were recently arrested for using hawala to move part of nearly US $150,000 to finance Ansar al-Sunna/Ansar al Islam. Faisal Sahzad, one-time square bomber in New York (2010), received25 a tranche of funds from the Pakistani Taliban by using an unregistered hawala network. Lashkar-e-Tiba also used hawala networks to move funds before their 2000 Red Fort attack in Delhi. On the same way, the Islamic State had a significant number of hawala networks in Europe, notably in Spain26.

According to Majeed Qarar27, an Afghan analyst and diplomat, the Taliban also continue to rely on Hawala as a way to collect their donations. Such a way of money transfer can avoid any risk of transferring money online. Codewords are exchanged through WhatsApp, thus enabling Taliban fighters to avoid detection. Hawala enables civilians to take part anonymously to terrorist financing and make them less reluctant to pay for contribution to terrorist groups. The absence of fees and potential taxes imposed on transactions is often an argument mentioned by terrorist groups requiring donations or remote Zakat payment.

Between 1992 and 2001, Al-Qaeda operatives often combined hawala and formal banking system. By using hawala, operatives could get access to the banking system without having to open an account.

Terrorists are not always trying to circumvent the financial system and are, more often than believed, using banks in a perfectly legal manner. Such a method was notably used for 9/1128 attacks. Before the operations, 300,000 $ were deposited into the hijacker's bank accounts in the US. Funds were used for flight training, living expenses, and travels. Two operatives based in the United Arab Emirates provided assistance to the hijackers. Once arrived in the US, the hijackers opened their bank accounts in their real names at US banks. Their activity was impossible to trace for banks, and their wire transfers utterly anonymous. The absence of suspicion for those individuals and the low amount of transferred funds also limited potential control. According to the 9/11 financial report29, Hijackers were also experts in using the US financial system. For example, Mohammed Atta, one of the terrorists, was told by the plotters concerning procedures for ATM (name of the bank) transactions and wire transfers. As financial institutions did not have the intelligence to find terrorist operatives and their fund-raisers, the nineteen hijackers had none of their transactions giving indications on their final purpose. Regarding the lack of control on terrorists’ financial activity, Al Hazi, one of the hijackers, even used its credit card to buy tickets on Flight 77 one week before the attack. During their period of activity , notably before 2001, Al-Qaeda managed to use its money remarkably well, moving and storing its funds through diverse methods and untraceable transactions.

Nonetheless, for terrorist groups since 9/11, it has become harder to use banking system worldwide. In the US, the government can now use financial information much more efficiently to search out terrorist networks and locate potential suspects. Nonetheless, such a method is still used by terrorist groups to get donations,notably in underdeveloped countries. For example, the Financial Action Task Force30 revealed money transfers on official bank accounts received by Boko Haram.

Cash couriers is also a technique still in place currently and used by terrorist groups but more as a way to transfer funds between affiliates. For example, the 9/11 transaction was made by the plot leader Khalid Sheikh Mohammad who then delivered a large amount of cash to one plot facilitator based in Dubai. He then used cash to wire funds to hijackers in the US.

Jemaah Islamiyah also used cash couriers in the past as their primary method of moving funds, using two Indonesian laborers to transfer funds between terrorists. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Al-Qaeda deputy chief used in 2003 a Pakistani courier to deliver US $50,000 to a Jemaah Islamiyah leader. For their part, ISIS operatives used third parties to avoid detection in money transfer. Using facilitators can be a way to hide transfers and identity of ISIS money transfers.

Over the last few years, it is important to note how terrorist groups regularly tried to expand the scope of those donations and external support by using web applications. For example, Taliban leaders reportedly have been trying to fundraise on the internet in recent years, by using apps such as Telegram, Viber, WhatsApp. Taliban are also using telegram accounts31.

An analysis from the US Financial Intelligence Unit dating back from 201532 reported individuals with alleged links to Taliban, Al-Qaeda and Hamas were using personal Pay Pal accounts to collect funds. According to Neil K. Aggarwal, a cultural psychologist and author of “The Taliban’s Virtual Emirate”,33 Taliban are also using advertisements on their website to earn money. As a way to expand the scope of supporters, the group has Telegram channels in Arabic, Dari, English Pashto Turkish, Urdu. Recently, Akhtar Mansour, one Taliban leader, kept visiting34 Middle East countries to raise funds according to the group despite measures and sanctions in place.

For terrorist groups, new technologies such as Cryptocurrency are also attractive because35, unlike PayPal, it is possible to hold and transfer money without a regulator, making it harder for authorities to track transactions and freeze funds. According to a 2015 Europol report36, Bitcoin was used at this time in over 40% of reported transactions between criminals in the EU. In 2020, it is possible to create a Bitcoin address and receive digital “tokens”. Yaya Fanusie, a former analyst with the CIA consulting on cryptocurrencies, indicates such activity is going to be part of the “terrorist financing mix”. In recent speeches, US treasury secretary Steven Mumuchin also drew attention to the issue. The new degree of financial control, implemented after 9/11 and preventing bank transactions, is forcing terrorist groups to start using diverted methods. The Qassam organization, considered as the military branch of Hamas, and as an international terrorist group by the US, is one of the first examples reported. As an example, Qassam site currently provides a bitcoin address to each potential donor, a practice usually impossible with traditional financial accounts and making tracking difficult. The latest version of its website also contains a video explaining how to acquire and send Bitcoin without tipping off the supervisory authorities. Initially, it asked donors to send bitcoin to a single digital address, or wallet, making authorities’ control easier. According to the research firm Elliptic, in four months in 2019, the fundraising campaign has raised around $7,400.

Perhaps the most obvious reason why terrorist groups have increasingly turned to the internet resides in the security it offers. Bitcoin is a new way enabling terrorist groups to avoid detection. Actually, Internet offers a certain degree of anonymity for both donors and recipients. Terrorists started using the internet to finance their activities even before 2001, with one case reported in 1997 in which Babar Ahmad37, a young British citizen, put his internet expertise to the service of terrorists until 2004. He was running an entity called “Azzam Publications”, and several associated websites. Its primary purpose was to request for funds dedicated to Taliban and other affiliated groups. Such individual cases are prominent and happens similarly with Islamic State sympathizers. Social media emerged as a useful fundraising tool for recent terrorist groups and particularly the Islamic State. On Facebook, weapon sales were apparent during the wartime period in Syria.

Generally, ISIL has leveraged the vast reach of the Internet to disseminate its ideology, publicize its movements/accomplishments, raise its funds, and coordinate its operations. It also used social medias to develop successful recruitment campaigns, which have attracted more than 30,000 foreign terrorist fighters from over 100 States. Between September and December 2014, ISIL supporters used around 46,000 twitter accounts38. By the end of 2014, twitter began suspending ISIS accounts.

In a report from 2015, the Financial Action Task force mentioned39 the widespread use of social media platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, Skype, WhatsApp Telegram by terrorist groups, and their financial facilitators to coordinate "large-scale and well-organized fundraising schemes" involving thousands of sponsors . As an isolated example, the report notes the example of a call of funds posted on Facebook by terrorist fighters, urgently requiring equipment, food, and pharmaceuticals.

As we demonstrated, donations, transfer of funds, new requests, are an important part of terrorism financing. Nonetheless, over the years, a substantial decrease of this method has been reported, notably amongst groups such as ISIS, more reluctant to ask for remote donations. A striking point has to do with donors from Gulf countries. Following the 2002 terrorist attacks in Saudi Arabia and pressures from the international community, new measures were undertaken to limit potential donations procedures with new control measures. Dwindling interests for local businessmen and organizations to provide funds to terrorist groups have also been reported. Al-Qaeda, before 2001, relied predominantly on financial support from facilitators in the Gulf and did not engage in criminal activities to generate revenues as confirmed by the 9/11 commission. As this report will demonstrate, the example of Al-Qaeda is in sharp contrast with recent terrorist groups, like Al Qaeda In the Islamic Maghreb, ISIS or even Boko Haram. These terrorist organizations are directly generating revenue through criminal activities (illicit drugs, oil smuggling, kidnapping for ransom.) and increased their independency.

2) Cooperation between terrorist groups

In his book, Moghadam40 defines terrorist cooperation as “formal or informal collaborative arrangements between two or more actors who employ terrorist tactics in the pursuit of joint interests”. Why do terrorist groups cooperate? In this report, we will only focalize on motivations and potential advantages of cooperation for terrorist groups (donations, logistical cooperation.). As mentioned by the Combating Terrorist Center, it exists today four types of terrorist cooperation41, with various types such as mergers, strategic alliances, tactical cooperation and transactional cooperation. That cooperation will vary depending on five different factors: The expected duration of cooperation, degree of interdependence, variety of cooperative activities, mutual trust and ideological affinity of both groups. For example, a merger such as the one between Egyptian Islamic Jihad and Al-Qaeda is expecting an indefinite duration of cooperation, full interdependence and ideological affinity. Tactical cooperative relationships are also mentioned by Mogadham. A tactical cooperation is not based on ideological affinity but involves common interests.

Here, we get focused on diverse cooperation between terrorist groups and notably Al-Qaeda’s relationship with its “affiliates”. Such alliance can be considered on the paper as “prominent”. But how far those alliances are considered by terrorist group and how a remote alliance between a central group and its affiliates can be considered as an “Expected durable cooperation.” ?

a) Al Qaeda expansion and support to other groups

The major terrorist groups after 2000 had a direct link with Al Qaeda and pledged allegiance to Usama Bin Laden, considered after the 9/11 attacks as the main preacher of jihadism. For example, according to intelligence officers42, US documents found in Abbottabad in 2011 during Bin Laden’ killing confirmed actual ties between Boko Haram and Al-Qaeda. Letters from Boko Haram to Usama Bin Laden were notably found. According to a report from the International Crisis Group43 dating back from 2012, Boko Haram’s leader at this time, Mohammed Yusuf, received seed money from a disciple of Bin Laden named Mohammed Ali in 2002. Ali then was provided with 3 million in Nigerian currency and sent in the north of the country to provide fund to a wide array of Salafist political organizations, helping to spread Al Qaeda’s ideology. Such reports are credible according to Hogenddoorn, a Crisis Group expert, considering Bin Laden’s public statements at this time and its official supports to terrorist groups. One of the “major beneficiaries” of such payments was Boko Haram. In one of the first interviews of the group with the Guardian,44 Boko Haram spokesman indicated. “Our leader travelled to Saudi Arabia and met al-Qaida there. We enjoy financial and technical support from them. Anything we want from them we ask them”

Al-Qaeda’s support was recognized at this time to be the main developer of terrorist organizations worldwide with an extent on the main groups evocated in this report. An internal document from the US treasury, dating back from 2001 illustrates for example how Mohamed Jamal Khalifa used Al-Qaeda funds to finance the Abu Sayyaf group and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. Nonetheless, this support and allegiances between remote terrorist groups appear to have been overestimated by intelligence services and western medias over the years.

In 2011, US Navy Team Seal forces killed Usama Bin laden during a night operation in Abbottabad (Pakistan). At the same time, a large number of now unclassified documents were found and analyzed. “Abbottabad documents” enabled worldwide authorities to shed light on this “cooperation” and the importance of Al-Qaeda’s central group for its affiliates. According to the files45, Bin Laden enjoyed little control over groups labelled under Al-Qaeda’s name or fellow traveler, even just after 2001, despite considerable popularity.

As a consequence of this lack of cooperation, some Al-Qaeda central members urged senior leaders to keep their distance and dissociated themselves from groups whose leaders did not consult Al-Qaeda while acting on its name. Others believed Al-Qaeda inclusion was essential for the group. The leader of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, Nasir al Wuhayshi, was required not to start any expansionist plan (the creation of an Islamic State in Yemen) while he was directly communicating on its motivations concerning the issue with other Al Qaeda affiliates members. More broadly, Abbottabad’s documents demonstrate the “decreased power of the central organization”. Regularly on the operational front, the affiliates either did not consult with Bin Laden or did not follow his directives. Sometimes, it is mentioned Al-Qaeda leaders learned about an attack on the media and were rarely briefed on upcoming events. Therefore, the existence of an “Al-Qaeda Central” as an organization in control of regional “affiliates” is instead reflecting a conceptual construction by outsiders rather than the reality of the group. Such a conclusion illustrates how the international network and supposed connection between Al-Qaeda and its affiliates decreased over the years and potentially never existed.

In its letters, Bin Laden was concerned that regional jihadi would banalize the killing of Muslims, expressing notably his disagreements with Al Zarqawi, the founder of the Islamic State in Iraq, previously bearing the banner of Al-Qaeda in Iraq. He notably declared its disapproval of some actions of A-Qaeda in Iraq at this time, as this extract from a letter dating back of 2008 demonstrates46. [It should be made clear that AQI’s actions are being taken] without the orders of or consultation with al Qaeda. I believe that sooner or later – hopefully sooner – it is necessary that al Qaeda publicly announces that it severs its organizational ties with the Islamic State of Iraq, and [to make known] that the relationship between its leadership and that of the State [i.e., ISI/AQI] have not existed for several years, and that the decision to declare a State was taken without consultation with the leadership, and this [ill-considered] innovation (qarar ijtihadi) led to divisions among jihadis and their supporters inside and outside Iraq. [Thus] all that remains between al Qaeda and the State (i.e., AQI) is the tie that unites Muslims on the basis of faith, namely Islam, which makes it incumbent upon us Muslims to give advice [to our fellow Muslims when we deem it necessary], to command right and forbid wrong, and support and encourage doing good deeds.”

Additionally, regarding financial support, it appears Al-Qaeda central did not play a key role towards its affiliates. As this below letter notes, Bin Laden was even sometimes directly asking funds to affiliates:

“It would be nice if you would send two messages - one to Brother Abu Mus'ab 'Abd-al-Wadud 47 , and the other to Brother Abu Basir Nasir al-Wahishi 48 - and ask them to put forward their best in cooperating with Shaykh Yunis in whatever he asks of them. Hint to the brothers in the Islamic Maghreb that they provide him with the financial support that he might need in the next six months, to the tune of approximately 200,000 euros.” 49

That is a quote from a letter sent by Usama Bin Laden to the newly designated Al-Qaeda finance officer. According to many analyses of this document, the research of money amongst Al-Qaeda affiliates for a completely independent project may suggest that Al-Qaeda Central financial situation was not even self-sufficient. This document notably helps to understand the large degree of self-sufficiency amongst affiliates in 2011.

The main subjects evocated in released Abbottabad files concerns the launching a “new phase” in Al-Qaeda’ strategy, with new communication and directions to be followed. It also demonstrates how the distance and the lack of physical meetings between leaders impacted potential cooperation. Some alliances such as the one with Tahrir al Sham started to be rolled back and questioned by Al-Qaeda’ central command even before 2010. Bin Laden was notably worried by the potential creation of an Islamic State, viewing it as a threat for the group’ stability and potential motivation for Saudi Arabia to launch military operations in Yemen. Indiscriminate attacks against Muslims caused leaders of Al-Qaeda to express their displeasure with the group. Al-Qaeda’ central power and authority was more considered as a conceptual construction by outsiders rather than the reality of insiders. Intelligence community50 often assumed the existence of an “Al Qaeda” central, giving strategic guidance and orders to its affiliates worldwide. Affiliates were mainly looking for Bin Laden’s blessing on symbolic matter and acquiring Al Qaeda’s brand more than direct advice and financial support. On the operational front, Al Qaeda affiliates did not consult with Bin Laden or were not prepared to follow his directives. In 2010, in a long and detailed letter51, Bin Laden, alarmed by the “increases mistakes” committed by affiliated Al Qaeda groups, noted how he was seeking to bring jihadi groups in line with Al-Qaeda’ central code of conduct. The tone of Bin Laden in those letters demonstrate he was struggling to exercise even minimal influence over them. The main concern of Al-Qaeda was their flexible understanding of ‘tatarrus”, concept enabling deaths of Muslim civilians during attacks; in a letter sent by Bin laden in 2009, it is noted.

“ I request that you prepare a memorandum that would include general guidelines on how the Mujahidin publications should be; focus on the basics and the Shari'ah literature (TN: rules) such as violation of the Muslim blood and their honor, as well as the importance in committing to the Hadith of the messenger of Allah, peace and prayers be upon him (not he who believes in stabbing, in blasphemy, the obscene, and the disgusting) as narrated by al-Bukhari 52 Such a document and arguments demonstrate the lack of cooperation and the rampant disagreement between Zarqawi and Bin laden. Attempts to create a centralized jihadist media were also amongst the main purposes of Usama Bin laden. Sometimes Bin laden was reasoning as he would withhold public blessings to regional leaders if they were not complying.

Bin Laden’s admission of Abu Musab al Zarqawi into its group in Iraq quickly became a liability and not an asset. Zarqawi’s attacks targeting Shiites civilians and Sunnis Iraqis was highly disapproved by Al-Qaeda central command. By 2007, Bin Laden was already pressuring jihadists in Iraq to form a united front. AQAP Media also mentioned strong cooperation between Tahrir al Sham and Al Qaeda Central Command. But the few scattered references in which the group is mentioned on documents gathered after Abbottabad illustrates the lack of information Al-Qaeda received of the group’ attacks, such as the one bombing attempt on a time square in New York City. Bin Laden was also himself limiting direct53 support to AL Shabab in Somalia. He notably argued the excessive influence of the group in Somalia would limit foreign aids to reach Muslims in need in the country. “the absence of a public affiliation between the jihadis [in Somalia] with al-Qaeda would strengthen the position of merchants who desire to help their [Muslim] brothers in  Somalia”.

Abbottabad documents also revealed how Bin laden was advising against the formation of a state and directly suggested in a letter to Al-Shabab militants not to expand their territorial control, invoking the potential dwindling humanitarian aid addressed to the Somalian government. Bin Laden also lured Abu Al Zubayr to restrain his ambitious plans and sent suggestions on “how to improve the economy,” but the affiliates ignored those recommendations. Individual efforts such as the creation of Memorandum or a guideline aimed to centralize Al-Qaeda’s efforts was notably one priority of Bin Laden, demonstrating the lack of coordination even before 2010, but never succeeded after 2011. On a general basis, after 2001, Al-Qaeda was lacking means to control affiliates all across the world. Allegiance to Al-Qaeda were made by individual people and, regarding what ensued, and the documents found in Abbottabad, sometimes only constituting a branding alliance such as Al-Qaeda in Iraq On a global basis, external assistance from other terrorist groups receded over the last years. Terrorist groups are collaborating with each other provided that territory proximity is existing and if there is any common interest between them. This example demonstrates, how financial support from leading terrorist groups is an uncertain variant and overestimated idea. For example, Boko Haram as we demonstrated upper, was funded on external donations, mainly coming from Al-Qaeda after 2006. It beneficiated of external support directly coming from Al Shabab and Al-Qaeda. Firstly, this external support has been overestimated and clearly decreased after 2010. Secondly, after the group pledged allegiance to the Islamic State in 2015 it lost all the support from Al-Qaeda.

Generally, external assistance from other terrorist groups can never be considered as a long-term financing source. As demonstrated in Abbottabad documents, mergers and alliances between the terrorist groups are motivated by similar points of strategy and hard to maintain. Boko Haram leaders, who clearly stated after 2010 their willingness to create a “califate”, found a common group with ISIS. The excessive use of violence and imposition of a total territory control with methods of extortion is also similar between the two groups. But, even within Boko Haram, two branches are dissociated. On one side, the so called Yusufzai group wanting to preserve the doctrine of Mohammed Yusuf group and on the other side, hardliners under the banner of Shekau. When Shekau tried to create an alliance with the Islamic State an important part of its forces receded.

As we noted, donations from Al-Qaeda central command have been overestimated by intelligence services for years with often an absence of request and divergence of purposes leading to dissension between affiliated groups. Alliances between terrorist groups can’t be considered as a multinational business model with a central company giving orders to others and providing finance. The new implantation of terrorists in diverse territories with diverse ambitions, nationalities, languages, makes it often impossible to provide coordinated and centralized work. Additionally, the fact that terrorism is considered as an international crime, restrictions are imposed, limiting financing opportunities and money transfers between diverse continents. As this report demonstrates, the huge diversity of terrorist financial means implies that terrorist groups are now operating on a smaller scale, looking for nearby opportunities.

b) Potential ground alliances

Nonetheless, unlike what we mentioned, alliances between terrorist groups can be helpful and are still used by terrorists, notably when they imply proximity and common interests. To illustrate such argument, let’s use the case of Islamic State Khorasan (ISK), a terrorist group in Afghanistan affiliated to the Islamic State and created in 2014. Before 2018, the main resources from ISK in Afghanistan were coming from the core of ISIS. Outstanding amounts of donations were provided by ISK leaders who issued guidelines for its affiliate in Afghanistan. In his book on ISK, Antonio Giustozzi54 describes how the Islamic State was very involved with the purpose to get ISK off the ground. Funds were provided, resources, and advice given.

Nevertheless, this cooperation appears much less important in 2020, notably after the Islamic State’s downfall in 2019. ISK has now become much more self-reliant, earning funds from local sources and acting autonomously. What is particularly striking in observing ISK ‘core strategy and illustrate our arguments is its cooperation with other groups and regional networks, qualified as essential by the author Amira Jadoon55. She notably evocates an alliance with diverse organizations (Ansar al-Mujahideen, Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, Lashkar e Taiba.) and political movements such as Jundullah (an organization based in Baluchistan) initiated by ISK local leaders as soon as 2015. Some of those groups (Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, Kundullah Faction) have reportedly pledged allegiance to ISK. Following the merger of those groups with ISIL, other groups (Ansar al Mujahideen, Ahl-e-Sunnat Wal Jamaat) have been engaged in low-end cooperation with ISK. Regarding this latest case, cooperation remained limited and restricted to some logistical cooperation and information-sharing.

In total, Amongst the seven groups,56 six share common features with ISI, including the imposition of sharia law and the belonging to the Sunni’s school of thought. They also share the same targets (Shia community, Pakistani forces). Some allies, such as the Baluchistan national army, do not share ISI’s ideology or long-term goals but consider a common enemy (Pakistani state). Such alliances present direct opportunities, notably logistical for ISK on the ground. For example, as demonstrated by Jadoon, ISK’operational links with Lashkar-e-Taiba became essential to ensure the group’s lethality in Pakistan. Attacks carried out with one of those partners account for 75% of total attacks perpetrated by ISI.

Just as ISIS’s core in Iraq and Syria, ISK long term purpose is to implement Wilaya Khorasan. This is an historical area that formed the northeast province of Greater Iran and included territories of Iran, Afghanistan, and Turkmenistan. The presence of an important number of terrorist groups in an area stripped of durable state control is also forcing such alliances to avoid potential confrontation. As demonstrated, the formations of logistical cooperations are much more motivated within countries such as Pakistan, where security controls are presenting terrorist groups more operational hurdles than in Afghanistan. Regarding the leverage of the Lashkar e Tahir in Pakistan, cooperation with the group is considered as an advantage. Such alliances notably facilitate ISK’ cross-border activity and propaganda and also contribute to its recruitment across the region.

The ground implantation, which lasted around ten years and the building of a stable network in Iraq has probably been the main reason why the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria managed to extend its territorial control so far after 2014. In the case of groups entering new territory and with a lack of local knowledge, the existence of such a network is essential. Arriving as a foreign brand in Afghanistan and Pakistan in 2014, the ISK had an essential need for material resources, local knowledge, and expertise. Over the years, reports indicate that ISK’s ability to leverage its relationships with other regional militant groups has been a force multiplier.

In Mozambique, the current situation also illustrates the efficiency of such local alliance for terrorist groups. New terrorist attacks have been reported there since 2019 by local militias. The same year, an already implanted Islamic militia, already active in the area for a while, pledged allegiance to the Islamic State in Central Africa. Since then, the group considerably increased its activity in the north of the country, stymying government efforts to exploit the vast natural gas resources nearby.

In such a way, local alliances are increasing power influence for terrorist groups, despite sometimes diverged views and interests. Such alliances and cooperation are enabling organizations to get a structured basis and carry out attacks despite a “lack of means”. This is notably the case for newly implanted groups, as mentioned in Afghanistan or Mozambique.

c) Terrorism financing in Europe: A decrease of external support

An analysis of terrorist attacks in Europe between 1993 and 2015 illustrates how terrorism evolved into individual and low scale attacks carried out by numerous networks. While 9/11 was almost entirely predetermined from Al Qaeda’s decision center and financed by individual donations, attacks such as London 2005 subway bombings or Mohamed Merah individual attacks in 2014 have been gradually different. As demonstrated in the report from Emilie Oftedal “The financing of jihadi terrorist cells in Europe 57 , 58% of the terrorist cases identified in Europe between 1993 and 2015 have relied on personal assets. Theft and robberies are concerning 28% of the sources and considered as the second most important way. In the end, only two of 40 cases studied in Europe have involved Islamic charity funding. As we mentioned, cooperation between terrorist groups and affiliation now concerns territorial proximity and opportunities for some groups to launch attacks in additional territories. In Europe, while the Hamburg Cell directly benefited from Al-Qaeda’s central command support before 2001, such backing rarely concerned terrorist groups after this period. According to Emilie Oftedal58, half of the cells identified in Europe between 2003 and 2015 were self-financed, meaning there is no evidence they received external support from central terrorist groups. The report illustrates how external support from other terrorist organizations declined after 2001. From 2010 to 2015, for example, none of the studied terrorist networks has received any funds from an external organization. This tendency is part of a gradual development towards more decentralized terrorist networks involving local cells operating with the absence of a central leadership. The development of small cells explains such a decreased financing need and explains why terrorists can more easily raise money without external help.

Whether there is no doubt terrorist attacks in Western Europe progressively involved and gave more importance to local cells, links and connections with central groups in Africa and the Middle East are still reported. In 2015, following a three-day manhunt after the Charlie Hebdo attacks, Cheri Kouachi, one of the authors of the attack stated on BFM TV59,he received direct financing in 2011 from Anwar al Awlaki, one of the leaders of Al Qaeda in Yemen. In 2002, the leader of the Beghal Network accused of plotting an attack against the US embassy in Paris, admitted he received instructions from Al-Qaeda, which transferred money to a bank account in Morocco. David Headley, who planned an attack against the offices of the newspaper Jyllands Posten in 2009 received money for attack preparations in cash when he met with leaders of LeT and Huji.60 This series of examples illustrate the potential risk of connections, notably during the period of terrorism prevalence in other countries, like between 2014 and 2016, with the presence of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. It is also important to mention that, in Europe, over the last few years, cells which received funds from abroad were in most of the time, involving foreign fighters’ presence Like this report shows, terrorism activity ramped up worldwide, and the creation of terror cells in low-developed countries enabled the implantation of an important and long-term terrorist presence in Europe. Compared with 9/11 or even 1998 embassy attacks, plots in Europe became relatively uncostly and straightforward over recent years. 2015 Paris attacks cost only 10 00 dollars or less, according to French authorities61. AK-47 bought on the black market were the most significant expenses. Most of the attacks were funded through legitimate sources, from people savings, incomes, and small loans or petty criminalities. Traces of large-scale donations remittances and help from large-scale terrorist groups were not reported. In 2007, the terrorists involved in the 29th June London attacks62 worked as doctors and used their salaries as an essential source of finance for their terrorist activity. Besides, savings and repayment of a personal loan contributed to financing the attack.

The report from Emilie Oftedal63 illustrates the differences and the evolution of terrorism in the attacks. From 1994 until 2001, none of the cells was self-financed. From 2008 to 2013 61% of the cells were entirely self-financed.

Terrorist-alliances and information sharing is still existing but decreased with the extension of groups and the new forms of terrorism. Clearly out of Al-Qaeda’ vision, the implantation of a Caliphate has now become the primary purpose of the groups” leaders. After Usama Bin laden died in 2011, Al-Qaeda lost an important part its potential control on worldwide terrorists. But, as demonstrated in Abbottabad documents and terrorist activity in Africa, cooperation remains in the case of existing interests. Regarding ransom payment, for example, internal documents dating back from 2010 demonstrated Al-Qaeda’s central command, based in Pakistan, was overseeing negotiations for hostages grabbed as far as Africa. Structured coordination was also demonstrated at least until 2016 between the three main Al-Qaeda affiliates (AQMI AQAP, Al Shabab) in their efforts to ensure a standard kidnapping protocol.

On a general basis regarding external support and alliances between terrorist groups, the diversity of actors and local financing opportunities considerably reduced terrorism activities. Alliances are created opportunistically, and today’s terrorist groups are considerably different from the Hamburg Cell that composed the major parts of the 9/11 actors. Concerning the Islamic State, the recent death of Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, formal leader, is, according to Colin P Clarke64 a potential obstacle to future cooperation and international recognition by terrorist groups worldwide. As we demonstrate in the next chapter, the group had obtained the majority of its influence by its territorial claims. Since 2017, and its loss of territory control due to a lack of means and opportunities, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria decreased its external support, notably in Afghanistan. In most places, local affiliates are now creating alliances with rebel groups, just like in Mozambique.

II) Terrorism and territory control: A new form of power and finance

By 2014, Islamic State’ territory was spreading over more than 100,000 km2, the most extensive control ever existing before for a terrorist group. Even before 2014, aspiration for a califate and territory control were mentioned as the main purpose of the group.

It is dedicated to the fact that the word “terrorism” is now used” to design groups with a long history of territory vindication and implemented for a long time in a designed area. With considerable means and potentialities, terrorist groups are now much more focused on establishing a territory control and expanding their presence in diverse areas. As a notice, in West and Central Africa, terrorist activity has been reported in repetitive areas with a regular presence notably in Northern Mali. In contrast to groups like Al-Qaeda before 9/11 and Hizballah that rely on external patrons and state-sponsors to bankroll the groups’ activities, ISIS largely self-funds operations, particularly through diverse revenue sources such as taxation and black-market transactions. ISIS has also sought to maximize control of state assets (e.g., oil, gas, and electricity) in Iraq and Syria to finance its expansion.

The increasing number of failed states is a new tendency of the 21st century. A failed state is, according to the Collins dictionary65: “A weak state where social and political structures have collapsed to the point where the government has little or no control. In Sudan, Mali, Libya, the absence of any central authority caused by civil wars and the prevalence of corruption can be considered as new opportunities now exploited by terrorist groups on a broad scale. In such a context, terrorist territorial expansion spread up and, under the auspices of the Islamic State, became a new purpose of main terrorist groups. Starting its activity in 2005 as an AL Qaeda affiliate in Iraq66, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria progressively imposed its strength, emerging from the Northern Iraqi provinces under the auspices of Abu Musab al Zarqawi. After Zarqawi’s death in 2005, the Islamic State in Iraq continued to wage a bloody campaign of terrorism in 2010-2011, establishing a local territory control. The Islamic State notably profited at this time of Iraq’s prime minister Nouri Al Maliki’s bloody crackdown on Sunnis communities, notably in the province of Mosul. Such violence and the government unpopularity provided the organization with important support amidst the local population, notably in Sunnis areas. Indicators of rising instability and fragility grew apparent with inequality and corruption. In 2013, the group began taking control of territory in Syria and changed its name to Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant. The following year, ISIS overran large swathes of Northern and Western Iraq, proclaimed the creation of a "caliphate", and became known as "Islamic State". On 29th June 2014, ISIS proclaimed itself to be a worldwide califate, after taking control of the Iraqi city of Mosul. In 2015, the Islamic State (also known as ISIS) had a budget of up to $1.7 billion, according to a study by King’s College London, making it the world’s richest terrorist group of history. This willingness to create a state and differentiate itself from other terrorist groups can also be illustrated in former ISIS’s leader Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi audio address in 2014.

The former “caliphate” of ISIS, which lost most of its territory control after a war on terrorism from the international community in January 2020,67 had notably asked for doctors and engineers to travel to cities under control as a way to “help build his newly declared Islamic State”.

This chapter will examine how the Islamic State used its territorial control to reach funds, notably by oil smuggling and taxation. It will take as a reference in early 2016, when ISIS controlled approximately a total of 52,700 square kilometers. We will also study the terrorist organization Al-Shabab and its current degree of territory control in Eastern Africa, as well as Al-Qaeda in the peninsula Arabia and its partial control of a Yemeni city in 2018. To conclude, we will also carry out a study case on the partial territory control from the Islamic State when called Islamic State in Iraq, before its general conquest started in 2013.

1) Islamic State’s territory control

a) Oil and gas

From the beginning of its territory control, ISIS placed a high priority on securing energy assets, mainly oil and gas for its internal resources. The dependence was multi-sized68. Oil and gas resources were helping to power vehicles delivering fighters to the battlefield and running fire. Oil was even used as a battlefield weapon by ISIS fighters, some burning and setting fire to oil wells as cover. More critically, the Black-market oil and gas helped funding ISIS operations and implicated a large part of the organization's budget. By the mean of its territory control, ISIS was between 2015 and 2017 overseeing69 at best a network of nearly half of oil and gas facilities in Syria and nearly 10 per cent in Iraq. In Iraq, such control was corresponding to around 300 oil wells stretched across a quarter-million square miles. The total control amounted to an overall production capacity of 80,000 to 120,000 barrels per day. The production represented a profit of $2 million to $4 million per day (for a barrel discounted price of $25 to $50). In 2015 alone, ISIS brought $500 million from oil and gas sales.

ISIS used a large-scale operation to fulfil its expectations, well suited, and perfectly adapted to local constraints. According to publicly released information,70 the group dedicated around 125 members to run oil operations directly managing 1600 oil workers. A large part was recruited from abroad, most of them from Muslim countries and adhered to ISIS’s religious motives.

The ability and skills of ISIS members to reorganize themselves following repetitive strikes were also pointed out in reports. Documents confirmed strikes on-field infrastructure ‘pumps, flow lines, manifolds” were not enough to stop production entirely, despite sometimes taking facilities offline for just a few days. A part of the oil territories controlled by ISIS also had enough natural pressure to gush oil without any mechanical assistance, making it easier to extract production. The answer from US authorities was that as long as” ISIS fighters are controlling territory,” it was impossible to stop them entirely to carry out oil production71.

At the top of the production, revenues were largely exceeding expenses, and the Islamic State managed to earn large scale profits. According to US officials, audits, discrepancies were carried out similarly as that of a company. The staff was mainly composed of experimented and skill personal coming from diverse countries. Global competitive salaries were also distributed to them. According to Amos Hochstein72, US special envoy in Syria, the organization also levied taxes along the value chain. Selling it to a refinery in the area, the refinery payed a tax. Once the refinery sells the product, they get taxed. In 2015, speaking at the European Parliament foreign affairs committee, Jana Hybaskova, ambassador for the EU to Iraq at this time, announced that some ISIS and oil was purchased in the European Union.

The Western coalition rapidly identified such capacities and considered oil as soon as 2015 as the main source of funding for the group. In such a way, international attacks were mainly focused73 on this potential resource. In 2015, one French airstrike struck more than 116 fuel trucks used by the group to transport oil; Once the United States force found a coherent picture of the IS oil sector, it resulted in Operation Tidal Wave II74. On August 7th, 2016, "Multiple" coalition warplanes destroyed some 83 oil tankers used by the Islamic State near Abu Kamal. Following massive bombings, oil production was scarce, and the organization oil production was affected and imposed a serial blow to ISIS revenues. In November 2016, when the Kurdish force started cutting off the main route between Mosul and IS occupied territory in Syria, it helped choke fuel supplies leading to spiking prices and affecting oil transport deeply. Nonetheless, documents discovered after in Abu Sayyaf residency (one of ISIS leaders), demonstrated how important were ISIS rebuilding capacity and potential adaptation to new territories.

This oil trafficking, unprecedented for a terrorist group, was not only motivated by the finance but also by the statute it could provide to the group. According to Hochstein, US special envoy to Syria, the Islamic State “wanted to be seen as a state, needing energy profits to symbolize the difference with other terrorist organizations 75 ”, able to control territories and to provide electricity and fuel.

In the early stages of the smuggling operations, trucks laden with crude were sold to intermediaries by the organization at low prices. However, as the trade had grown and Kurdish authorities made truck movements more difficult, ISIS started selling oil directly to smugglers who brought their own trucks. The group was selling most of its oils directly to independent traders in the oil fields. Testimonies of massive traffic jams coming directly to the ISIS oil field were mentioned. Such a way of production was then adapted to main coalition strikes after 2016 to avoid significant traffic jams nearby the oilfields.

In numerous cases, crude oil coming from ISIS-controlled territory was smuggled directly into the Kurdistan region, where it was then refined locally in topping plants such as Erbil and Sulaymaniyah. According to Iraqi officials in 2015,76 oil trafficking started to be carried out to with a handful of intermediaries nearby Tuz Khurmatu. Smugglers thereby intensified trafficking into Kurdistan with a price at first being elevated at 63£ per barrel.

In Iraq, oil smuggling77 had existed for a long time and was already used by Saddam Hussein following 1991 international sanctions. Massive militants’ groups of smugglers were still controlling in 2015 territories in the northern part of the country containing oil fields, refineries and pipelines. ISIS established itself within those networks to sell its production. Truckers used most of the time well-known criminal smuggling routes to pass over controlled areas.

Fully integrated within the ISIS strategy from the beginning, the oil sector has been highly centralized. Smuggling was also highly premeditated. According to Malla Hassan Garminai78, a member of Salahuddin provincial council, the smuggling began two days after Salahuddin province (north of Bagdad) fell to ISIS militants. "The oil was at beginning taken to refineries along the Kirkuk-Erbil road, a section known as Qush Tappa, to the small, private refineries located there. Smugglers were jumping at the chance to buy trucks of oil for $26 per barrel, making huge margins selling to unlicensed refineries in the Kurdistan region during a time of high global prices. IQIQ fighters levied fees as transporters when passing through checkpoints. “ 79

ISIS was also active in oil trafficking in Syria, notably in Deir Ez Zor province, where production reached somewhere between 24,000 to 40,000 barrels a day in October 2015. The Islamic State also turned to refine by buying some refining in Syria. The group was supplying oil and, in return taking all the mazut production and splitting the profits made on petrol production with the original owner.

In Syria, ISIS' control on oil fields was amounting to around 60% of local oil production against 15% in Iraq80. The tremendous impact and new local structure caused by ISIS territory control made even Syrian rebels dependent on ISIS oil production after 2015. Actually, two types of fuel were sold in Syrian rebel areas: more expensive fuel refined in ISIS areas, and cheaper locally refined fuel. Residents usually buy a mix of both and use the cheaper for generators and to keep a better-quality variety for their vehicles. According to Syrian smugglers interviewed by the Financial Times in 201581, such trafficking also stopped because it was judged unprofitable following a sharp reduction in price. ISIS was also able to maintain high prices in this market despite the slump in international oil prices and kept being active despite the reduction of oil smugglers in Syria. According to documents seized by the U.S. Army in May 2015, ISIS sold oil to the highest bidder, and never ran out of potential customers. The organization enjoyed a monopoly, principally in the rebel-controlled areas in northern Syria82. Such a dependency forced rebel groups to purchase oil extracted from ISIS’ controlled territories by way of intermediary smugglers.

ISIS also used its territory to directly block sales to Northern Syria83, undermining the rebels’ military skills. Skyrocketing prices were noted following ISIS’s blockade, affecting directly rebel areas. Bread prices also increased consecutively. Some hospitals were shut down, and children died following a lack of fuel for incubators. Deliberately using this method as a war strategy, ISIS militants also threatened traders trying to move supplies into the rebel northwest area. This blockade and its consequences demonstrated the dependence on this oil even for rebel groups. In an interview84, Tareq Abdelhaq, one activist from Idlib’s province, noted the “upcoming threat of famine” if the fuel supply remained cut. The potentiality of rebel fighters going straight back to buying ISIS oil was considered as “an obligation,” ISIS controlling all the oil fields in the area.

In 2015 ISIS also exerted partial control over gas fields85. The capture of Palmyra led to an increased number of ISIS-run gas fields. By the end of 2015, twelve were controlled by the group. Since the handling of gas was considered more sophisticated than oil, such exploitation was harder regarding ISIS' lack of skills and means. As a way, the organization brokered agreements with the Syrian government and public companies within the sector86. The latter agreed to provide qualified staff and equipment while ISIS was accepting to share its production organization. Workers said that in agreements between ISIS and the regime, the Syrian state, and private gas companies paid and fed their employees and supplied equipment to the facilities. The government and the companies used the electricity produced from the “dry gas”, while ISIS would get the fuel products made from the plants’ liquid gas. In a written statement dating back from 201487, Syria’s Ministry of Oil and Natural Resources recognized some of its employees worked under ISIS “for the sake of preserving the security and safety of these facilities.”

While ISIS no longer controls any territory, this set of examples illustrates how a terrorist group could exploit the potentiality and extensive range of production available. Despite a vindicated status and condemnation by the international community, a terrorist organization can become independent and get a quasi-state status through the extent of its implementation on the ground. By gaining important territory control, ISIS has gained access to various local commercial and industrial facilities. Such an opportunity enabled the group to sell an essential wave of products on the Black market. Hundred of millions of euros could be generated from these sales annually.

b) ISIS control of the financial sector and taxes imposed

In the aftermath of ISIS capture of Mosul, the group took control of several branches of public and private banks, including the Central Bank of Iraq. In 2014, the governor of Nineveh reported ISIS had laid hold to $425 m in cash88. By the end of 2013, ISIS' cash accounts were exceedingly around one billion dollars. ISIS's control over the banking system in many Syrian areas was also prevalent. By the end of 2015, ISIS controlled in total around 115 bank branches. Such a system was nonetheless limited considering measures taken by regulators and central banks. By the end of 2015, it was almost impossible to get access to the international financial system for the group. Nonetheless, ISIS made a profit from this territory control over diverse cities such as Raqqa, Mosul and Deir ez Zor to set up an elaborated tax system, based on ancestral califates In a 2016 report89 Jean Charles Brisard noted that, in total, the extortion/tax system imposed by ISIS in areas under its control could generate as much as US $360 million a year

In Raqqa, for example, the Islamic State created a called Raqqa’s Credit Bank considered as the new tax authority under ISIS control. Employees were collecting $20 every two months from shop owners for electricity, water, and security. Many civilians said they had received official receipts stamped with the ISIS logo and that the fees were less than they used to pay in bribes to Mr. Assad’s government. This tax system was notably based on the ancestral califates. In Raqqa90, for example, Christians had to pay a minority tax of a few dollars per month and adapt themselves to Muslim practice (Shops had to stay closed during Muslim prayers and patrols force obeying those rules). This tax, called Jizya,91 was historically levied in the form of financial charge on non-Muslim subjects living in the Muslim States.

ISIS applied different types of Muslim taxes on the territory under its control. Proofs of such tax collection were reported in Deir ez Zor Governorate, Aleppo or Mosul. Responders, interrogated in a report from Rand92 confirmed the existence of a Zakat tax (religious taxes imposed on all Muslims), based on various percentages of local salaries and variable, depending on the cities. In Mosul, it reached 5 per cent. In Deir ez Zor, residents had to go to a Zakat office, under the control of a Zakat minister”, to inform authorities of their properties. As a result, tax due was then calculated, and payment imposition given to the residents. In Mosul, jewelry, property business had to be declared. Collections were generally annual, but for high-income could be carried out biannually of even monthly. Cheating of inhabitants could result in jail. Zakat was also extended to businesses with taxation rates varying to 3% as mentioned residents in Deir ez Zor. Islamic State members inspected businesses reviewing invoices and sale checking the expenses unexpectedly without any previous announcement. In Mosul, residents noted how ISIS was assessing the quantity of wheat held in stock to estimate production value. Taxation was also levied at the start of businesses, with a 2,5 per cent tax on capital when opening a business.

Regarding the agricultural sector, ISIS imposed “ushr” taxes, similar to Zakat in the payment procedure. Historically, an ushr93 is defined in the book “A History of Islamic Philanthropy in Indonesia as a “a 10% tax on the harvests of irrigated land and 10% tax on the harvest from rain-watered land and 5% on Land dependent on well water. The term may also be used for a 10% tax on merchandise imported from abroad. Respondents interviewed confirmed the existence of a tax system based on “ushr” tax value of wheat and grains reaching 10 per cent. Before harvesting their wheat, Deir ez Zor farmers had to show proof of tax payments.

The Islamic State imposed taxes on money transfers, both in Syria and Iraq. Such measures were concerning at the same time, syrian workers transferring money to their families back home and salary transfers from government employees in Iraq to their relatives. According to a former resident in Aleppo, ISIS started forcing people to pay a currency charge of 5000 Syrian pounds ((equivalent to $10) for a money transfer from Lebanon.

ISIS also controlled roads in Syria, linking to other parts of the country94. Despite the crisis, trade continued, and ISIS made substantial profits by taxing the transport of merchandise. In one case mentioned by testimonies reported by Rand ,1000 dollars were asked to a truck carrying 28 tons of merchandise. On a general basis, the taxation rate was reaching 2,5 per cent. All goods were subject to inspection, and all transports had to pay a tax under any circumstances. In rural Aleppo, trucks had to pay fees whether they were full or empty, upon entry or exit. According to locals, trucks were taxed at $100 per ton. Such taxes were not uniform, substantially varying depending on ISIS location. According to Fadel Abu Ragheef95, an Iraqi expert, the Islamic State imposed a tax of $600 to $800 on every truck transporting oil.

In its role as governing authority, the Islamic State charged a variety of fees. Fees were imposed for services obtained (electricity, water.). Testimonies provide a glimpse of the amount of fees, for example, reaching 1,000 Syrian pounds monthly for water, 20,000 pounds to renew an identification card, and other amounts for using services. A large part of those services was previously free under the Syrian regime, often appearing as additional funds for Islamic State. Business fees were also forced to be paid for each telephone line. A respondent from Mayadin reported this as a monthly fee of 2.25 dirhams, to be paid at the post office.96

List and examples of business fees imposed in Deir-Ez Zor 97

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

At the same time, only modest services were provided. In Deir ez Zor, some of the roads were fixes cleaned streets, paved roads. But most of the time reports announced that service provisions, unlike declined when ISIS arrived in power.

Islamic State also earned money from administering its own form of justice. In all the areas under its control, the group imposed its interpretation of Islamic Law, banning cigarettes and imposing veil. Fines were mostly concerning women. For example, punished women not wearing a niqab98 or a khimar (transparent fabric covering the face). In Deir ez Zor, fines for wearing the niqab varied from $5 to $16. Even for women wearing a niqab without a veil, fines of $2 were imposed. In Deir ez Zor, ISIS also imposed fines on men not conform to the rules of Islamic appearance, wearing beards or shorts too long. Smoking also deserved high fines. In the area of Deir ez-Zor, someone caught smoking would be jailed and pressed to name the seller, but $100 could be exchanged for freedom. If caught, a cigarette trader could be fined for a minimum of $2000. According to testimonies confirming the lack of centrality in those decisions taken, in rural Aleppo, Islamic State appeared to be less strict, with the reported absence of fines for women wearing un-Islamic clothing for example.

c) Alternative financial means and projection into the future

After 2016, the organization started to find new solutions facing lower oil income after its battlefield losses. ISIS demonstrated a critical adaptation capacity, changing its strategy and earning new revenues. According to a report by Iraq’s central court of investigation in 2016, consulted by Reuters99, the organization imposed a new financing mechanism. Fishing activity in hundreds of lakes north of Bagdad was notably reported. ISIS also generated new revenues from car dealership and factories previously run by the Iraqi government in areas seized by the militants. Since its territory losses, ISIS is notably using previous contacts with local businesses.

The Islamic State has displayed an ability to rely on a variety of economic approaches to finance its jihad. Despite financial and operational setbacks, it now demonstrates a huge capacity in acting as an organization that can operate without territory but organizes and conducts hit-and-run and ambush attacks while acting as a hybrid criminal-terrorist group to raise money. Extortion rackets, contract slimming, and other activities are still part of ISIS financing program. According to Howard Shatz, a senior economist at the Rand Corporation, a majority of the funds the group acquired remains undetectable and could still be profitable to the group. As the Islamic militants retreated from strongholds in Iraq and Syria, they carried sums in assets that could reach $400 million. A large part of this business was laundered by investing in legitimate business throughout the Middle East in 2019. This money, experts fear, could be used to finance and create a new “state in the state”. Kurdish officials from the counterterrorism center indicated that the trail of Islamic State money led to an “astonishing array of legitimate commercial enterprises”, including hotels, real estate companies, and automobile dealerships. One reported case by Kurdish authorities noted terrorist money was used to buy shares in a carwash business. Some of the businesses receiving cash are not aware that the investors are terrorists, while others are. Some funds are dedicated to current fighters and even reach lawyers in charge of ISIS fighters currently in jail. Iraqi officials also noted a large amount of gold hidden in the desert100, with one underground amount recently discovered south of Kirkuk. In Southern Turkey,101 authorities noted people had moved money through cutout and proxies into correspondent banks. As the group's territory control is now shrinking, it becomes more difficult for authorities to discover and halt the Islamic State’s illegal streams of cash. Moving forward, the Islamic State will likely seek to reinvigorate now-dormant revenue streams by extorting populations. According to a report from the UN Security Council Committee102, the group retains intelligence on local communities that could be used in future efforts to extort or otherwise extract financing from areas previously under its control.” By getting access to this kind of information, the group will potentially rely on organized crime activities to intimidate and extort civilians. Even though the group suffered massive territory losses, according to expert estimates in 2019, ISIS still had access to hundreds of millions of dollars.

One supposition put forward by experts on the subject is the ability of terrorist groups, and notably ISIS, to use their presence on the ground to increase their potential finance capabilities. Such a process was notably observed following the Iraqi war in 2003. One strategy carried out by ISI members in the past was to build long -term relationships with local officials connected to reconstruction projects after 2003, placing after that its own members in positions of influence within the supply chain. Not widely spread for several reasons in the group financing strategy (willingness to differentiates from other terrorist groups.) donations is a historical method103 that could possibly be largely used by ISIS in the future. In 2018, the United States reported the existence of “Afaq Dubai”, an Iraq based money service business having moving money to ISIS104. In May 2018, a Jordan-based ISIS financial facilitator transferred $3 million from Iraqi dinar into three exchanges in potential ISIS accounts.

According to Iraqi officials, such a wave of finance could provide additional funds to ISIS in the future. An Iraqi official member of a parliamentary committee focused on Mosul’s fall105 after 2014 noted the group had smuggled 400 million out of Iraq and Syria after 2015. Investment in Baghdad and around are concerning people inspired and motivated by the prospect of economic gain. Many of the new partners to Islamic State are tribal leaders or businessmen having clean records and able to hide their links to a terrorist organization. Such companies can be found among car dealerships, electronic shops, pharmacies. Hundreds of small Islamic state-linked exchange houses are operating in Baghdad. Such processes enable the group to convert its money from Iraqi dinars into American dollars. According to Eenad Mansour106 of Chatham House, a British think tank, most of the current operators are tribal leaders or businessmen having collaborated with the jihadist group in the previous years.

In a UK parliament address dating back from 2015107, David Butter, an associate fellow working for Chatham House gave details regarding ISIS action and money strategy initiated by the group. He noted how ISIS operatives siphoned Iraqi dinar funds from civils’ servant's pensions and banks in Mosul. They were “siphoned” through Jordanian banks, back into Iraq through “Ramadi” and then “back in Baghdad Banks, by using the hawala system. As a way, when the Iraqi government carries out regular foreign currency auctions, the ISIS money is inserted into it, and the organizations could make a margin on the differences. To send money back from its operatives’ territories from Bagdad, ISIS is using a new hawala exchange system. By using such a method, the Islamic State is also able to purchase US dollars at discount rates. In eastern Syria, the group hoovered up108 pounds and American dollars. In Turkish cities bordering Syria, ISIS has been moving large sums of money out of its caliphate. The money was flowing through the hawala system, being expanded in Turkey and Syria with underreported hawala centers established since the beginning of the Syrian war. Such a process is allowing refugees, weapon dealers, rebel groups, and now terrorist groups to move cash in and out of the country. Hawala dealers are using encrypted mobile chat WhatsApp to communicate with the absence of detailed records of transactions or names of customers, making it almost impossible to track for international police. According to an article of The Economist dating back from 2018, a large part of this money is being stored in Turkey by individuals. It is then used for future operations. Investment in gold was carried out recently with the money, enabling individuals to completely blank finalized transactions and keep ISIS cells active by providing small and undetectable funds. In January 2017, following investigations about the 2017 Istanbul deadly attacks, authorities discovered109 the Islamic State had established about 100 safe houses in the city.

In the same way as the Islamic States carried out its taxation, the Taliban (considered as a terrorist group since 2001) are implementing an important territory control and functioning as a state in a state in large parts of Afghanistan. Resident nearby Kunduz city estimated in 2015 that the Taliban were raising more funds from tax collection than the Afghan government. 70% of the territory appeared under Taliban control in 2019, enough to provide durable tax revenue. Just like the Islamic State did during its territorial implantation, the Taliban has tended to take over two traditional Islamic levies Zakat and ushr. A testimony from Breshna Sherkat110, an electricity provider in the area estimated it lost around 5 million afghani ($66,500) a year from payments diverted to the Taliban. Taliban affiliates are mainly in the provinces of Kunduz, Baghlan, Helmlans and Kandahar. In exchange, despite its recognized status of “terrorist organizations”, the Taliban now provide national security and portray themselves as effective guarantors of justice and security in the areas under their control. Such a strategy of territory control and taxation can be found in Europe and particularly in Italia with mafia111 groups blackmailing and providing “security” in exchange for monthly payments required. For terrorist organizations, such extortion can be carried out on varied scales depending on the degree of territory control.

2) Al Shabab in Somalia: An elaborated financial system

While the Al-Shabab organization controls far less territory than they did a few years ago, many people in this region are still terrified of their continued ability to stage large-scale attacks on civilians. Recent attacks like the2013 massacre in the Kenyan mall in Nairobi or a suicide bombing in Uganda in 2010 that killed scores of people. Al Shabab was founded in 2004, pledging allegiance to Al Qaeda and operating mainly in Somalia and Kenya. Since its creation, the group managed to spread its activity over a vast territory, particularly in the Southern parts of Somalia. Al Shabab can be compared with the Islamic State due to its independent sources of finance and the exploitation of its territorial control.

For example, from 2008 to late 2012, al Shabab controlled the port of Kismayo112, located nearby the southern Somalian border with Kenya. By undercutting the fees charged by the Somali government, the group encouraged importers and exporters to use the port under its control. During this period, AL Shabab earned a large amount of money by trading charcoal, exporting large quantities towards Gulf countries, and Iran. According to the UN monitoring group.113, the total of charcoal exports from Southern Somalia was in the range of 4 million sacks per year, representing revenues of $15 million per year for the group. In 2013, Khasab port was also a major transit point into Gulf nations for Somali charcoal and a moneymaker for Al Shabab.

a) Al Shabab tax system

Al Shabab ‘territorial implantation has also been an opportunity to impose large taxation on businesses under its control; In 2011, taxations of businesses in Bakaara and Suud Baad markets were estimated to reach 2,5$ million to $ 5 million per month.

Al Shabab has two central departments that collect taxes from the public: the Zakawaat Office and the Finance Office. The former one is tasked with collecting non-monetary taxes such as livestock and farm produces, while the latter collects all monetary taxes. This example demonstrates the extent of administration for the organization and the importance of tax collecting and extortion in its internal business.

Zakawaat office is in charge of collecting non-monetary taxes, such as livestock and farm production. Amounts collected are mainly concerning the rural population and can vary by each district. The starting114 and standard taxing rate is one camel out of 25 camels owned and one goat out of every 40 goats. The collection is done uniformly even within territories, not under Al Shabab direct control. As a method to collect such money, collectors are issuing receipts to pastoralists. If some of them lose its receipt, they pay the taxes again in the next year. Such developing methods help to ensure that pastoralists away from Al Shabab territory the precedent year do not escape payment of Zakat. It is well elaborated to overcome the lack of means in rural areas (absence of phones or internet connections). Amounts are varying depending on the districts. In 2017 around Mogadishu, 2200 goats, and 171 camels were collected.

On the other side115, the Finance office is in charge of collecting all monetary taxes, including Zakat tax, reaching 2,5% of the monetary value of a business. As an example, a trader with 1000 worth of goods has to pay $25 in Zakat. Just like carried out the Islamic State, Al Shabab keeps a list of business owners and an estimation of their worth, predetermined by the finances office. At the end of the year, each business has to pay the Zakat to the finance office directly in cash. Money is collected at predefined checkpoints in all the cities. Each auditor is controlling the money, making sure the amount collected and receipts match. He then gives a stamped letter to the accountant, who takes the money to the bank. Example of taxes can vary from $5 for bringing a camel to the market until $3000 for a water well drilling rig registration Roads' tax collection is also instituted and vary by district and region, depending on the number of trucks using roads. As an example, in 2016, tax collection in the area around Kismayo (a port city in the southern province) was $30,000 to $50000 per month. Road checkpoint could bring the group around $15mn per year. Traders can be taxed in all parts, even when based in territory not controlled by Al Shabab. Al Shabab members are stopping the shipments passing through the main roads. Another method is applied to traders not under the group’ control116. To expand their area of control, Al Shabab informants are reporting names to the financial office of potential individuals to tax. The office then calls the person and force him to pay the requested amount. Those who refuse see their files handed over to the Amniyaat (security group) and could possibly face violence.

In December 2018, although Al-Shabaab may still generate some income from the “taxation” of vehicles transporting charcoal in Somalia, the group maintained a diversified revenue base. It is no longer financially dependent on the charcoal trade as it used to be. In 2018, Al Shabab was generating according to estimations at least 7,7 million from the checkpoint taxation of charcoal. However, charcoal is far from being the only resources taxed. For example, in 2018, at one checkpoint in the Bay region, alone, Al Shabab generated approximatively $10 million by taxing vehicles and goods, while no charcoal was reported to have transited through this checkpoint.

When money is in short supply, and for example, following territory losses and territorial defeats, Infaaq tax can also be used. This tax, without any religious basis, is raised at a regional level and in a less organized way than Zakat with the purpose of making up for Al Shabab business shortfalls in some areas. The tax is administered by special forces assisted by local tribal leaders. Al Shabab also, when its control is essential enough, confiscates livestock belonging to people suspected of having ties to the government.

Reportedly, Al Shabab maintains a well-established financial system with regular control applied to auditors in the districts. All of them have to declare assets, including land, cars and cash in the bank117. Possibility to defect for auditors is almost impossible with a 24-hour watch made by Amniyaat. Different parties belonging to the organization are also checking regularly. Even in Puntland, nonetheless really far from Al Shabab strongholds, some businessmen reported how the terrorist organization extorted Zakat from them.

b) Activity in Mogadishu

In 2020, in most of rural Somalia, Al Shabab operates as a parallel government with a firm territory control. Despite increasing drones strikes, the group keeps a vital ability to remain active in urban areas. Such activity is reported in the Somalian capital, Mogadishu. According to a New York Times article118, dating back from the end of 2019, activity in the port of Mogadishu is partially controlled by Al Shabab despite a regular presence of local authorities. Militants from the groups are levying taxes on containers and forcing main importers in the city to pay a regular charge. A 40-foot container is taxed at $160 while $100 are required for a 20-foot. The more striking in such testimonies has to do with Al Shabab’s ability to get aware of the detailed and potential information on security issues. One questioned person notably evocated how the group members already knew about containers before they even arrived and were collecting taxes efficiently. According to traders, diverse methods could be used to pay group members. Hawala system, mobile money transfers and banks are evocated. Such money could then be redistributed throughout the country to al-Shabab cells. Despite the official absence of territory control in Mogadishu, Al Shabab members also justify another tax as the annual Zakat (tax on business already reported) in addition to taxes already existing on imports. Threats are being imposed on people refusing to pay. According to the Somali Finance minister Abdirahman Beileh, this is a “scary situation”, now becoming a major problem in the country.

Al Shabab’ leverage power is becoming more important and could directly affect citizens in Mogadishu. For example, after 2017, one hostel owner from Mogadishu, Gurey Haji Hassan, openly expressed his views against paying and raised against Al Shabab. In March 2019,119 his hotel was destroyed in a bombing attack perpetrated by Al Shabab, causing 25 deaths. Such type of incident also happens while government forces appear powerless to raise against the terrorist group. Despite being well-identified, Al Shabab tax collectors are free to circulate in the city and circulate nearby the port despite the local presence of international police force, soldiers, and UN forces. What also makes it hard to identify terrorists within such a city has to go with the proximity and similarity between Al Shabab members and Mogadishu inhabitants. Al Shabab has, just like ISIS in some Iraqi provinces (Mosul), a long-term territory implantation, established contacts with authorities, and an important ability to recruit. Despite a comprehensive knowledge and awareness of the situation, local authorities are not imposing laws and limitations on this traffic. Corruption within the highest ranks of the state is reported in Somalia, allowing Al Shabab militants to directly influence decision making and organize its trading activities with ease.

Regarding AL Shabab’ and ISIS case, it is interesting to point out their capability to collect taxes, adapt themselves to 21st-century societies tax collection inspired by ancestral califates, and replace existing “failed states”. Most low-income states such as Somalia or other countries in sub-Saharan Africa are often relying on trade taxes rather than on income taxes, with apparent flaws in their ability to prospect for payments in rural areas. Al Shabab's example demonstrates how it is possible to raise non-trivial amounts of revenue from rural populations even in the poorest states and with limited means. Notable research from Henrik Jacobsen Kleven120, Emmanuel Saez, and Claus Thustrup Kreiener illustrate how it is easier to impose taxes in economies where the presence of large firms can be used an intermediary. Considering the role of the Al Shabab Zakawaat office, its method of functioning is perfectly adapted to poor rural areas where the absence of money prevents the implantation of an apparent tax system. Such innovation and capacity to adapt to different trends should be noted by the international community.

3) Partial territory control: Diverse opportunities

On a smaller scale, additional terrorist groups have sometimes benefited from “partial territory implantation” to initiate state activity. It differentiates from previous examples due to the small extent of this territory control combined with a lack of durability (short-term control) in the implantation. The groups mentioned, just like ISIS before 2014 (ISI) had to cooperate with official authorities and benefited from an implantation sometimes limited to a few neighborhoods in major cities.

a) Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula; Temporary territory control

As a first example, let’s consider Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and its activity after 2011. Created121 in January 2009 and based in Yemen , AQQAP was considered in 2014 as one the most dangerous and effective terrorist group directly affiliated to Al-Qaeda. Its former leader, Nasir-Al Wuyashi killed during a US airstrike in 2015, was Al-Qaeda number 2 at this time. Despite a loss of ground since 2015 in Yemen war-affected parts, the organization managed to impose partial territory control after 2011. In a 2012 letter from the head of AQAP Nasser al-Wuhayshi122, to his counterparts with Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), demonstrated the willingness and strategy of the group to implement a durable territory control and administration. The creation of a Dawah committee is evocated as a way to direct Muslims toward Islam. A direction of education is also mentioned, to ensure teachings do not contradict with the principals of Islamic sharia. It notably evocates how, for the first time, the organization ambitions to administer the affairs and services of a population. Regarding taxes, the letters also provide information on a committee to administer the markets, their people affairs, and demands.123

Before the takeover of the city of Mukalla in 2011, the group only took control of large swathes of deserted land, lacking an efficient territory implantation. In 2011 AQAP created Ansar al Sharia as a strategy to implement itself locally and emerge as a militant group. Acting as an affiliated group and disassociated from the terrorist image of AQPA, Ansar al Sharia’s purpose was to create multiple emirates through the aid of local backing. By May 2011, under the AAS banner, ASAP captured several towns, including Mukalla, a city located in the eastern part of Yemen.

Unlike ISIS strategy of full-scale territory control, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula initiated a power-sharing scheme. The group delegated the running of the city to a newly created civilian body made up of more than 60 members, AQAP acting as the city’s armed force and did not interfere in the selection of the council members. On its side, the organization gave up every recognizing signs. It renamed itself as the “Sons of Hadramawt”, taking control of the police in the city and operating as a religious force. Amongst important measures, the group enforced a ban on the narcotic trade.

To increase its finance, it notably seized124 the major infrastructure in the city, including the oil terminal and the seaport. Local noted AQAP gave the council only a billion rials ($4 million) but took “extra charges to fuel sales and imports as a way to secure a source of revenue125 according to Foreign Affairs. In an interview with a Mukalla resident, Crisis Group described how Al Shabab imported levies at the Mukalla seaport, collecting a fee for every liter of fuel and cargo container offloaded.

Such a strategy, compared with the Islamic State in Mosul, for example, illustrates AQAP's lack of funds and how to save itself from the trouble of ruling a city such as Mulakka. By investing in the sectarian nature of the conflict in Yemen, AQAP leaders notably calculated how they could make a profit of the existing animosity towards Houthis in this part of the country ‘(Mukalla is located in the south). Showing itself as a potential ally before its terrorist status and the imposition of a name, califate, and identity was the most efficient way for the group to gain a foothold in a territory where its means were more than limited. In 2016, massive protests erupted in the city and the lack of clarity and credibility upon AQAP strategy built-up tensions. People were rapidly fed up with the lack of state institutions, many perceiving the council as a cover for AQAP’ territorial implantation. The group finally never managed to reach its basic objectives, and protests rapidly erupted. After a few months, the imposition of sharia law in the streets of the city was fully noted. Faces of women were blackened out In April 2016, facing a UEA-US military campaign in April 2016, AQAP was forced to withdraw from Mulakka. Despite that, the group is far from defeated and has instead relocated to adjoining governorates or blended. It continues to exercise control of areas in Abyan and neighboring Sheba.

b) ISI: A predecessor of the Islamic State already implanted

Upper in this document, we identified and shed a light on Islamic State “optimal” financial system, in 2015, when it was constituted as a state. ISIS method was completely focused on a stable, durable territory control and an elaborated system. But, according to report, Islamic State predecessor, Al Qaeda in Iraq started its autonomy in 2005. Nonetheless, only 5% of its external funds were providing from external donations at this time and a partial territory control in the Anbar province was already existing.

AQI, ISIS predecessor organized itself in the province of Anbar, dividing into six geographic areas. Each had a sector administrator who divided his area into distinct sub-sectors. Both the provincial and western Anbar units had administrative emirs who represented and accounted for each sector’s administrative system.

From June 2005 to May 2006, AQI’Anbar administration raised nearly126 4,5 million, roughly 373000 dollars a month. The group also obtained more than 50 per cent of its revenue from selling stolen goods, most of which were highly valuable capital items, such as construction equipment, generators, and electrical cables. AQI provincial administration collected a substantial amount of revenue that was raised by other sectors. Sectors with excess cash on hand were asked to pass funds up to the provincial administrator. Revenue from spoils and from sales (accounting for both cars and stolen goods) increased disproportionately. This shift of sources (93% of revenues through spoils and sales) indicated that AQI became more aggressive in ordering AQI fighters to collect spoils. In 2006, the New York Times reported that the group was self-financing raising $70 million to $200 million a year from illegal activities. It said $25 million to $100 million of that came from oil smuggling and other criminal activity involving the state-owned oil industry, aided by “corrupt and complicit” Iraqi officials. Much of the money may have come from oil refinery and then sold on the black market, showing similar practice with ISIS between 2014 and 2018. In early 2007, 1 to 2 billion of the refined products may have disappeared into the black market, giving fresh financial resources to terrorist groups in the area.

Before taking territory control in Mosul, the Islamic State was extorting a “monthly tax to local businesses in the city. The payment was known as jizya” the term for an ancient tax in Muslim countries. In Mosul, Jizya127 was more identified as a “protection money” like the one required by the Italian mafia than a real tax. By 2013, the majority of Mosul businesses were paying it despite the presence of Iraqi authorities in the city. In 2010, local testimonies reported that jizya payments imposed by the Islamic State groups were discouraging potential investors in the region. In late 2008,128 four employees of the local land registration department in Mosul were arrested by the Iraqi military for cooperating with terrorists. They had been accused of selling government parts to ISIS members notably, enabling them to take a notable territory control in the area. At this time, state control was lacking, notably in the province of Mosul.

Between 2008 and 2009, the extortion of contracted projects around Mosul brought the group around 1,83 M $, showing a large increase of the activity. Hundreds of thousands of dollars were extorted from Iraqi companies in the area. Such a financing model, similar to what is currently being undertaken by Al Shabab members in Mogadishu demonstrates how terrorist groups can get durable funds on a territory without an official territorial presence. In Mosul, those extortion projects were concerning diverse businesses such as soft drink manufacturers, mobile phones companies, flour and cement companies. In exchange for protection, ISI members were intimidating or coopting firms under contract for reconstruction activities, demanding 10 to 20 per cent of the contract in exchange for protection. On September 2nd 2008, intern documents129 noted ISIS obtained a $50,000 credit obtained by force with a firm under contract to pave roads. In a translated internal documents reporting ISI revenue in 2008130, it was noted the group notably received a $160,000 payment from a mobile phone operator. According to the document, the company could pay ISI $200,000 per month to operate in northern Iraq. Even in 2005, the Islamic State business model was already developed with cells required to send 20 percent of their revenue to the next level of leadership131.

The situation we described illustrates how far local authorities in Mosul lacked control on internal security, providing diverse opportunities for ISIS fighters. All the examples we mentioned, from Mogadishu to Mosul demonstrate the importance of terrorist territory control as a permanent and unpredictable threat. Different Iraqi services are also lacking profound cooperation and the omnipresence of corruption among politicians ranks profited Islamic State. As this essay tries to demonstrate, the large extent and possibility of raising money for terrorist groups is mainly a threat in developing countries, notably during periods of rebuilding.

According to reports, ISIS as soon as 2006 wanted to remain self-sufficient and not get dependent on external sources. In one assessment from an ISI fighter in 2009132, he noted how was it wrong to rely only on one source of financing and how getting financed by external actors can be trusted and could influence terrorist actors.133

“The third economical issue is bad economic management especially when there are many demands from the fighters for money from the Emirs and ignoring any efforts for self-sufficiency. Brothers start asking for many unnecessary things like soda beverages, clothes and many other things that the brother wouldn’t think about buying it if the money had to come from his pocket. In addition, these bargains are usually neglected and thrown here and there 134 Despite the opposite claims made by the Iraqi government, the documents we studied demonstrate donations only played a tiny role in the creation of the Islamic State (only 5 per cent from 200 to 2010). Even in 2020, the funds gathered during the conquest and potential investments provide the groups a significant rebuilding capacity. With this capacity of adaptation, ISI was able to respond to unforeseen threats. The example demonstrates why long-term territorial implantation is necessary for an ambitious terrorist group. As showed before, one missing point of Al-Qaeda during its terrorist activity was the absence of any territorial implantation and the absence of correlation between “terrorists and criminals. In the 9/111 commission report, no reference of such cooperation can be found with a clear lack of financial capabilities for extensive projects.

In 2020, new terrorist groups are requiring and hoping for territory control. In the first part, we mentioned the ground alliance between the Islamist militia in Cabo Delgado with the local faction of the Islamic State. According to reports, while initial purposes of the organization was to carry out indiscriminate attacks and spread Islamism to Mozambique, new territory control motivations have emerged. The town of Mocimboa da Praia was briefly occupied in late 2017, during attacks claimed by a group known as Ahlu Sunnah Wa-Jama. Such attacks were also reported in March 2020, when suspected jihadists raided the town of Quissanga in the north of the country and destroyed the district police headquarters. They carried an Islamic State flag. In one video, an Islamic State representative claimed “We occupy the cities to show that the government of the day is unfair. It humiliates the poor and gives the profit to the bosses” As this report demonstrates, lack of state control, local corruption and poverty amongst the populations are clear opportunities for terrorist groups, fully integrated in their strategy. In Mozambique, where ISIS affiliates do not have the same means and opportunities for territory control, partial assaults and city occupations have been repeated. They could spread further over the next few years. Additionally, while government forces and officials evocate a transnational network and external support for terrorist groups in Mozambique, the situation there looks more like opportunistic alliances and local ambitions of territory control. Potential ground alliances and opportunities for ISIS affiliates to ally themselves with rebel groups make it easier for future territory control. In Mozambique, since 2019, affiliated Islamic State fighters have for the first time been involved in village attacks, burnt several buildings and seized livestock. Such operations are only made possible if the group meets the military requirements.

In 2014, the African terrorist group, Boko Haram, raided over 40 villages with an estimated 2,000 casualties. The group also chose to expand its strategy of territory control by becoming indispensable to local populations and spreading its influence. Boko Haram provided microloans, cash and other forms of assistance to business owners to curry favor, imposing a burden if they could not repay and forcing them to join the ranks. Multiple Nigerian reports claimed that some Nigerian government officials are paying Boko Haram not to attack their jurisdictions The Islamic State ,and to a large extent, the groups we mentioned, managed to play an important role by getting implanted on the ground. The examples we used demonstrate the new trend of terrorism financing, involving an important self-efficiency and direct implantation on the ground. Groups such as Al Shabab, Boko Haram, Al-Qaeda have all followed to various extents a strategy of territorial implantation. We will now demonstrate how a diversity of financing means exists for terrorist groups in the field of international illegal trafficking, sometimes also combined with territory control.

III) Terrorism involvement in international trafficking (drug, human, gold.)

In this chapter, we will identify the diversity of terrorism financing in the field of international trafficking and kidnapping.

1) Kidnapping and terrorism

a) Kidnapping travelers: A major source of funding

In a 2012 speech135, David S Cihen a treasury department undersecretary noted how kidnapping for ransom had become an important source of funding for terrorist groups. While in 2003, kidnappers were receiving around $200,000 for a ransom, they were in 2016 netting up to $10 million. In 2010, the average ransom payment per hostage to AQIM was $4.5 million. In 2011, that figure was $5.4 million. This business is much more profitable today for terrorists. In such a context, affiliates in Sahel and Yemen are particularly able to carry out ransom attacks. An investigation published in July 2014 by the New York Times says that $91 million has been paid in ransoms only to Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb between 2008 and 2014.

In 2014, one French family was abducted by armed men in a national park located near the Nigerian border in Cameroun. Two months later, the kidnappers released their hostages, along with 16 others in exchange for 3,16 million dollars.136 According to a confidential Nigerian report, the abductors were Boko Haram members. Despite a denial of payment by the French government, internal reports confirmed such extortion of money. A few information circulated, as states authorities appear reluctant to give the proper version of such events. In 2017, German officials budgeted money as a humanitarian aid dedicated to poor people, but the cash was dedicated to the freedom of 32 hostages taken by an African terrorist group. Ransom payments remain today an unsolved question as no government officially recognize this issue and acceptation to provide money to terrorist groups.

Since 2011 and this exponential rise of kidnappings, ransoms payments were mostly carried out by European countries. Authorities funneled the money mostly by masking it as humanitarian aid.137 In fact, the main difference between today’ terrorist kidnapping operations and in 1998, resides in the strengths and capacities of terrorist groups. By increasing their territory control and means of warfare, Al Qaeda, and other terrorist groups, have developed intensive and well-elaborated kidnapping skills. Terrorist groups are now considered hostages as much more valuable and premeditate kidnapping attacks. The evolution of terrorism financing and the ability to carry out massive kidnapping operations have rendered situations much more dangerous for international travelers. Additionally, to minimize the risks caused by their fighters, the terror affiliates have outsourced the seizing of hostages to groups working on commission. According to the NY Times, only 5% of the hostages have been executed between 2008 and 2017. Their potential income and value have now become too crucial for terrorists’ groups, particularly those focused on kidnapping as their main source of funding. A testimony from Atte and Leila Kaleva, a finish couple held for five months by AQAP in 2013 evocated the importance of hostages and their health to terrorist fighters. Mr Kelave noted his captors provided home health services the day he became ill and took charge of him. In another example reported and concerning a 63 French woman attacked by cancers, jihadists “trucked in specialist medication”.

Demonstrating the new scale of this business and the importance of kidnapping to ransom payments, terrorist groups, mainly Al Qaeda, use new technology and elaborated methods. While after 2001, terrorists were writing letters and ancestral means to spread messages regarding their new guests, they are now satellite phones owners. They directly communicate with media or hostages’ families to transfer information. The diffusion of video messages has become more frequent and easier. In Africa, Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and Al Shabab even coordinated their efforts for a common kidnapping protocol. In 2010, reports were made that Al Qaeda’s central command in Pakistan was sometimes overseeing negotiations for hostages grabbed in Africa.

Regarding AQIM, when it comes to negotiating the ransoms, only top-ranking members are involved. As mentioned by Loretta Napoleoni the concerned group members are highly skilled, handling several negotiations at the same time. One negotiator cited, Abu Alid Saravi spoke several languages and had a university degree. He was described as highly professional by the liberated hostages. This example may be correlated with highly skilled employees working directly for the Islamic State in its fuel stations and demonstrates the importance of ransom payments for terrorist groups.

Between 2013 and 2014, Boko Haram was notably behind a large scale and unprecedented kidnapping campaign. Kidnapping now has become one of the group’s main funding sources. This source of funding in Northern Nigeria was rare before Boko Haram took control of territories in the area. The presence of the group totally changed local security. On the period between February and May 2013, twenty Nigerian and seven foreigners were kidnapped in Borno. In 2014, ransoms were reportedly the group’s largest source of funding, with U.S. officials believing Boko Haram made “as much as $1 million for the release of each abducted wealthy Nigerian”.138 U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Linda Thomas-Greenfield said in an interview with Reuters, confirming this trend:

“Our suspicions are that they are surviving on very lucrative criminal activities that involve kidnappings,” ISIS, Boko Haram, AL Qaeda affiliates have all included kidnapping in their financing means. Amongst the 53 hostages known to have been taken by Qaeda’s official branches in the past five years, a third were French. Furthermore, small nations like Austria, Spain and Switzerland, account for over 20 per cent of the victims. Such negotiations follow a long period of silence dedicated to creating panic back home. Hostages are next shown on a video, begging the government for negotiations.

b) Kidnapping and human smuggling in refugee roads

In 2004, the IOM published shocking statistics for the previous decade demonstrating over one million people from West and Central Africa emigrated to Europe. Interpol estimated at this moment that those controlling the immigration racket were earning between $ 50 and 100 million in West Africa (Senegal, Ivory Coast). In 2015, in Libya only, traffickers gathered around $300 million. As an estimation, this business was considered since the beginning as much profitable than kidnapping foreigners. In Mali, for example, while important kidnapping activity was reported, the country also turned into an essential key transshipment point for trafficking human cargo. A large number of caravans of illegal migrants heading for Europe via Libya were coming from Mali.

Kidnapping is a primary concern for groups of African migrants or refugees. In a 2019 report, the Mixed Migration center, after conducting 11 Surveys, managed to assess current migrant flows in Africa and how far they turned dangerous for individuals. According to Braw Frouws, the head of the MMC, hardening borders has rendered the situation more difficult for refugees. Smugglers are increasingly turning to kidnappings as looking for alternative sources of incomes. Cases of kidnapping are mainly reported around the Horn of Africa where Eritrean, Ethiopian and Somali nationals comprise the majority of people kidnapped. Those refugees are becoming targets, notably when they reach countries such as Egypt, Kenya, Lebanon, where, unlike tourists or diplomats, they lack protection from public authorities. In these states, criminal gangs, smugglers and traffickers operate with a high level of impunity. Most of the kidnapped refugees interrogated in this report attribute this crime to smugglers. Most of them were coming from the southern part of the continent and trying to reach North Africa. As an example, the route through Egypt emerged as an alternative for Eritrean refugees. Such roads have become a new preoccupation with the presence of armed groups in recent years, according to the UN mission in Libya. Meron Estefanos139, an Eritrean Journalist, described in a report how roads have become dangerous to reach northern Africa from countries such as Eritrea.

Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb quickly modified its kidnapping business into trafficking migrants. According to the author, the lack of control proposed by government forces made it easy for a terrorist to branch off into human trafficking. AQMI made a profit of those potential the smuggling revenue while Islamic State affiliates in Africa also took part to human trafficking.

One statement from Kenyan national police illustrates this trend140. In 2017, Kenyan authorities arrested a so-called “key Islamic agent”, Alia Hussein Ali, also involved in human smuggling and terrorism financing. The found suspect was recruited in 2014 while being in Libya and started working for the Islamic State. He then moved back to Kenya and became an ISIS key agent while taking part additionally to regional human smuggling networks and financial facilitation operations in the country within one Magafe Network. Ali played an important role and facilitated the transfer of money linked to an ISIS network to Libya. The money was traversing in several countries (Somalia, Sudan, Dubai) before reaching Libya to conceal the transaction trail. ISIS members used the situation in Libya by making false claims to families in order to finance their extremist activities. In 2017, security forces assessed that claims of ransoms extorted 10 families in Kenya. According to testimonies, ISIS fighters abducted 540 people in Libyan borders between 2016 and 2018141 and according to Libyans residents interviewed by phone, ISIS fighters also taxed smugglers in exchange for a free passage. Usually, Smugglers charge each migrant between $800 and $1,000 to reach Libya, either from across the Sahara or from the Middle East. Terrorist groups have reinforced their ability to kidnap while links with smuggling networks are expected to be pursued over the next few years. The lack of information on the kidnapping and migrant smuggling (the report from this year brought a new light on the situation) can suggest as well unreported cases of migrants kidnapping involving terrorist groups. In the Middle East, it was reported the Islamic State mainly made profit of migrant smuggling, notably following the beginning, especially for families who wish to emigrate to other countries. One family reached Turkey after reportedly paying $8,000 for each individual that escaped.142 In a 2018 report143, Rear Adm Erico Crendino warned that migrant smuggling generated a potential annual revenue of up to 275 to 325 million euros. According to the report, Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, aligned with the Tuareg tribe in southwestern Libya could also potentially exploit these smuggling routes.

1) Human trafficking and terrorism

a) How Terrorist groups use modern Slavery and Sexual Violence?

According to the United Nations, human trafficking is one of the most lucrative forms of trafficking in the world, generating around $32 billion in annual revenue for the traffickers . Every year, almost 2.5 million people worldwide, mainly women and children, are recruited and exploited by traffickers. The types of trafficking include sexual exploitation, forced labor, forced begging, organ trafficking, domestic slavery, criminal acts, In the UNODC convention144, trafficking in persons is defined as “the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labor or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs;” . The United Nations Security Council resolution 2331 recognizes that human trafficking is “used as a tactic of terrorism and an instrument to increase their finances and their power through recruitment and the destruction of communities,”145. As explained in this UN resolution, Human trafficking was notable in war areas and within the territory under ISIS control.

As the series of resolutions taken since 2000 demonstrate, interest in the use of sexual violence in conflict has grown exponentially. Resolution 2106, adopted in 2013,146 reflect new concerns. Women are now more and more abducted by armed groups for sexual purposes. In its report S/2015/203147, the United Nations outlined how terrorist and extremist groups were using sexual violence, logging instances of rape, sexual slavery as a tactic to attract foreign fighters. Instances of sexual markets were found in Iraq and Syria148 while cases of human trafficking have been reported in Libya . In December 2016, the secretary-general of the UN issued a letter to the president of the security council, arguing that targeting of women and boys over the last few years became systematic and “integrally linked with the strategy of violent extremist groups”.149 The United Nations received reports of women and girls being trafficked by Al-Shabab from the coastal regions of Kenya to Somalia, where they were forced into sexual slavery, after having been deceived by false promises of work abroad. Some authors argued that terrorists are using rape as a way of self-reinforcement. As we demonstrate, human trafficking is regularly used as a potential source of financing. On 14th April 2014, Boko Haram abducted 276 school girls from Chilbok in Nigeria. More than 200 of the kidnapped girls and women were sold into marriage and sexual slavery for 12 dollars each150. Younger girls are often married to fighters as a source of motivation while older women are forced to work as cooks and cleaners. Amongst the women rescued, many were pregnant, a sign of massive sexual violence. Human trafficking is also integrated in terrorism financing, based on the same strategies used by human smugglers.

The most striking case of human trafficking reported amongst terrorist groups concerns the “Genocide of Yazidis”151. This genocide, probably the worst of the 21st century is described by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights as:

ISIS has sought to erase the Yazidis through killings; sexual slavery, enslavement, torture and inhuman and degrading treatment and forcible transfer causing serious bodily and mental harm; the infliction of conditions of life that bring about a slow death; the imposition of measures to prevent Yazidi children from being born, including forced conversion of adults, the separation of Yazidi men and women, and mental trauma; and the transfer of Yazidi children from their own families and placing them with ISIS fighters, thereby cutting them off from beliefs and practices of their own religious community”, According152 to testimonies, young Yezidis women were the most affected, being handed over from one fighter to another. In October 2014, ISIS’ English language publication “Dabiq” was stating that ISIS fighters captured women and girls and could keep them as “spoils of wars”. Articles within the magazine were giving justifications of such activity, arguing that Yazidis were Pagans, deserving to be sexual slaves. Action undertook by ISIS fighters were motivated by a long-term purpose. Yezidis men were killed while women were considered as “mushrikin “by ISIS theory, meaning they were not deserving any grant of liberty. Enslaving the women of the “Kuffar” (non believers) was not considered as an act of war. This propaganda demonstrates how ISIS has used religion to justify and even render necessary all kind of sexual slavery.153 The NY Times reported example of ISIS fighters that raped teenagers, explaining to them that rapes were not a sin as Quran encouraged and condoned rapping Kuffar “disbelievers”. Raping them would make ISIS fighters drawing closer to god”, according to regular arguments made by ISIS commanders.

In its global report,154 the OHCR describes how captured Yezidis women were directly sold into a slave Market located at the farm in Raqqah city. 200 Girls had to stand on a raised area. The youngest were between 7 and 9 years old. They were asked sometimes to open their mouths so that men could examine their teeth. The amounts paid were ranging between USD $200 and $1500, depending on various factors (age, beauty, number of children). Interrogated victims’ states “Once ISIS sells a Yazidi woman and girl, the purchasing fighter receives complete rights of ownership and can resell, gift, or will his “slave” as he wishes.” 155

To demonstrate how slaves can be used as an exchange by terrorists, we took as an example the receipt of the sale of a Yazidi woman from one jihadist to another, in the presence of two witnesses, for the sum of $1500 . Its written noted “In my presence 156 as the Katib bil-'Adl was the brother Abu Man'am and with him the brother Abu al-Zubayr. The two agreed in front of me to sell the right-hand possession Najma Sa'id, so the brother Abu Man'am sold his possession to the brother Abu al-Zubayr for a sum of $1500 [?] only. And the sum was received in its entirety. And thus, the possession was transferred from the brother Abu Man'am to the brother Abu al-Zubayr.”

Facing investigations, ISIS fighters recognized how Yezidis women were integrated157 to their monthly pay. Girls would be under the control of the designed fighter, who then could have the opportunity to sold them. Thus, it was circulating within ISIS posts a “second hand” market, implicating Yezidis women.

In 2015, a girl named Jinanqui, found herself in a room with dozens other women and heard a conversation between two 'buyers':'

She has big tits, that one. But I  want a Yazidi with blue eyes and a pale complexion. These are the best, it seems. I am ready to pay the price” (Oberlé, 2015). The reason Saudis are entitled to the 'right' to more than 3 slaves, “is to encourage business (...) it is a good deal: the home of the finances of the Islamic state increases its revenues to support the mujahedeen, and our foreign brothers find their  fulfilment 158 This conversation summarizes the two primary purposes of the sexual trafficking: On one side, increasing financial reserves of the organization and on the other raising motivation of fighters and making the organization “attractive” for foreigners.

Reports have also been done about an “external trafficking” made by ISIS fighters; The trafficking of women and children takes place via the application WhatsApp, added with photographs, in a virtual slave market with a money transfer to an office of intermediaries located in Gaziantep (Turkey). Yazidi negotiators can thus “rebuy” their community members for a price ranging between 1$5,000 to 20,000 US$. Europol further recognizes the potential of terrorists using migrant smuggling routes in Europe for their own benefit, and their human trafficking.159

Generally, information concerning ransom payments to ISIS fighters regarding Yezidis is particularly hard to find with a lack of testimonies, officials not confirming some facts. Smuggling networks between ISIS fighters and Yezidis families are controversial, given how it potentially contributed to ISIS finances between 2014 and 2018. One testimony by a negotiator named Khaleed confessed that he received direct calls from ISIS fighters, demanding that Yezidi families pay a ransom for their relatives, threatening to sell them to other parts. Other examples reported by smugglers confirmed the theory that smugglers pay ISIS directly. The asked price by ISIS fighters was climbing above 15,000 $ per head. For example, Abu Majed, a Yezidi man, paid $18,000 to an Arab middle man who promised to buy his daughter to ISIS160.

In 2014, the Kurdish Regional Government set up its “Office of Kidnapped Affairs161, in charge of directly organizing the liberation of Yezidis girls and women captured as slaves. Between August 2014 and August 2016, 2,426 Yazidi hostages have been liberated, including 1,204 children and 895 women. According to local testimonies, more than 1,000 of them had been rescued directly by the office Ransom payments. Generally; a go between is required to reach out ISIS fighters. But smugglers also used their role to negotiate purchase of slaves while hiding their real identity. Using former ISIS fighters and local persons was dedicated to such activity by fighters. Enslavers in Mosul were most of the time unaware that the new buyer was a smuggler. One husband posted on Facebook that he wanted to sell her for £20,000, so her family paid a smuggler to facilitate the transaction for ransoms162 Officially, the KRG paid around 1,5 million to intermediaries in 2014 to free 234 Yazidis captives. While KRG never officially confirmed the money directly benefited ISIS members, it never denied such information. On some occasions, ransoms were directly paid (without giving details of facilitators) while money was also given to intermediary’s charge to carry out freedom operations. Estimations of kidnapping revenues by the Islamic State between 2014 and 2016 vary between 40 and 100 million dollars (20-40 in 2017). At the end, reports considered that revenue from the hostages, ransoms and modern slavery could increase further due to the organization’ reduced territory. France 24163 recently brought to light how ISIS members would buy slaves for $1,000 and then sell them for $3,000 to make a profit. In a telegram channel, ISIS members were uploading pictures of slaves making up for bidding. The simple fact that ISIS fighters were asking for ransoms payments illustrates how important and lucrative, the activity of ransoms became for the group and was included in its slave market.

b) Organ trafficking

According to Mohammad Alakim164 165, former Iraqi ambassador to the UN, dozens of bodies were found with surgical inclusions and missing body parts in mass graves near Mosul. The former diplomat also noted doctors refusing to take part in organs extracting were executed and constated bodies with “missing parts”.

This testimony revealed the existence of a potential “organ trafficking”, involving the Islamic State between 2014 and 2018. It could have allowed the organization to sell human hearts, livers and kidneys on the lucrative international black market.

The potential existence of such ISIS involvement is enhanced by regular testimonies of health workers saying there have been more than 18,000 organ trafficking cases in the northern part of Syrian in recent years. In 2015, a series of documents166 found by US troops during an assault in the city concluded that ISIS authorities had authorized “harvesting of human organs”. The document was saying, according to Reuters:

The apostate’s life and organs don’t have to be respected and may be taken with impunity,” 167

According to the US translation of the document, this fatwa was issued to enable organ trafficking and regularize it. Mohamed Al Alhakim indicated this document had to be examined by the UN security council as a further evidence of human trafficking being used by the Islamic State.

In 2014168, one Syrian doctor, Siruwan al Mosuli reported physicians were being hired to perform organ removal on captives. Organs were then transferred to local or foreign buyers (mainly in Turkey or Saudi Arabia)”.

According to the OHCHR, ISIS mainly sold bodies and organs of injured people they arrested. Testimonies and information captured by US forces indicated ISIS even had a specialized force dealing with organs trafficking. The Islamic State had even potentially established contacts with international hospitals To give an estimation of potential gains, the price range of organs can be estimated as followed: liver $98,000 - $130,000; kidney $62,000 lung $150,000 - $170,000; cornea $30,000; heart $130,000 - $160,000. According to the report from AL Monitor, it contributed to around $2 million to the group.

On a large extent, human and organ trafficking can not be considered as a significant source of funding for the Islamic State but the involvement of some demonstrated once again the disparity of financial means and potential activity from terrorist groups. Kidnapping and human trafficking are still parts of international groups strategy and composed of two sides. Firstly, the case of terrorist groups using Kidnappings with the only motivation of getting back a ransom. This mainly involves citizens from rich countries or politicians. Terrorist groups must be sure most of the time, a ransom will be paid for the kidnapped hostages. In Mauritania and Mali, the increasing number of tourists being kidnapped brought tourism to an end. In the second case, terrorist groups, mainly ISIS and Boko Haram are using civilians, mainly women as slave or “sexual slave, most of the time to attract foreign and local fighters. Such trafficking mainly involved poor and local people, for example, the Yazidi communities for whom ransom payments was difficult to obtain. Regarding ISIS, human trafficking also intertwined with some cases of organ trafficking.

2) Smuggling and Trafficking (Drug, gold, cigarettes.)

According to Interpol, 28% of the income of the largest armed groups in 2016 derived from production, trafficking and taxation of drugs. Officially recognized terrorist groups are also concerned, and the illicit drug trade is considered as a business, valued between $426 billion and $652 billion. Its reach is global, its distribution is growing, and its leadership is criminal.

a) Terrorism and drug trafficking

In early 2000 the Sahel countries offered an ideal breeding ground for criminal jihadism. In Sahel, trade-in Arts, cigarettes and drugs grew during the 1990s. The drugs trade accelerated dramatically in northern Mali and the region around from the early 2000s. Mali is notably playing a key role in cocaine trafficking across the Sahara. West African geographical location makes it an ideal transit zone for exploitation by a terrorist organization and drug cartels. Since 2015, drug cartels from South America have multiplied their drug transfers directly through Africa. They notably relocated a share of their wholesale distribution from Europe to West Africa. Analysts say Guinea Bissau became the gold coast in drug trafficking and considered as a transshipment point. According to Daniel Ruiz, UN representative in the country, its ports have massive empty warehouses where the drug can be stored. When cartel landed in Guinea Bissau and other parts of Africa, they also discovered unexpected avenues to smuggle large quantities of cocaine, proving to be efficient and successful, which limited control.

West Africa is now used as an essential transit point useful to resale drugs and considered as a massive storage area. Criminal enterprises are now evolving into new hybrid organizations and over the last few years, developed direct ties with terrorists. Both groups have a common interest in exploiting the same state weaknesses. In a 2011 statement169, then UN secretary-general Ban-Ki-Moon, stated:

“The assessment mission I dispatched in December 2011 to look at the effects of the Libya crisis on the Sahel found that terrorist groups, such as Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, have begun to form alliances with drug traffickers, and other criminal syndicates.”170

Lauretta Napoleoni171, an Italian journalist and expert on terrorist finance argued that, AQIM for example, smuggles narcotics, providing a vital Sahel way station between suppliers in Latin America and European markets While it remains hard to find information on potential links between African terrorist groups such as AQIM to the transatlantic drug trade, there has been considerable evidence on fees imposed to drug trafficking by terrorist groups In the book Merchants of Men Loretta Napoleoni172 mentions testimonies of Mauritanian smuggler captured in Algeria proving the existence of such fees. According to them, whenever AQIM was in control of territories in northern Mali, significant taxes were imposed on the convoys of Hashish. The drugs were transported along with ancient caravans of the Sahara guarded by Tuaregs along purpose-built tracks across the desert. Al Qaeda was directly providing security for the drug traders, receiving millions of dollars in “taxes”. The growing drug trade in the region and potential uncertainty of kidnapping with limited displacements makes it a more consistent source of income for terrorist groups in 2020.

In December 2009, the DEA’s Ghanaian counterparts arrested three members of AQIM based upon a US warrant stemming from a narco-terrorism indictment in the Southern District of New York. The charges, in this case, marked the first time that associates of Al Qaeda had been charged with narco-terrorism offences. In his June 29th 2011interview with RFI, UNODC West Africa Representative Schmidt also noted that terrorist elements in the Sahel-Sahara charged a “service fee” to allow illicit trafficking of drugs, cigarettes, arms, medicines, and people . Nonetheless it was not ready at that point to say that terrorist groups were directly cooperating with narco-traffickers.

Terrorist groups are often using old trafficking networks. Mokhtar Belmokhtar, former leader of AQMI and now leading the group Al Mourabitoun173 (officially affiliated to AQMI) is known for being an essential international smuggler. Since 1990, he developed a network involving cigarettes. He notably developed a network of influence earning him associates among Mali’s Tilemsi Arab smugglers. While he said in an interview on 2012 drug trafficking was “outlawed”, significant suspicions of its involvement in a drug trade remain. On a large basis, AQMI presents relevant links with drug trafficking. In 2010, according to UK authorities, some members visited Guinea Bissau to arrange deals with Latin American networks. A French expert has found that in the late 2000s, AQIM provided protection to cocaine convoys and charged transit fees (10% of the convoy value) for areas under its control. In 2011, another case in Mauritania revealed that $50,000 was the price to guarantee a pass to Drugs imposed by MUJWA174, another jihadist group affiliated to Al Qaeda.

Into Northern Mali, an essential flux of drugs is also noted. Initially monopolized by Arab tribes, it now involves other groups. Important to remind that since the mid-2000s new actors have been involved in drug trafficking, notably from northern Mali alongside traditional Arab tribes (Lahmar of Tilemsi and Berabiche notably). The inability of Malian security forces and absence of state control has fostered a new drug market and trades quickly. Such drug activity is prevalent in areas where terrorist groups presence ramped up over the last few years. What is interesting in this new form of trafficking is the providence of security services directly to traffickers by military groups or terrorist fighters. In Northern Mali, traffickers rely on private security firms using pickups trucks.

Drug trafficking and the links to jihadists terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda and Boko haram are complex and undefined. Various information and report are often controversial. According to a report from Crisis Group175 links between jihadists groups and drug trafficking remain overstated but still existing and have to be mentioned. In some states such as Lahmar, drug operators pursued cooperation with jihadists when they took over territories by supporting the movement (donations of vehicles and fuels.). Traffickers may have favored cooperation with terrorist after Operation Serval was launched in 2013, notably when traffickers gave jihadists opportunities to escape French strikes. In Kidal, Crisis Group noted how Ansar al Dine increased its cooperation with jihadists.176 Added with their financial contributions, traffickers provide material support to the military operations, ammunition, supplying or lending fuel and give vehicles The main reason considered as an obstacle for terrorist groups to get involved in drug trafficking might be the perception of drug and cigarettes in Islam. Recently, some jihadist groups (AQIM, Ansar Dine and the MUJWA) reportedly burned cargoes of cigarettes and hashish in Gao and In Khalil.

Drug trafficking appears for terrorist groups among a wide range of economic opportunities. In Africa, focus on drug trafficking in terrorist groups must not overshadow the fact terrorist groups relied more on practices such as kidnapping than drug trafficking.

The term of narco-terrorism can be misleading and suggests that it would be more accurate to consider narco groups as ‘‘criminal entrepreneurs’ who might one day claim to be acting on behalf of a terrorist. For terrorist groups, direct involvement in the drug trade has rarely been observed. The reported cases are more related to the links with smugglers and territorial opportunities. As an example, experts rarely established direct links between the Islamic State and drug traffickers. According to many observers, this absence of links can be explained by the reluctance of ISIS leaders to conflict with Islamic Law on drugs. Regarding drug trafficking, information reported in this work are only based on individuals’ testimonies and arrests, with for example the absence of any official documents mentioning drug trafficking. No documents found in Abbottabad could directly bind Al Qaeda to drug cases while, according to Malian officials, Mokhtar Belmokhtar was expelled from AQIM for his participation in the drug trade, which is condemned by the jihadist creed.

Links between drug trafficking and terrorism have often been opaque with different viewpoints amongst the groups. Islamic theology forbids the consumption of drugs. As mentioned in the Qur’an (Surah 5 Verse 90) “O you who believe! Intoxicants (all kinds of alcoholic drinks), gambling, Al-Ansab, and Al-Azlam (arrows for seeking luck or decision) are an abomination of Shaitan's (Satan) handiwork. So, avoid (strictly all) that (abomination) in order that you may be successful.”

This verse does not explicitly warn against handling or selling intoxicants to support Islam. Nonetheless, it explains why drug trafficking, and cigarette smuggling have been limited within some terrorist organizations. For example, from consuming alcohol to cursing, vices of all types were frowned upon by the Islamic State. Despite claims of potential cooperation in drug trafficking, Usama Bin Laden never clearly backed such practice and the 9/11 commission report do not directly confirm such inductions. Terrorist involvement in drug trafficking nonetheless spread over recent years, concerning mainly groups in West Africa.

b) Case study: The implication of Taliban in drug trafficking

In recent history, the Taliban is the one internationally recognized terrorist group having fully integrated drug trafficking in its financing strategy. Alongside an elaborated taxation and territory control, the group took an active part in opium trafficking. This strategy notably accelerated after US attacks ousted the group from power in 2001.

In Afghanistan, drug production mostly originates from areas still under Taliban control (southern provinces). According to US authorities, Taliban earnings through narcotics could raise between 200 and 400 m dollars over the last 10 years. The primary source of money is coming from tax on production and authorization of cultivation granted to local producers. Revenue extorted to local producers directly goes to the Taliban financial commission. In 2012, UN AL Qaeda § Taliban sanctioned monitoring estimated poppy trade to represent one third of the Taliban budget ($130 million)

On a broad basis177, Taliban are using a 10% tax called ushr to the farmers on areas under their control. Taxes on poppy (used for opium and heroin) production can be higher. Additionally, small traders are paying Taliban’s another tax while truckers are paying a transit tariff for each kilo of opium transported in the country. Taliban are also paid for protecting labs where the production is transformed into heroin. Large drug organizations are also directly paying the Qetta Shura, a governing body of Taliban living in the province of Qetta.

Taliban have direct and durable links with drug traffickers. As an example,178 Haji Kotwal Noorzai , an Afghan national, heralding a national drug network was recently noted in close collaboration with Taliban fighters. He was purchasing weapons and transported them directly to local soldiers. This cooperation resorted on two conditions imposed by Taliban: First, Taliban would authorize poppy cultivation in the areas under their control while enabling transport of narcotics to the Pakistani border. After a few years of cooperation, Kotwal was appointed to collect Zakat for the Taliban from other narcotics traffickers. Just like mentioned examples in Africa, Afghan dealers are providing Taliban with weapon, vehicles, motorcycles. Recently, they even set up hospitals in Baluchistan where wounded Taliban fighters were treated. Importance of drug trafficking for the group finance is regularly mentioned and confirmed by the US forces. In 2012, US intelligence intercepted a decree from Mullah Nahim Barrich179, a Taliban chief indicating:

The poppy funds will permit the Taliban to survive; therefore, it must be protected at all costs.”

Drug production in Afghanistan was considered as an important source of funding even before the Taliban reached power in 2001180. But the presence of the Taliban played a role in accelerating this production According to the UNODC, 1015 square miles of net poppy cultivation was reported in the country in 2018, the double of the figures reported in 2001. In 2016, reports indicated the Taliban were even fencing off certain cultivation areas with IEDs and provided local producers with permanent security against government forces. In 2018, in the Eastern region, more than half of the villages took part in opium poppy cultivation. In the Southern region, it was almost 93 per cent of them.181 In those areas, mainly under Taliban control, cultivating opium poppy is considered in 2020 as the main revenue provider of those households. Some Taliban leaders even played an essential role in opium production. Mullah Akthar Mansour, Taliban former leader, was responsible for the drug market of Gerdi Ganjal, located in the province of Baluchistan, according to Hashim Wahdatyar182, former Program Officer for the UNODC Taliban’s example illustrates how drug trafficking can be potentially a valuable source of money for terrorist groups. Nonetheless, to provide relative efficiency, it requires a strategic territory control on important opium production sites and local distribution chain, which seems lacking in most worldwide areas currently under terrorism control. Apart from the Taliban, no other terrorist groups have exerted such durable, important control on drug production. Unlike other previous cases of narco-terrorism, Taliban maintains a durable control on drug production and direct links with drug producers. According to the FATF183, the Taliban maintain opium warehouses across the southern part of the country where commanders are deposing and withdrawing important quantities of drug.

This type of opium trafficking is profiting to other terrorist groups. According to the Turkish trafficking and Organized police, the PKK184, considered as a terrorist group by the US and the EU, is involved in aa direct heroin trafficking from the Turkey-Iran border linked with Europe. In 2014, the FATF185 mentioned how drug trafficking routes starting from Afghanistan were linked with areas in southern Turkey where the PKK had intensified its presence. The Kurdish group was potentially collecting taxes per kilogram of heroin trafficked to Turkey from Iranian and Iraqi borders. This potential amount of fund could have reached $200 million per year. FATF mentions a potential more direct involvement, citing a 2007 case where 4 tons of heroin were directly seized to PKK’ militants. In total, between 1984 and 2012, 370 investigations carried out by Turkish security agencies revealed potential links between PKK and drug’s security agencies, with around 1214 individuals arrested, 4253 kg of heroin seized, 710 kg of cocaine, 972 747 cannabis plan and 2 heroin labs discovered.186

Despite those cases, the involvement of terrorist groups in drug trafficking remains limited and is not expected from groups affiliated with the Islamic State. In 2015, the Wilayat Khorasan, despite a field presence in Afghanistan, burned down poppy fields, banned cigarettes, and distributed pamphlets condemning other crimes against Islam. Links between terrorist groups and drug trafficking appear inconsistent and are unlikely to become a common practice within jihadists structured organizations. It is important to note that, although the Taliban used drug production and trafficking to fund its own activities, poppy cultivation by Afghans was banned by Mullah Omar187 during Taliban establishment to power (between 1996 and 2001). In 2001, Mullah Omar announced the ban of opium cultivation and it dramatically decreased to 7,600 hectares from 82,000 in 2000188.

But Taliban example illustrates how things can evolve. After being defeated in 2001, the Taliban’s relaxed their prescriptions for society and increased their reliance on drug trafficking as a potential money provider. In 2005, the Afghan government started a poppy eradication. At the same time, the Taliban regrouped themselves and encouraged opium production as a way to finance their insurgency. This new strategy directly garnered them political support from drug dealers, workers in poppy fields, local drug lords. Today, poppy cultivation and drug trafficking are entirely part of Taliban leader’s strategy. Taliban groups have even, on the pattern of drug cartels, fought between each other for the control of drug roads. For example, Mullah Mohammad Rasool fought with Mansour for a cartel and opposed the selection of Mansour ad the leader of Taliban for this reason.

In 2011, Graem Smith189 quoted one Taliban fighter expressing itself about poppy production and justifying this practice:

We grow it because it damages non-Muslims. And that is why we’re growing it. And we should do whatever damages non-Muslims…. Islam says that it is not permitted. But we do not care if it is permitted or forbidden. But we are only saying that we will grow poppies against non-Muslims. Drug trafficking and Islam tough practices may be distant and separated at first view. Nonetheless the cartelization of even hard believer’s terrorist groups has created unavoidable ties with drug cartels and the existence of a “narco-terrorism”, appearing at different scale depending on actors and territories.”

In Mocimbo da Praia, a city located in northern Mozambique, an important heroin trade developed over the last years, with important unity shipping onwards to markets in Europe. Mocimbo is also a key place for traffickers with corrupted local authorities. Heroin shipments are consolidated and containerized at the deep-water port of Nacala. Aside from any sociological and ideological factors driving the group, Al Sunna, recently ISIS-affiliated group capitalized on illegal activities such as heroin trafficking, ivory and diverse smugglings for its financing. According to intelligence members,190, it also controls the main smuggling roads around the city. The containers of heroin come from Afghanistan (so potentially from Taliban controlled production areas), are transported to Pakistan and shipped to Kenya. From there they are transported to Port Nacala and finally to Durban in South Africa. ISIS-affiliated fighters managed to improve their presence in this area and could potentially get involved more broadly on drug trafficking.


On a broader basis, we can conclude that terrorists are mainly using smuggling as opportunities, depending on their degree of territory control. One relevant case demonstrating the opportunities of terrorist groups is gold. In Africa, States are struggling to control efficiently gold mines. Terrorist groups are often present in areas where state authorities are contested. Difficulties remain to secure gold mines and ensuring regular presence. In such a context, states are using local armed groups to whom they delegate security control of gold mines191, causing ramping instability while not reducing the presence of terrorists. In Burkina Faso for example, the Ansarul terrorist group is applying constant pressure on local gold mines areas and stay very active in the areas. On 24th September 2018 three employees in the Inata gold mine, near the Malian frontier were abducted by men suspected to be linked to a terrorist organization. Islamic State in the Greater Sahara also claimed attacks in the Tera Tillaberi region where the Samira industrial mine and ASM sites are located. In total, artisanal production in the area represents between $1,0 and $4,5 billion per year192. In Soum province, Ansarul Islam is suspected of being behind several attacks in 2017 using IEDs against convoys serving the Inata mine. In February 2017, Tiemoko Sangaré, Mali’s mines minister, shared his concerns about the risks of terrorist groups penetrating and infiltrating gold mining areas in the south of the country.

One risk considered by OECD reports is that jihadists presence nearby gold sites serves as a local opportunity for terrorists. In Burkina Faso’ Soum province, gold miners are directly paying some jihadists groups to secure sites. In Kidal, the jihadist group Ansar Dine193 levies Zakat on gold miners and an important part of the population. The degree of cooperation and imposition is particularly important in areas where jihadists with territory control and the absence of local authorities’ power. In Burkina Faso, some miners are directly cooperating with local jihadists for reasons of “pragmatism rather than conviction” according to Crisis Group194. They side with those who hold power or can ally themselves with jihadist to regain control of disputed mining sites in exchange of money. For example, in the province of Soum (Burkina Faso), gold miners supported jihadists attacks against the Koglweogo tribe who took control of the Kereboulé site in 2016.

According to Crisis Group interviews in 2018 and 2019195 Jihadists also get significant support from the local population due to government measures. In 2018, authorities in Burkina Faso ordered the closure of artisanal mining sites officially as a way to cut off potential funding for terrorist groups. Consequently, some local miners turned to jihadists, who reopened the access to certain mines (Kabonga). In Central Africa, the potential funding of jihadist through gold could increase over the next few years as more and more golden sites are now under the control of terrorist groups.

In the precedent chapter, we mentioned how far terrorist groups could get involved in a diverse source of financing provided that their influence and presence on the ground is sufficient. The most striking example is Al Shabab, involved in all the type of smuggling available around the territories under its control. According to a report from October 2016196, Al Shabab took part to a local ivory trafficking in recent years. Al Shabab’ members were not directly involved in the trafficking but bought ivory and were in charge of reselling it to foreign traders. The monthly revenue for Al Shabab trade from ivory was estimated at $ 200,000 in 2012. By looking at the recent examples such as heroin trafficking in Mozambique, we can also consider terrorist groups are basing their strategy and targets on the possibilities of financing, smuggling they offer.

We can also conclude that terrorist implantation in some areas can be directly motivated by the existence of local corruption, entirely integrated in the group’s strategy. In Mozambique, recent implantation of the terrorist group Ansar al Sunna, is directly linked with the traffic opportunities provided by the city and its surroundings. According to Simone Haysom, a senior analyst197:

Al-Sunna has capitalized on the ease with which illegal activities can be conducted on this stretch of the East African coast.”

Absence of state control and corrupted areas offer unlimited opportunities to terrorist groups, as the next chapter will demonstrate.

IV) State support to terrorism and internal hurdles: Major sources of financing for terrorist groups.

We considered in this report how today’s terrorist groups are using international connections and diverse source providers to finance their activities. Since the resolution 1373 was adopted in 2001, international cooperation strengthened and proved indispensable. But by taking advantage of potential weak and failed states, terrorist increased their activity. In the second part, we demonstrated how substantial territorial control was within reach of terrorist groups in some areas. This chapter will focus on the potential intertwinement between states and terrorists. Increased cooperation from states such as Iran, Pakistan, Syria with terrorist groups is still existing and mentioned despite a lack of clarity on the subject. The second part will get focused on failed states plagued by corruption, like Mozambique, Afghanistan, Iraq, whereas we demonstrated how the absence of public policy can ease terrorist activity. Lack of governance in some states allow terrorists to scant gaps in the anti-terrorist financial system. In this chapter, we also demonstrate that principal factors of terrorism development worldwide are not the limited means imposed by the international community but the absence of state control in some areas and, sometimes direct cooperation of state actors with terrorist groups.

1) States sponsoring terrorism

a) Pakistan controversial support since 1980

In his book “Deadly connections”, the American author Davide Byman198 noted how far states could be potential supporters of terrorism. Byman argues that states back terrorist groups primarily for strategic reasons: to influence neighbors, topple regimes, counter U.S. hegemony, or advance ideological objectives. Byman finds variation in the types of support that states provide, ranging from the active efforts of Iran to the passive neglect of Saudi Arabia. According to him, states sponsors are more interested in backing “insurgents” looking for territory control. Byman notably mentions Pakistan support of terrorism, which extended since 1980. According to him, Pakistan supported terrorism activity mainly to increase its influence over Kashmir. By 2001, Pakistan had over 90 training camps in Pakistan occupied Kashmir with ISI (Pakistan intelligence service) helping militants to cross the fortified and patrolled line of control from base camps in Pakistan.

According to Indian authorities,199 tens of thousands of Kashmiris have received arms training at the beginning of 2000 from Pakistan, while estimations of funding range between $50 and $250 million. In the 1980s, a campaign of Islamization was organized by General Zia ul Haq, former Pakistani leader, in order to train Kashmiris, using Islam to motivate them. From 1977 until 1998, Zia government tried to “co-opt the Islamists through concessions”. Increasing popularity for the Kashmiri cause also motivated the government to pursue such support to terrorist groups. Pakistan-backed groups engaged in kidnapping, attacks on politicians of almost all persuasions, and other measures against civilians. Human Rights Watch reported that Pakistani backed militants murdered hundreds of Muslims and Hindus because they supported the government or otherwise opposed the militant groups. After 9/11, despite international pressure, Pakistan did not lift its funding to unchecked international groups. In February 2000, Islamist radicals backed by Pakistan killed 34 civilians. Militants have also used violence to drive Hindus out of Kashmir. This form of terrorism also spilled outside Kashmir. For example, in 1999, Harkat ul Mujahedin, a Pakistani backed terrorist hijacked an Indian Plane200.

The main controversial point in Pakistani support to terrorism has to do with Lashkar-eTaiba201. The terrorist group was notably responsible for 2008 Mumbai attacks carried out by ten gunmen against railway stations, café and luxury hostels of the city and putting Lashkar-e-Taiba on the global map. During the “26/11 attacks”, 166 people were killed.

The author of the book “Storming the World Stage: The Story of Lashkar-e-Taiba”, Stephen Tankel202 pointed out Lashkar al Taiba never carried out any terrorist attack “without the sanction of its leaders”, mentioning the large degree of support from the Pakistani government during the attacks. This statement would notably imply revelations of David Coleman Headley, a confesses Pakistani-American terrorist who took part in Mumbai attacks. Headley notably revealed to Indian authorities how ISI members made vital decisions and became masterminds of the terrorist plots along with Lashkar chiefs. Coleman was reportedly deployed by the unknown ISI handler, called Major Global by investigators, on reconnaissance missions in India. Those missions orchestrated by the ISI were designed to scout targets and notably identified Mumbai Jewish community center where gunmen killed three American rabbis during the attacks203. Many Indian officials and Americans once interviewed by Stephen Tankel believe a plot of this nature could have never been handled without approvals of the highest levels of the ISI.

Following 26/11 attacks, Lashkar e Taiba was not really impacted in Pakistan despite official claims. To evade sanctions, it changed its name into Jamaat U Dawa, which the government of Pakistan officially differentiate from Lashkar e Taiba. Official crackdowns on group members were qualified as a “joke”, locking terrorists only to release them later. Some Pakistani government members noted the authorities briefed senior Lashkar e Taiba leaders in advance of punitive actions. According to Tankel, after 2015, the organization continues to train, recruit, fundraise and operate with the blessing of ISI and all previous sanctions have been lifted. The Pakistani authorities charged seven of the group’s members, including the group’s second-in-command, in connection with the attacks. Not surprisingly, none were convicted in Pakistani courts, or extradited to India. After 2008, the ISI provided its leaders with resources to “keep current members in line”. For example, Said Mir, a Lashkar chief was not pursued by Pakistani authorities. Some investigators even believe he was an ISI officer at the time of the attack. Despite proof of its major involvement in 2008 attacks, he was not purchased.204. In 2009, one year after the attacks, Said Miir remained free of action in Pakistan and was even active in plotting terrorist attacks on a Danish newspaper. In April 2020, Pakistan authorities released around 1,800 terrorists from a watch list, including Zaki-ur-Rehmann Lakhvi, one Mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai attack.

Lashkar-eTaiba activity helps to understand and explain state support to terrorist groups. In the case of this group, its activity helped to duplicate the role of Pakistan intelligence forces in preventing terror attacks and delegating its military activity to an officially unrecognized terrorist group. Lashkar-e Taiba also helped to gather information about anti-state militants (separatists in Balochistan) and prevented potential attacks against state society in Pakistan.

b) Iran support to terrorism

Since the earliest days of the Islamic revolution in 1979 until today, significant charges of sponsoring terrorism have surrounded Iran. The United States repeatedly stated that Iran is the principal state sponsor of terrorism, providing an array of funds, safe harbors and logistical support to groups such as Hezbollah, Hamas and more occasionally, Al Qaeda. The US Country reports on terrorism dating back from 2016205 evocates Iran backing of anti-Israel groups as well as proxies in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen. Iran’s relationship with terrorist groups is notably identified as an essential component of its foreign policy.

Iran’s main motivation for terrorism206 support since 1979 mainly ideological used as a way to export its revolution to the world. Using terrorist without resorting to direct war was a method notably used by Iran in the 80s. Its main historical targets have notably been Western forces after 1980. In 1992, a suicide bomber from an Iran-Backed terrorist group blew up the Israeli Embassy in Argentina, killing 29 civilians.

This strategy potentially leading to direct financing of terrorist groups was initiated after the Islamic revolution of 1979, under the auspices of Ayatollah Khomeini with the creation of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. In charge of protecting the country's Islamic republic, political system, the IRGC was established in the aftermath of the Iranian revolution by Ayatollah Khomeini. It functions both as Iran’s primary internal and external force and is operating separately from the Iranian military. Its main purpose is to expand Iranian ideology, potentially resorting to terrorism. Although the IRCG receives funds from the Iranian government (6,5 billion), a substantial amount of money is derived from hidden businesses or charity conglomerates called Bonyads.

Bonyad, which means “foundation”, is a tax-exempt charitable trust, highly influential in the Iranian economy. For example, Bonyad-eMostazafen va Janbazan (Foundation for the Oppressed and Disabled) is the second-largest company in Iran after the National Oil company. Other bonyad such as the “Shrine of Imam Reza” is one of the largest landowners in the country. Those foundations are important Hezbollah funders, conducting even trips into Lebanon to assist the organization on its projects. Bonyads notably accumulated wealth from religious donations and investments in property and commerce.

Terrorist funding is also directly coming from Ali Khamenei’s personal wealth, according to Hezbollah’s representative in Iran. Making a profit of its control over large companies, Khamenei is providing funds to Hezbollah even despite economic downturns.

Hezbollah, considered as a terrorist group by the US and the European Union (only its military branch) is the main group directly benefiting of financial support from IRCG. Actually, Hezbollah was directly created by Iran’ forces in 1982 which provided since important financial support to the organization. In 2016, during a speech broadcast following US sanctions on the group, Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah stated:207

We are open about the fact that Hezbollah’s budget, its income, its expenses, everything it eats and drinks, its weapons and rockets, come from the Islamic Republic of Iran“

It was the first time one Hezbollah official confirmed the existence of full monetary support and cooperation with the Iranian government. According to specialists like Majid Rafizadeh208, such statement also proved any lifting of recently reimposed Iranian sanctions would be directly beneficial to Hezbollah. After the agreement with Iran was implemented in 2015, the potential Hezbollah financial gains were put forward by anti-JCPOA and then used as a motivation by Trump administration to reinstate sanctions. Impact of US sanctions on banks conducting financial transactions is also limited considering the developed methods of the group. As Nasrallah noted in 2016, Hezbollah does not transfer its money throughout Lebanese banks, using different kinds of means. Before 2010, money transfers from Iran to Lebanon were sent in suitcases. The money often flows through Iran and is smuggled in through Syria. Iran is also a large weapon provider to Hezbollah. Naim Qassem, second in command of the group, stated in 2014 that the group receives all its missiles from Iran, including new high-tech missiles. After the destruction of an IRGC weapons factory in Lebanon in 2012, Iran initiated the construction of “underground factories “in Lebanon, as a way to produce drones and precision-guided missiles. Iran also transfers weapons and equipment to Hezbollah through direct airlines such as Iran Air, Mahan Air, Caspian Air. Trucks and trains are also used.

In total, according to estimations, Hezbollah receives the majority of its funds, approximatively $ 700 million a year from Iran.209 Hezbollah, considered as a political group in many countries, notably in the Arab world, is more reliant on having access to the global financial system than other globally-recognized terrorist groups. As such, the group is not subject to UN sanctions and many countries have not imposed other restrictions on its financial transactions. In 2018, Kassim Tajudeen, one businessman from Beirut was condemned to five years in jail for “direct money contribution” to the Hezbollah. He managed to conduct transactional operations worth 50 million dollars in violation of rules of sanctions implanted in the US. Tajideen used intermediaries to conceal his involvement.

If Iran is an assumed supporter and financer of Hezbollah and other groups such as Hamas, it has also been repeatedly accused by the US to support Al-Qaeda directly. In the 1990, according to the 9/11 commission report, an informal agreement between Al-Qaeda and Iran was made to cooperate “in providing support for actions carried out primarily against Israel and the United States”. After 1996, Iran also helped Al-Qaeda to carry out its global jihad strategy, providing support in Yemen, for the bombing of the USS Cole in 2000. Iran also granted transit to Al-Qaeda members who wanted to reach Afghanistan.

After 9/11, Iran notably kept providing a safe passage to al Qaeda jihadist. According to a statement provided by the FBI, a large number of jihadists fund refuge in Iran after 2001 when the Iranian government indicated it was providing shelter to some AL Qaeda members. A second wave of Al Qaeda fighters was authorized in 2002. This enabled the group to set up a management council in Iran. In July 2011, the U.S. Treasury Department noted that the Iranian government had entered into an agreement with Al Qaeda. Under the terms of the agreement, Al Qaeda had to refrain from conducting any operations within Iranian territory and even recruiting operatives inside the country. In return, the Iranian government provides the Al Qaeda network freedom of operation and uninhibited ability to travel for the extremists.

In 2016, it was revealed three senior Al-Qaeda figures210 were residing in Iran, gathered funds in and transferred funds from Iran. The transfers reportedly went to groups in Pakistan and Al-Qaeda affiliates in Syria. The US treasury froze assets of Al Qaeda member Abdel Radi Saqr al Wahabi underscoring the deliberate research for funding and support inside the country. While the existence of a real collaboration involving funds transfers remains doubtful, Al Qaeda could take benefit of potential advantages and the possibility to pursue activities deliberately.

Abbottabad documents also revealed how Bin Laden described Iran as a “safe passage for messages, funds and prisoners.” In a letter from October 2007, the al-Qaeda founder described Iran as “our main artery for funds, personnel, and communication to use Iran as a transit point for funneling money and people from the Gulf to Pakistan and Afghanistan.”211 A letter dating back to 2005, showed Ayman al-Zawahiri then AL Qaeda’s number two, warning al-Zarqawi against attacking Iran and Shiites in Iraq. In his writings, Sayf al Adl, one of Al Qaeda’s tier one's leaders also noted he established links with some Iranians but never admitted official links with the Iranian government.

In a letter212 dating back from 2009, Bin Laden mentioned that Iranians released important affiliated Al Qaeda members. But the reason behind such “apparatus operation” was more turning on stopping terrorist activities in Iran (kidnapping, threats.). In such an aspect, relationship and direct support from Iran to Al Qaeda and other affiliated terrorist groups remain “limited”.

According to Majid Rafizadeh213, a doctor at the Harvard University, such analysis is assessed with a common misconception. A former spokesman for Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), Said Qasemi, disclosed how Tehran sent agents to Bosnia and Herzegovina to train Al-Qaeda members. He also added that Tehran’s operatives were hiding their identity by acting as humanitarian workers for Iran’s Red Crescent. Iranian official Hossein Allahkaram confirmed recently there used to be an Al Qaeda branch in Bosnia and Herzegovina. According to other testimonies, Iran offered Al Qaeda fighters money and arms, training in Hezbollah camps in Lebanon in return for striking American interests in Saudi Arabia. As a way to demonstrate the existence of “links” between both parties, the US 2020 terrorism report claims Iran is providing “safe haven” to Al Qaeda fighters.214

c) Isolated cases and partial state involvement

The two examples we demonstrated are implying a durable, extended and elaborated cooperation between mentioned states and terrorist groups. On a smaller extent, cases of partial and temporal cooperation between state authorities and terrorist groups have been mentioned . In 2012, during an interview with the Telegraph215, Nawaf al-Fares, a Syrian security chief, explained how he was part of an operation to smuggle jihadist volunteers into Iraq from Syria after the 2003 US invasion. According to its testimony, the Syrian regime deliberately used the war in Iraq to disrupt US forces. An alliance was formed with Al Qaeda fighters, and a campaign of propaganda was undergone by the government, encouraging Arabs and foreigners to reach Iraq via Syria. As a governor, al-Fares was in charge of facilitating the trip of any civil servant determined to reach Iraq and masking its absence in Syria. Evidence from the Sinjar Records216, a cache of Al Qaida files obtained by the American military in 2007, confirmed that Syria helped to funnel jihadist fighters into Iraq during the mid-2000s. Authors indicate, citing Libya and Syria, how governments are also using this strategy of “call to jihad” to limit terrorist activity on their own soil. In the late 70s, Syria sent thousands of troops into south Lebanon supporting PLO fighters and providing a logistical front to anyone who wanted to join the jihad. Such kind of strategy illustrates the willingness of the Assad regime to fight on several consecutive fronts and to increase its range of opportunities by using different actors in the area. It should not be forgotten that, on the same side, Syrian regime cooperated with the United States rendition program for the militant program between 2003 and 2011, providing information on terrorist’s locations and officially helping to fight Al Qaeda members. Such deliberate strategy was striking after the 2011 war. The lack of allies (notably amongst the CGC) and isolation within the international community motivated the regime to cooperate with designated terrorist unofficially. Rebel and defectors from the Syrian regime pointed out recently how the regime was deliberately releasing jihadist prisoners to strengthen jihadist ranks at the expense of rebels groups. By the spring of 2013, when Jabhat al Nusra seized control of Syria’s most lucrative oil fields in Deir el Zour, the regime started collaborating with them. Assad regime was notably “paying al Nusra “to protect oil and gas pipelines in the north and east of the country. One activist released in 2012 said “there was no explanation for the release of jihadists”. According to MI6 sources in 2013, Al-Qaeda would not carry out activities at this time without the knowledge of the regime Other such examples can be sometimes provided, demonstrating the existence of “partial cooperation, often motivated in the interest of using terrorist to weaken military adversaries. The NY Times recently revealed on June 29th 2020217, how US intelligence officers and operations forces alerted their superiors of a suspected Russian plot in Afghanistan. Russian intelligence forces were paying bounties to the Taliban’s affiliates for the killing of American soldiers. At least one US soldier was killed resulting from the bounties. A large amount of cash was found in a Taliban safe house following a raid by US special forces last year supposedly coming directly from Russian cash payment. Recent suspicions also provided information concerning Russian cooperation with Taliban forces and indicating Russian forces directly trained Taliban soldiers and provided them with weapons.

Such information confirms how, despite a standard international line on the question of terrorism, discrepancies remain between countries. Russia unofficially consider the Taliban as a potential ally to target Wilayat Khorasan while the US and EU forces maintained since 2001 a unanimous position on defining the group as terrorist. This period of new civil wars and additional partnerships is impeding global counter-terrorism strategy. In Syria, in 2018, massive US counterattacks killed hundreds of Syrian soldiers and Russian mercenaries. Such incident demonstrates the lack of cooperation and potential confrontation between both countries in terrorist areas. This situation is beneficial to UN-recognized terrorist groups requiring intensive cooperation and review of Resolution 1373.

d) Imposing sanctions to limit state sponsor of terrorism

Sanctions against potential state sponsors of terrorism have accelerated after the cold war. In 1992, the Security Council imposed sanctions against Libya over Tripoli’s non-cooperation with anti-terrorists investigations. In 1996, sanctions were218 imposed on Sudan by UN Security Council resolution 1070 for alleged involvements in an assassination attempt on Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak. In 1997, a Berlin court said219 Iran ordered the killing of local German Kurdish and qualified for the first time the state as a sponsor of terrorism.

Sanctions against a state sponsor of terrorism can be efficient as in the cases of Sudan and Libya. Sudan was added to the list in response to the harboring of Usama Bin Laden from 1991 to 1996. At this period, the country served as a convenient transit point, meeting site and safe haven for Iranian backed extremist groups. The sanctions imposed on Sudanese had a marked effect and conducted the Sudanese government to expel various individuals suspected of terrorism, including Usama Bin Laden himself. In the case of Sudan and Libya, example during the 1990’s suggest economic sanctions can be really useful. Following international pressure, Sudan finally expelled Usama Bin laden in 1996 International pressure and the use of sanctions can be useful means to stop terrorist financing. As an example, Eritrea supported around 200-armed opposition groups, including Al Shabab by providing direct cash payments to groups members. Between 2006 and 2010, the UN Monitoring Group obtained documentary evidence of Eritrean payments to an important number of individuals linked to Al Shabab. An individual named Mohamed Wali Sheikh Ahmed Nuura received $20,000 from the embassy of Eritrea in April 2008. After 2010 operated as a political coordinator for Al Shabab. He received additional payments after starting its affiliation with al Shabab. In total, Eritrea sent $40,000-$50,000 per month to al-Shabaab from around 2006 through 2008. In 2012, the UN Monitoring Group assessed Eritrean support to Al Shabab had stopped under pressure from the international community220. An embargo had notably been imposed in 2009.

Following the United States imposition of sanctions against Iran in 2017 and US withdrawing from the JCPOA (nuclear agreement)221, the potential efficiency of international sanctions has been questioned. In 2020, the US also designated the Iran revolutionary Guard as a terrorist group and strengthened international sanctions. This designation can be considered as a mistake and a potential hurdle to international measures. As a consequence of US pressure and following Iranian’s general Qassem Soleimani killing over a US strike, Iranian authorities issued an arrest warrant. The warrant targeted president and other US authorities, requiring the “assistance of the international community”. In such a way, the legitimacy and efficiency of deliberated sanctions can not be useful if distortions remain between states to consider and recognize terrorist groups. Sanctions are efficient to limit terrorism opportunities and state assistance to terrorist groups, but they require firstly an international consensus backed by the UN. In the case of Iran, states such as Russia, China are no partisan and continue to deal with the country, delegitimizing US current position. Even the European Union have not adopted a similar US position by refusing any new imposition of sanctions. This new situation has also motivated Iran to finance militias in the purpose of carrying out attacks targeting US soldiers in Iraq222 and potentially strengthening their cooperation with internationally recognized terrorist groups.

Another problem mentioned similar with direct state support to terrorist groups is global corruption. In such a situation, prevalent in poor countries, a part of state authorities is partially cooperating with terrorist groups or just not focused on counter-terrorism operations.

2) Corruption and opportunities for terrorist groups

While diverging amongst different states, corruption is broadly defined as “the misuse of public power, office or authority for private benefit”223. Corruption is a major problem, directly linked with terrorist activity. States, where terrorists are active, are often weak states with a lack of governance and ruling ability. Based on transparency index 2020 states concerned by a large scale terrorist presence such as, Somalia (rank 180), DRC (168), Iraq (162), Afghanistan (173), Nigeria (146) are reporting the highest rates of corruption worldwide. For example, direct links between state corruption and drug traffickers are relevant in those countries. In a 2014 report224, the West Africa Commission on Drugs mentioned how corruption was diverse and could include all potential actors from the public sector.

Corruption can take different forms and diverse actors, involving acts like the embezzlement of public funds and political patronage. Examples of corruption act concern officers bribes at border checkpoints to allow the movement of illicit goods. Petty corruption encompasses smaller financial transactions like bribes while delivering a public service by a low-ranking civil servant. Terrorist groups or cartel can obtain false identities and documents information on law enforcement activities, or even access to jury identities.

Corruption can be considered as the enabling technology that makes crimes possible. It is a mean for terrorist groups to carry out terrorist attacks without impediment and obtain advantages from public forces. In August 2015, following the Bangkok bombing, one of the suspects paid a bribe to enter Thailand. Corruption is also considered as an essential hurdle to counter-terrorism operations. It considerably limits security forces operations and the efficiency of international operations. Former US Secretary of State John Kerry, recently, urged governments to make corruption a ‘first-order, national security priority,’ calling it a ‘social danger’, ‘radicalizer’, and ‘opportunity destroyer. Sarah Chayes, a former adviser of the international security force in Afghanistan, also argued corruption was the primary culprit behind rising insecurity serving as potential fodder for terrorism implantation and recruitment.

a) Corruption and its impact on terrorism spreading

As we mentioned in this report, one major political hurdle to fight terrorism financing resides in the lack of state authority and territory control. Previously, we mentioned how the Islamic State made a profit of lack of public services and potential corrupted state members to take root, notably in Mosul.

To illustrate such an argument, we analyzed a document dating back from 2008, showing support from Iraqi government members to the Islamic State in Iraq225. In the letter, one unidentified ISI member notes the group’s strategy of infiltration and identifies corrupted groups members, saying:

“He asked us to infiltrate the infidel government administratively, for the purpose of directing some of the economic and financial decisions issued by the apostates, for the benefit of the Muslims in general and the Mujahidin in particular.

The letter evocated a meeting between Faruq Abd al Qadir, at the time minister of communications and noted what government members promised to the affiliated terrorists:

“They stated that all the projects will be set by the Islamic State, and they will take the responsibility of financing the projects and the companies that the Islamic State assigns for the reconstruction.”

The document points out the willingness of government members to deliberately help ISIS to get infiltrated in the government, providing them a regular support. According to Patrick B. Johnston, a senior political scientist at the nonprofit Rand Corporation, some of these politicians may have worked with the Islamic State to benefit themselves. Additional motivations were probably to weaken the Kurds and benefit the Sunnis in Iraq’s ethnically mixed areas in the country’s north. High-level politicians from the Nineveh province accepted to give Islamic State lucrative contracting and extortion opportunities. According to those documents, Al Qadir reportedly placed two Islamic State operatives in official government positions in the Ministry of Communications. The letter also evokes the possibility for a terrorist to infiltrate the government and points out a large amount of fund for such a project:226

“The net profit share of the Islamic State from the project, if it is executed, will be more than 400,000 USD received in instalments within a maximum period of a year. Allah has predetermined that due date passed before starting to execute the project, the project was suspended, and the Shiite company was penalized by the US forces”.

After the Islamic State took control of important territory, some politicians such as Antheil al Najafi, then governor of Nineveh were put under pressure. In 2015, a majority of Iraqi MPS voted to fire him for complicity in the fall of Mosul.227 Additional document and particularly reports from Mosul indicated in 2009 such collaboration was considerably helpful for the terrorist group The pattern of corruption and patronage amongst Iraqi troops has also been identified as an important problem for anti-terrorism operations. Some of the weaponry supplied by the army ended up on the black market and were bought by Islamic State fighters. Colonel Shaaban al Obeidi228, from Iraqi security forces, pointed out in 2014, “having told the Americans to not give weapons through Iraqi army, the corruption is everywhere”.

Cases of ghost soldiers as existing in Kenya in Afghanistan, are an important issue and directly affect state military means. All that related information demonstrates the lack of efficiency in counter-terrorism operations in those countries with the absence of a centralized state. The pattern of corruption and patronage amongst Iraqi troops has been identified as an essential problem for anti-terrorism operations and slowed anti-ISIS operations after 2013.

Different Iraqi services are also lacking profound cooperation with an omnipresence of corruption among politicians ranks while Islamic State’ activity in Iraq will remain a lifeline. As this essay tried to demonstrate, the large extent and possibility of raising money for terrorist groups is actual in numerous countries, mainly war-torn and during periods of rebuilding.

Similar with the situation in Iraq and potentially more considered, corruption in Afghanistan has always be mentioned as a potential hurdle to counter-terrorism measures, starting after 2001. The lack of state control, combined with a flawed administration gave rise to one of the worst corrupted state worldwide and large-scale terrorist implantation. A clear lack of capacity training and preparation to responsibilities has been considered by Transparency International229 as a main factor of this corruption spreading in Afghanistan post-2001.

In total, $104 billion in reconstruction funding were donated by the US in Afghanistan between 2001 and 2014. Most of the funds were focused on rebuilding the Afghan National Army and the Afghan National Police. Similarly, Afghan National spending heavily skewed towards the police and the military. This amount of money just like in Iraq had been delivered to rebuild the country from the 2001 war. Pouring money into an army without sufficient leadership integrity and anti-corruption training can have disastrous consequences. According to interviews230, a new tendency of large-scale corruption emerged after 2001 in the rebuilding society. One Transparency international report noted most civilians now consider corruption as a new problem in their country.

Much of the corruption started in the early years of the American intervention when unaccountable money was flooding through multiple channels, and the response plan appeared very bad planned. No efforts were imposed to limit corruption between 2005 and 2008 as long as military activities were not impacted. Anti-corruption offices such as the High Office of Oversight and Anti-corruption and the Attorney General Office were seen as corrupted. The presence of nepotism amongst government institutions facilitated the interests of the Taliban in the region. According to a local international policy expert231, risk and prevalence of terrorists are directly inciting corruption. Contractors can also ask on contract a part to pay terrorists.

Local actors estimate international aid must be controlled with tighter oversight of disbursement. This dependency on aid was also a major factor on corruption excess. The huge disparity on international and national afghan resources implied almost no security taxes. The lack of control and security prevented and limited any additional efforts on terrorism fighting. As an example, in 2005, one Afghan General in charge of airports controls claimed he had officially 5,000 staff while the actual number was 3,000. Such a statement illustrates the lack of credibility and efforts carried out by local armies. Interviews of local civilians mention accepting bribes are understood as being the right of public officials.232 The lack of continuity and the exploitation of the handovers by Afghans were reported as being “very harmful” to the efforts to build a functional Afghan military. In 2014 John Sopko233 Special Inspector General for Afghanistan mentioned how the Department of Defense lost control of over 200,000 weapons given to the ANSF and the ANP. Several reports also indicate the Afghan police and security forces had sold their weapons and ammunition to the Taliban and other groups.234 In other cases, police officers directly alerted Taliban leaders of military operations. In 2014, Transparency International revealed that 51% of Afghans had paid a bribe to a member of the ANP (“Global Corruption,” 2014). In 2012235, Braithwaite revealed high-level officials in the ANP collaborated with criminals in smuggling, kidnapping, for ransom or other illegal activities. The Afghan judiciary is also marred with corruption and directly influenced by warlords and terrorist groups. The judicial appointment process is notably influenced. In 2013, 65% of Afghans paid a bribe to a judge and 65% viewed the judiciary as corrupt.

Corruption extended to a wider range and concerns on a large-scale international aid, siphoned from international donors. Since 2002, the US government provided at least $15 billion to equip, train and support the ANP. In a 2014 audit, the UNDP236 notified the LOFTA (law and order trust fund for Afghanistan) did not establish internal controls, governance and risk management processes on funds. The LOFTA lacks a clear system to absorb international aid, with extensive internal control deficiencies and difficulties implementing electronic systems, fostering corruption. Between 2004 and 2012, as much as $1 billion of the $8 billion given to Afghanistan could have been lost to corruption237 But, most of all, corruption have undermined Afghan’s trust in their own government and encourage them to turn to non-state actors. In rural areas, many afghans are viewing the ANP as predatory and directly turned to warlords and armed oppositions.

The Afghanistan papers238, a series of classified US documents revealed by the Washington Post in 2018, clearly mentions how US forces tolerated the worst offenders “because they were allies of the US”. US forces are accused of “closing the eyes” on such corruption activity. The lack of control on funds distributed is mentioned. Across the years, the opportunity for bribery and fraud progressively became limitless. Gert Berhold, an accountant who served in Afghanistan from 2010 to 2015 assessed 3,000 Defense department contracts worth $106 billion. According to him, about 40 per cent of this money was finally grabbed by criminals, corrupt officials or insurgents (Taliban’s) . A report from SIGAR239 in 2016 noted how corruption directly hampered US military efforts for reconstruction and the establishment of peace in the country.

Generally, in Afghanistan, Taliban’s activity, and other groups such as Wilayat Khorasan mainly comes from outperforming government and lack of public capacity. In failed states, the alternative proposed by terrorist groups is also sometimes acceptable for a part of the population. In Afghanistan as an example, the corruption, misgovernance, power abuses of central authorities explain why Taliban governance is considered as a potential alternative, despite involving brutality and inadequacy. Under Hamid Karzai, Afghanistan ‘governance was entirely based on corruption and payoffs. As we mentioned, unfulfilled contracts and bribes requirements are limiting the efficiency of public policies and government spending. The absence of cooperation between different services and areas is striking. The Afghan government and local rulers like governors, police chiefs, often view their positions as “personal fiefs” according to Vanda Felbab-Brown240 The situation we described in Afghanistan is prevalent in Africa, where 23 countries face very critical levels of corruption risk in their defense sector. Today, in some African countries, there is a direct link between insecurity and corruption, publicly acknowledged as “the greatest obstacle in the fight against terrorism”, according to the North Africa Institute. As an example, over the last three years, Somalia has been considered as the “most corrupted state in the world” by the Transparency International index. In the country, Security forces tend to sell their arms and equipment as a substitute for their due241. Lack of funds and unpaid salaries are often mentioned, due to mismanagement of public funds by authorities. In Somalia, Al Shabab offers an alternative to young unemployed men or even members of the army. A young Shabab fighter could earn around 300 dollars per month as a loyalty fee, receiving food, water and weaponry supplied by Al Shabab. In such a way, most of newly Al Shabab fighters in 2016 were considered as “not radically motivated”242, but finding recruitment proposals as attractive. In comparison, according to Paul Williams, intensified rivalries between Somalia’s Federal Government and the federal member states further hamper the deployment and effectiveness of the Somalian National Army. A readiness assessment of the SNA carried out in 2017 demonstrated the lack of frontline personnel, communications kit, showing an army unable to lead a prominent military campaign.

In Somalia, the corruption mentioned is causing inefficiency in the armed forces efforts to prevent terrorist activity caused by limiting available means. In other African countries such as Nigeria and Kenya, local armies are deliberately acting in their own interests, with ramping corruption impacting counter-terrorism policy.

In Kenya for example, it has been reported that crooked officials have admitted more than 100,000 foreigners over the last few years into the country, many of them criminals, and some found with highly explosive bomb-making material even after passing through several police roadblocks. Local police and military forces often fail to work together and mutually accuse themselves of potential corruption. Lapses in the use of intelligence to prevent attacks have been reported. In 2014, after the West Gate terrorist attack in Nairobi, John Githongo, , then Kenyan president said corruption is at the heart of the state instability in general. Two policemen were accused of looting the mall during the siege instead of targeting the assailants. The arrest of Kenya’s finance minister, Henri Rotich, on corruption charges also recently demonstrated the prevalence of corruption in the country.

Kenya’s forces are riddled with corruption, acting deliberately out of state control and in the same way as militias or paramilitary groups. According to the Brooking Institute,243 Kenyan, security forces, along with Somali border forces are regularly taking bribes and authorizing illegal border crossings. The Economist noted in 2015244, how Kenyan security forces in the area directly collaborated with Al Shabab in an important smuggling network at the border with Somalia. In 2012, Al Shabab had a total control of the port of Kismayo, before UN and Somali forces captured it. Since then, the terrorist group have developed a local sugar smuggling from Kismayo to Kenya, sharing benefits with the Kenyan army and the southern Somali regional administration of Jubaland. Kenyan army was accused of levying taxes on this traffic, taking “bribes” in exchange for free passage despite full knowledge of Al Shabab involvement in the trafficking. In 2015, it was reported 150,000 tons of sugar were entering Kenya in this way.

Kenyan army is also regularly pointed for “lack of involvement and interests in counter-terrorism” and acting autonomously to defend its interests. In 2014, during the operation Eagle in Somalia led by African Union soldiers, commanders noted the unwillingness of “Kenyan soldiers” to strike Al Shabab245. As noted a 2017 US report246, corruption in Kenya at multiple levels is undermining country’s efforts to prevent cross-border attacks by Al-Shabab. We also noted in the previous chapter how terrorist groups are implanting themselves in trafficking areas like Mocimbo da Praia in Mozambique. As demonstrates Simon Haysom247 this prevalence of trafficking can be rendered possible by local authorities. According to her, powerful networks of criminals are operating there and pursuing illegal activities in the port of Nambala making profit of an entire cooperation with state authorities. Haysom noted this type of trafficking has been authorized to flourish by authorities for now two decades under full views of local inhabitants. Wildlife poaching, smuggling timber and gem, heroin trafficking, have been reported recently in the port and start benefiting terrorist groups.

It is also important to use the example of other African countries such as Nigeria and Burkina Faso248 to illustrate how the absence of a regularly controlled army can directly profit and increase terrorism popularity. In Nigeria for example, lack of control by central authorities is noted, and authorities have resorted to private militias as a way to fight terrorists. Reported cases of extortion, raping, and murderers were committed by those “state actors against civilians”, with a clear lack of fighting against terrorism. Such practice potentially increases recruitment possibilities for Boko Haram, many civilians fearing potential reprisals or torture in prison. In last December, the number of victims caused by those attacks was assessed to reach 40,000 casualties, half of them killed by government militias. Muhamadu Buhari president reelected in 2019 clearly limited the fight against corruption with a lack of measures taken. Just like in Somalia, unpaid wages are considered by Dr Marc-Antoine Pérouse de Montclos, as the main reason why armed forces are not taking part efficiently to counter-terrorism operations. Additionally, in Nigeria, the implementation of local police forces and a general decentralization has been initiated, considered as more efficient. In the North of Nigeria, war crimes have been committed directly by militias. In 2009, the Operation Flush launched by the governor Ali Modus Sheriff , eased Boko Haram territorial implantation after local soldiers killed civilians.249 Military forces have been directly implicated in war crimes250 after gruesome videos were published. The footages included horrific images of detainees having their throats slit and dumped in mass graves by members of the Nigerian military and the Civilian Joint Task Force. In July 2020, a similar example was reported by Human Rights Watch in Burkina Faso, when at least 180 bodies were found in graves with evidence suggesting the government army was involved in large-scale executions. HRW pointed out the lack of signs of progress in investigations. In 2017, Katherine Dixon Transparency International director indicated Corruption is worsening the conflict and potentially a “big driver of insecurity in African countries”.251

To prevent such corruption and forces activities, countries such as Rwanda, and Kenya implemented the possibility to carry out online payments for public services, contributing to fight this type of corruption in the civil service. They are offering a clearer view of public services members activity and control for higher authorities. While situation evolved and new measures were taken to tackle corruption, Afghanistan is still in 2019, considered as the 173rd least corrupt nation in 180 countries, according to the 2019 Corruption Perceptions Index reported by Transparency International. Iraq is 163rd on the list252, showing a slight decrease compared with 2010 (175). As we noted, corruption and terrorism are particularly intertwined in post conflict countries such as Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia. Those examples consistently ranked towards the bottom of the Transparency International corruption index with no significant improvement despite external investments. Corruption is hard to tackle once integrated into the system, like in Afghanistan or Somalia. Regular assessments have to be made by independent authorities.

b) Dealing with corruption and development: Foreign aid controversy

In the fiscal year 2017, the United States announced it would cut foreign aid by 20%, calling it inefficient and mentioning corruption. According to253 the Commission on Wartime Contracting254 “at least $31 billion, and possibly as much as $60 billion” of US funds were lost as a result of contracting waste and fraud in Afghanistan and Iraq between financial years 2002 and 2011.

In 2017, a group of hundreds of retired generals and senators wrote a letter to the Senate indicating “The military will lead the fight against terrorism on the battlefield, but it needs strong civilian partners in the battle against the drivers of extremism– lack of opportunity, insecurity, injustice, and hopelessness.”

This initiative was directly considered as a mistake that would directly benefit terrorists; Terrorism is largely predicated on inequality in the political and economic system. In Somalia, Nigeria, Iraq recently, terrorist groups capitalize on the local population’s feelings of disenfranchisement, promising to empower those who join their organizations. Regarding this situation, providing international aid can be considered as the main solution to limit and prevent local corruption.

In a report from 2017, Transparency International pointed out the lack of appreciation from the international community on the nature of corruption. Corruption risks and their direct consequences are often not identified, even by the international community. In Afghanistan, for example, from the beginning of the International Assistance mission, no intent or operations aiming to limit corruption threat were initiated. The role of UN missions and the international community is to equip better local department to recognize and confront corruption threats.

International aid must be given appropriately and make efforts on corruption with conditions on its spending. Dixon noted255 corruption and funds embezzlement can provide terrorist solid arguments for recruitment, notably in countries such as Afghanistan or Niger. Terrorist groups are offering a very simple alternative to what is considered as a “corrupt establishment” according to Dixon. An anti-corruption strategy is necessary everywhere. Firstly, it prevents, and limits potential funds embezzlement as it happens regularly in Afghanistan and, secondly, strengthens State’s ability to carry out decisions and earns massive support from the population. Corruption and the absence of public authorities were amongst the reasons why ISIS conquered so much territory without resistance or the Taliban did not meet any organized army and reinforced their presence and legitimacy. In 2020, Somalia, the state where terrorists have the most important territorial foothold is considered as one of the worst “failed state” worldwide.

Efforts by the international community and international presence in warring areas must include counter-terrorism financing and fight against corruption systematically in their program while taking into account the potential involvement of local forces in terrorist financial operations. For example, in Somalia, over the next few years, assisting state control in Mogadishu is a clear priority for local UN forces, directly targeted by regular IED attacks. The development of elaborated trafficking involving terrorist groups in the city despite this presence of international soldiers is a major hurdle and limits UN activity.

Aid funds can contribute to a state’s legal infrastructure since they “can be used for legal reforms, helping write detailed constitutions, administration of justice, training judges, and providing useful resources to improve citizens’ access to justice” Nevertheless, an alternative must be found, and regular control has to be systematic. Cases of corruption mentioned upper, notably in Afghanistan impeded international assistance to deliver results. Much of the funds for counterterrorism operations and training in Pakistan in the mid 2000’s was instead diverted by the military for private gain or alternative purposes. In some cases, like in Somalia, international aid has also been diverted by terrorist groups. According to former Somali intelligence agents,256 thousands of dollars per day were extorted through taxes on merchants attempting to transport food and supplies257. Some companies and aid groups were also paying al Shabab between $25,000 and $70,000 in exchange for the safety of their employees. A simple transfer of funds is inefficient and international aid must take into account all the ground factors. For example, in Somalia, Al Shabab territorial implantation must be considered.

According to Vanda Felbab-Brown258, in Somalia, countries such as the United States or the UAE, which have both military forces in the country are looking for alternative support. Due to the instability and underperformance of the National Security Forces added with prevalent corruption, support for militias groups are mentioned as an alternative solution259. Embracing militias carries many risks. The loyalty of militia groups is fluid and some of them may prioritize their own interests, potentially getting involved in smuggling and trafficking opportunities. That’s why, getting focused on building stable and efficient state authorities and the military is still considered by experts as the most efficient solution.

In the future years, foreign assistance to limit terrorist spreading will be a key point in Syria and Iraq. After almost ten years of civil wars, in the upcoming years, Syria will potentially require massive external funds for its rebuilding. The risk of terrorism presence and control over the territory remains high with a notable activity and regular attacks carried out by ISIS. In total, rebuilding Syria will cost, according to UN projections at least $250 billion260 Russia can’t take on the costs of rebuilding and required Western states to take their part and assist the Syrian government in the rebuilding procedure. Nonetheless, EU members and the US have made reforms and notably a political transition in Syria, as a condition for any involvement in reconstruction efforts. Regarding the current situation, no reform appears in sight while Bashar al Assad recently tightened its grip to power. Any rebuilding procedure over the next five years will have to include Bashar al Assad, despite International community’s reluctance. Syria is running out of budget and looks totally unprepared for any rebuilding efforts. Before the war, the capital budget was $60 billion while it reached only $300 million last year according to a French diplomat.261 About 11 million people have been displaced across or outside the country and lost their home. The war also devastated water, sanitation, and electrical systems in former rebel-held areas.

Current situation in the country presents a new opportunity for terrorist groups similar to what have been seen in Iraq following the 2003 war. The absence of state control is particularly worrisome. By January 20th, 2020, a United Nations report sent warnings to the Security Council noting that ISIS started to re-assert itself in both Iraq and Syria through increasingly bold attacks. According to a report by Operation Inherent resolve262, ISIS continues mounting up in the area keeping a regular activity with the noted presence of couriers. Recently, ISIS detainees staggered against YPG guards claiming a right for visits. Lack of control by local authorities on refugee camps and terrorist detainees is noted as a potential factor of radicalization and an opportunity for the group’s territorial implantation. The presence in the province of Idleb of recognized terrorist groups such as Tahrir al Sham or Al Qaeda linked group Huras al Din is also a factor of radicalization and “terrorism implantation in the country”. Recently, massive clashes erupted between the groups and the Syrian government in Idleb263 and Huras al-Din militants leading to repetitive fire exchanges.

A consensus is still beyond the reach regarding international support for rebuilding Syria. On June 2020, the US passed The Bill Stop UN Support for Assad Act 264 which prohibits UN support for the Syrian government, allegedly based on potential misuse of those funds by the regime. This law has been criticized as it will probably hamper Syria’s rebuilding efforts, with a potential durable stalemate for the country. On the other side, the Syrian regime has also been reluctant to accept any external funds coming from other countries than “loyal war supporters such as Iran or Russia”. Even within the Arab world, despite a starting reconciliation, no Gulf country volunteered to finance Syria’s rebuilding.

Conclusion of the chapter

To limit international terrorism, new solutions must be found and clear external financing, as provided to countries such as Afghanistan and Iraq following the US invasion, is required. The absence of a regular state of control is recognized as the main factor enabling terrorist territorial implantation. Local leaders in countries such as Afghanistan also need better explanations about corruption measures. In 2013, a new police unit called Shafafiyat - Dari for transparency - anti-corruption was created under the auspices of ISAF (International security assistance force). The creation of this institution noted significant improvements.

In Kenya, a lack of tangible actions aimed to fight terrorism activities and limit such corruption cases were reported. Between 2010 and 2018, only three officers were convicted by Kenya ‘s independent policing oversight, despite having received over 100,000 complaints. The problem of corruption is also directly associated with repression and police violence, a potential opportunity for terrorist groups to find affiliates and support amongst civilians. As we mentioned, stable state support and absence of are important factors to limit opportunities for terrorist groups.

Furthermore, international cooperation and information sharing is essential to cope with terrorism financing. Since 2001, new efforts and strategy have been purported to deal with this new threat.

V) Counterterrorism

To conclude this report, we will provide a detailed review of some counter-terrorism initiatives undertaken by the international community since 2001. New regional agreements, UN resolutions have been firmed with the common purpose of finding a standard line to fight terrorism.

1) UN resolutions and common definitions

International strategy to fight terrorism was first edited by the UN security council resolution 1373 in 2001, following 9/11 attacks. For the first time, UN member states were encouraged to share their intelligence on terrorist groups and potential terrorist attacks in order to fight international terrorism.

Since 1963, sixteen international conventions had been negotiated under the UN’s auspices criminalizing specific acts of terrorism, such as hostage-taking, acts against specific means of transport or categories of persons, use of specific devices for terrorist purposes. Those conventions have helped to provide a global framework for international counter-terrorism cooperation and global anti-terrorism norms. Individual initiatives with global impact were also taken, notably by US forces; In 2001,265 President Bush signed Executive Order 13224, giving the U.S. Government a powerful tool to impede terrorist funding. Freezing orders were then used since under the International Emergency Economic Power Act against US persons suspected of supporting foreign terrorist organizations. Two weeks after the attacks, President Bush issued the executive order 13224, providing the authority to designate and block the assets of foreign individuals, posing potential or confirmed risks.

However, most of all, the United Nations have played an essential role in the fight against terrorism, mainly by expanding the focus on this threat after 9/11. Resolution 1368, adopted on 12th September 2001 gave for the first time states the right of self-defense against terrorist attacks under Article 51 of the UN charter. In paragraph 6 of its resolution 1267266 (1999) on Al Qaida, Taliban and related persons and entities, the Security Council also established a committee to monitor compliance with the sanctions. This committee, known as the Al Qaida and Taliban Sanctions Committee or the 1267 Committee, remains in charge of helping the Council to check Member States' compliance with the sanction’s regime. Sanctions applied on Al Qaeda in Afghanistan were also expanded to the organization in all parts of the globe.

Finally, the Resolution 1373 adopted in October 2001 was considered as the first “common mark” imposed by the UN to fight terrorism financing and the existence of norms. The resolution imposed to UN members legally binding obligations including enhancing legislation, strengthening border controls, and increased international cooperation to fight terrorism. A support structure was established to monitor member state implementation of Resolution 1373. On 24th September 2014, the UN Security Council adopted the landmark resolution 2178267, calling upon all states to cooperate urgently to prevent the international flow of terrorists.

As demonstrates the global implementation survey of the resolution 1373 carried out in 2015,268 the terrorist threat has evolved rapidly and is becoming more diverse. In its resolution 2129 (2013), the Council directed the Executive Directorate to identify emerging terrorist issues, trends and developments. A global counter-terrorism strategy was also adopted by the U.N. General Assembly Resolution 61/288 in September 2006, considered as a unique global instrument to enhance national and international efforts to counter-terrorism financing. Through its adoption by consensus in 2006, all UN Member States agreed to a common strategic and operational approach to fight terrorism.

Such international cooperation in implementing a global norm on counter-terrorism measure has also been expanded after 2001 in the field of terrorism financing. Global counterterrorism strategy is now required and international cooperation mounted up after 2001. UN Member states are encouraged to work with the financial sector (banks and insurance companies to implement this requirement) and to make circulate the Al Qaeda Sanctions List to commercial banks for screening against their client databases. Paragraph 13 of resolution 2161269, adopted encourages member states to urge that company regularly screen their databases against the Al Qaeda Sanctions List.

Founded in 1989 as a way to combat money laundering, the FATF (Financial Action task Force) can be considered today as the most elaborated intergovernmental organization in charge of dealing with terrorist financing. The mandate of the FATF was previously only dedicated to money laundering and has been expanded since 2001 to terrorist financing. Its role is to set standards and promote the implementation of operational and efficient measures for combating terrorist financing and money laundering. Regular assessment of countries situation is carried out with the promotion of international standards. In its 2019 report, the FATF notably promote the importance of international cooperation calling states to:

“Rapidly, constructively, and effectively provide the widest possible range of international cooperation in relation to money laundering, predicate offences, and terrorist financing relating to virtual assets,” 270

In October 2001, the FATF issued eight recommendations to combat terrorism financing, enforced since by more than 180 countries, including Ratification and implementation of UN instruments: the criminalization of the financing of terrorist, freezing and confiscating terrorist assets; reporting suspicious transactions related to terrorism; International cooperation;; Alternative remittance 271 ; Wire transfers 272 ; Non-profit organization 273

FATF calls for data management and requires Financial institutions to maintain all the records possible on transactions.274 A constant adaptation and review of the local situation are also required. For example, one interesting point mentioned in the 2019 report designates how countries and financial institutions should identify terrorist financing risks that may arise concerning the development of new technologies. Risk assessments are required before the launch of new products, business practices. We demonstrated previously in this report how new applications and payment system such as WhatsApp, Bitcoin are now used by terrorists and could possibly become a new widespread tool in terrorist financial transactions. For example, Brazil recently suspended WhatsApp new payments system, enabling to launch money via chat. The system, launched in June 2020, allows users to transfer funds to individuals or local businesses within a chat. The government directly ordered Mastercard and Visa to halt payments via this system.

On a general basis, Financial action task force is conducting reports and regular assessments on a country’s situation and potential management of terrorism financing.

2) State efforts to improve measures and assessment

International cooperation and regular assessment of counter-terrorism initiatives are essential to prevent terrorism financing. FATF is regularly updating assessment of anti-money laundering and counter financing measures in member states, describing the potential flaws and areas of improvement For example, in its National Risk Assessment 2019 for Pakistan275, the FATF noted relevant missing points in Pakistani security policy. The non-banking-sector in Pakistan is not regular in conducting manual screening and authorities have not yet frozen any funds (not consistent with Terrorism financing’s risks). FATF also pointed out how non-financial business are not screened. The State of Bank does not have yet a clear approach to understanding Terrorism Financing risks.276 By getting focused and comparing those reports, state authorities can have a detailed overview of the global counter-terrorism situation and local evolution in other states. FATF mutual evaluation report focused on Turkey277 mention that important progress was made between 2013 and 2019 in the country. Turkey made significant progress in strengthening its AML CFT network. Several additional regulations were implemented and positive inputs from the legal sector were noted.

As mentioned in FATF reports, Money Laundering in West Africa is an important problem to consider to limit terrorism financing opportunities. In the area, less than 12 per cent of persons are holding bank accounts. To prevent terrorism financing and money transfer between neighboring countries, the implementation of border checks control is required. The lack of control of money remitters in the area is noted. This is also one of the reasons why non-profit organization sector can be misused, requiring stricter internal controls. Only a few states deliberately criminalize the financing of an individual terrorist organization. In the article 5 of its 2012 recommendations278, the FATF already encouraged countries to criminalize any financing of terrorist individuals or organizations, “even in the absence of a link to a specific terrorist act or acts”. Such a process implies a clear definition and identification of terrorist groups.

In July 2015, the West African Economic and Monetary Union adopted a new counter financing of terrorism directive. This included new uniform legislation calling upon African states to complete their legislative process. Calling for a better definition and condemnation of terrorist acts, this legislation is still presenting significant shortcomings with regards to UN Security Council resolution 1373. While asset freezing process are adequately covered, and regular initiatives are taken in West Africa, few states have adequate systems to freeze terrorist funds without delays and already initiated an assessment of the sector in anti-money laundering context.

In a 2019 assessment focused on Mali,279 the FATF reported the main issues to tackle in order to limit terrorism financing. In Mali, the 2013/2015 counter-terrorism financing strategy has not yet been implemented, and limited policies and institutional measures are in place. Terrorist and terrorist organizations use cash that is transferred outside the territory. According to the report, they mainly use couriers and are making a profit of porous border or money controls to transfer their funds. In countries such as Mali, the national intelligence coordination framework on counterterrorism does not incorporate terrorist financing elements. As put forward in FATF reports280, the informal economy and cash-based system make it easier for terrorist groups to transfer money in or outside their area of activity. Such scarcity and lack of state control can be explained by the low rate of bank access, the use of small amounts not monitored by the bank. In Mali, additionally, local authorities lack a clear training and resources to prevent terrorism transactions. The report states that despite the progress the supervisory authorities for insurance and capital market impose obligations on its reporting entities but have not yet put in place an appropriate methodology and supervisory tools to carry out any risk-based supervision. The existence of informal channels of payment and border transfers such as hawala is noted in most sub-Saharan countries and is considered as predominant in FATF reports, particularly in Mali281 In several countries such as Mali but also other places like Afghanistan, Burkina Faso or Somalia, FATF reports mention how cross borders cash declarations are not efficiency taken. Electronic surveillance is not utilized by authorities even though hard counter-terrorism laws have been implemented. Lack of training among investigators on terrorism financing procedures is also pointed out. FATF also mentions how territory control is primordial to conduct investigative operations and how the lack of skilled militias in such countries can be problematic. One key solution to prevent terrorism financing would be to control the hawala system and shadow economy, mentioned as problematic in almost all FATF reports regarding the Middle East and African countries.

As an example, since 2012, Afghanistan committed to working on its counter-terrorism financing deficiencies. In 2017, FATF recognized the government adequately criminalized money laundering and terrorist financing. A cross border declaration system has also been established. In Afghanistan, a new agency was established named Fintraca (Financial intelligence unit Afghanistan). Fintraca282 initiated new measures to control large Cash transaction reports. Since 2017, a process of conducting surveys of hawala was established. Compared with 2017 (1,4 million), Large cash transaction reports gradually increased in 2019, reaching 1,7 Million. 82% of the sector of transactions283 is currently reported, showing new increases. New requirements have been imposed to Hawala. Fintraca is also pursuing new MOUS with partner Afghan government agencies. But those agencies and new initiatives taken are still negatively impacted by different degrees of corruption. In its report on terrorism 2019, the United States estimate Fintraca faces “administrative hurdles”284 due to significant corruption when collaborating with the Afghan Attorney General Office. Cases of corruption are mentioned as potentially hampering further cooperation. Counter-terrorism measures initiated in underdeveloped countries have to b regularly controlled and under the auspices of UN organizations.

To prevent terrorism financing, states have to limit groups territory control, and, in the case of a territorial presence, use all the existing tools to limit the group activity. We demonstrated how the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria managed to use the mismanagements and lack of sovereignty by the Iraqi government to get implanted on a large-scale territory, benefiting from huge resources. After 2014, the Government of Iraq took important steps to address this issue, including issuing national directives to its banks to prevent wire transfers to and from branches in the territory where ISIL was operated and stop the sale of hard currency to these banks. Such initiatives have been described as essential to prevent an ISIL-affiliated individual or entity from using a bank under the government’s control and transact through the domestic or international financial system. Banks operating in ISIL-held territory could no longer receive cash infusions to finance their operations, which averted potential ISIL exploitation of additional cash as a source of revenue. To limit ISIS financial activity, Iraq notably benefited from the aid of the international community. Between April 2015 and March 2017. Important action was made between the US treasury department and the Iraqi government. Suspicious money service businesses were banned from accessing the Iraqi financial system, and all their assets were frozen.

General cooperation started to be established as a way to deal with terrorism recruitments by reinforcing border controls. In West Africa, terrorist recruitment networks are active in areas of conflict and neighboring states. Generally, high unemployment rates, dire economic situations, and lack of education among some categories of the population (particularly among youth) are frequently exploited by recruiters. Despite the situation, only some States of the subregion criminalize the recruitment of terrorists.

Porous border control remains an important issue worldwide for the subregion and prevention of terrorist activities on a large-scale basis. A lack of measures to prevent human smuggling is particularly noted. The protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air entered into force in 2000. The ratification of this treaty has involved reinforcement of local measures taken in Sub Saharan Africa to limit potential migrant smuggling and cross border operations by terrorist groups. To mitigate and prevent the risk of terrorism, some states have empowered local communities to alert the authorities about movements of suspicious individuals. Village leaders are also provided with the contact numbers of the closest patrols. Several States have adopted systems at airports to connect INTERPOL data with existing national border security infrastructure. However, very few of those States have extended the I-24/7 system to land and sea border posts. Border controls are still lacking some essential points, notably to land and sea border posts. Some African states have started connecting Interpol databases285, modernizing National Central offices throughout Africa. It remains important to note that so far, in Africa, no state has adopted an advanced passenger information system, and the exchange of information is only bilateral, notably in North Africa where the absence of an Interpol system is noted.

In Warring zones where lack of local authority is noted (Iraq-Syria border), preventing the illicit cross border movement of cash is not efficient enough. As we evocated money transfers to Turkey from ISIS members, the lack of control in the area enables local terrorist groups to carry out new transfers. Among the key gaps hampering the efforts of states in the area, is the inadequate information sharing286 among law enforcement agencies and intelligence partners. There is currently no sub regional platform throughout Western Asia that would facilitate such exchange. No state in the area has neither explicitly criminalized the smuggling of terrorists into its territory In 2014, UN security council adopted resolution 2178 to criminalize terrorist fighters and find alternatives to prevent terrorist displacements287. The resolution notably calls states to strengthen the use of asset freezing mechanisms288. To facilitate and stop illicit cross border financing, cash disclosure or declaration procedures are recommended. As a way to strengthen border control, Ethiopia started this year employing PISCES (Personal Identification Secure Comparison and Evaluation System)289 at the airport to conduct travel screening and assessment of passengers. Countries such as Djibouti employed this technology several years ago.

According to the US country reports on terrorism 2019290, hurdles remain in some countries to implement those new control standards. In Kenya, for example, the passage of a data protection law delayed the implementation of “Anti System global” (ATS-G). Recent gains, notably in Mali have been hampered by a lack of material. Mali also launched a new strategy in 2019 to counterterrorism by directly strengthening governance and development in rural areas directly under the threat of terrorist activity. Such initiatives are generally praised by the international communities, offering opportunities to limit states territorial implantation.

The main striking point to prosecute foreign fighters is the lack of domestic criminal laws. An important difficulty remains for states to gather evidence on conflict situation. States face severe resource and capacity constraints to investigate and prosecute terrorism crimes. In East Africa, UN Resolution 1373 overview only reports Uganda and Kenya as efficient investigators and prosecutors of terrorist groups. In Somalia, most terrorist cases remain handled by military courts. A lack of training, equipment or mandates is mentioned everywhere. Mechanisms of freezing assets are limited and untested, while a lack of information sharing and inter-agency cooperation remain important shortfalls. Inadequate immigration and visas control are additional impediments. As demonstrated, the trafficking between Somalia and Kenyan border is largely beneficial to terrorist groups, with the cooperation of local authorities in some cases. Few countries are using passenger name records systems, making it difficult to track down terrorist groups. Additionally, only a few states have integrated measures into their counter-terrorism strategies to limit the scope of terrorism activity on the internet.

3) How to Limit firearms distribution to terrorists?

Unlike drugs, cigarettes or first-hand goods, firearms are a durable mean, potentially used as a second hand good on a long term-basis. According to researches291, recent uprisings and civil wars demonstrated how severe instability generates demand for weapons. Over the years, existence and durability of internal conflicts involved accumulated stockpiles of second-hand weapons, easing the way for traffickers to procure material. Weapon sources in West Africa, for example, are mostly coming from older stockpiles of weapons even though some arms packing continue to be purchased in high volumes.

As mentioned, Reuters292 in 2012, much of Boko Haram’s military hardware is not bought, but stolen from the Nigerian army. Analysis indicated Boko Haram obtains material from different sources, including national stockpiles from the country where it operates. Boko Haram mainly obtained material from Nigerian and Nigerien Arsenals primarily through attacks on a security position. Isolated cases of corrupted officers sharing material with the group have also been reported. In 2015 for example, according to Nigerian security officers293 a singled package of ammunition was discovered in the house of a member of Boko Haram during an operation In 2016, Boko Haram members attacked the military base of Bosso, located in the Diffa Region. Based on an interview with Nigerian authorities’ forces, the SAS-Sana report294 gives clear indications of how the group organized itself to capture military material. According to a video of the attack analyzed by authorities, the terrorists took material with which they were already familiar, ranging from small arms to heavy caliber ammunition. In total, during this attack, terrorists stole 50 to 60 assault rifles, 6 vehicles mounted with light weapons. In one case, Boko Haram also procured weapons from abroad, which was described as a “worrisome development” by the Nigerian chief superintendent of police in August 2012 Terror groups often make off with weapons belonging to peacekeeping missions and militaries. In 2015295, following an attack by Al Shabab militants on Burundian troops, terrorists recovered 200 assault rifles, 20 machine guns, anti-tank weapons and mortars. According to Abdi Noor Mohamed, an independent Horn of Africa security consultant, Al-Shabaab is “planned and deliberate” in its attacks. After launching suicide car attacks on security forces, they recover weapons and use them in a future attack. An important part of those weapons is then sold to local businessmen. Terrorist groups can deliberately tighten airdrop of weapons by peacekeeping operations. Along these lines, Voronkov, Under Secretary-General of the UN office of Counterterrorism recently noted "Small arms and light weapons are increasingly becoming the weapon of choice of many terrorist groups around the world as they are cheap and easy to access, transfer, hide and use,"296

When looking backwards on the period before 9/11 attacks and 2019, it can be constated important differences in size, equipment, type of action between terrorist groups, notably in Africa. While mounting terrorist operations before 2000 involved individuals for a purposed task or suicide attacks, today’s terrorist groups get several similarities with armed rebel groups, notably in Africa. Acts of looting and repetitive attacks can be purported on a regular basis. Organized as an army, the Islamic State managed to take control over a territory equivalent to a state. If territory control and implantation on an area for durability remain limited for terrorist groups, new situations mean most of the terrorist groups can carry out armed attacks targeting unarmed civilians. Such strategy is notably used by groups like Boko Haram, coming from village to village and looting population.

The prevalence of such weapons at the disposal of terrorists is problematic and implies looting attacks could remain a durable source of funding for terrorist groups. Outflows from Qaddafi-era Libyan state stocks have been important sources of illicit weapons for sub-Saharan Africa since 2011. Until 2016, investigators regularly documented small arms ammunition coming from Libya.

The existence of increased weapon markets in Africa is also beneficial to terrorist groups. In Niger, increasing local demand from gold miners, traffickers, smugglers and tribes is noted. In 2018, Mathieu Pellerin noted how the increased circulation of weapons in the region had fueled additional violence. Terrorists are also making a profit of existing trafficking roads like in Mali, where weapons are coming directly from Libya through Niger.

In 2016, Peter Pham, a Nigerian scholar told Reuters297 about Boko haram “We’re not talking about a group that is buying sophisticated weapons of the sort that some of the jihadist groups in Syria and other places are using. We’re talking AK-47s, a few rocket-propelled grenades, and bomb-making materials. It is a very low-cost operation,”

As we mentioned in this report, small weapons are now essential for terrorist groups’ strategy, notably in Africa. Considering the fact that terrorist groups are mainly dependent on donations and looting to obtain weapons, prevention measures are essential. According to Eric G Berman298, to prevent this trafficking, army commanders can do better jobs of tracking caches, particularly arms recovered from captured insurgents. Regarding UN operations, Airdrop and convoy procedures could be tightened. Paying soldiers more and boosting morale could go a long way to stopping “light hands in weapons depots”, Berman added.

Fighting against weapon trafficking is another effort the international community must take into account. In a conference organized this year, the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy underlined the connection between terrorism and the illicit small arms trafficking and called on Member States to strengthen coordination and cooperation to address this challenge. Since last year, UNOCT and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) have been working closely with the UN Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED) and UN Office for Disarmament Affairs (ODA). Their final purpose is to develop a project enhancing “strategic and operational capacities to prevent, detect and counter the firearms trafficking and other illegal activities related to terrorism and organized crime.” 299 . The project will be focused on Central Asia.

UNCTED Deputy executive director Weixioing Chen pointed out how this new initiative illustrates the importance of controlling weapons trafficking. Over the last few years, weapon trafficking has been in the heart of several UN security council resolutions. The resolution 2317, for example, dating back to 2017, extended an arms embargoes on Somalia and Eritrea to prevent weapon trafficking. The measure also underlines the importance of the Federal Government of Somalia of putting a “resource sharing agreement” and credible legal framework.

In 2006, West African State adopted the ECOWAS Convention on Small Arms and Light Weapons.300 The convention incites notably firming states to ban the transfer of small arms and light weapon into their national territory. The convention also entails a larger control on manufacturing weapons to prevent the existence of a black market. Such legislation looks for preventing the production of craft-produced weapons301 or blank firing weapons that are converted to live-fire ammunition. Such legislation is not yet uniformized. In Sierra Leone, for example, authorities authorize this local production. In other countries such as Nigeria, lack of control is striking and noted by UN reports.

UN authorities have a direct role in preventing terrorist operations and their use of weapons. In Mali, by cooperating with local authorities, MINUSMA has been focused on tracking the domestic distribution of weapons. The collection of ammunition and investigations of weapons used by terrorist groups is a necessity to understand better the type of weapons used and the potential existence of trafficking. Following a terrorist attack in 2012, MINUSMA documented an AKMS- pattern assault rifle used by an assailant killed and discovered the weapon model date of age. This investigation was connected to others and enabled to connect the same type of weapons coming from the same initial stockpile in Bamako, Ouagadougou, and Ivory Coast, demonstrating an important ability to move weapons across the region and the existence of centralization of weapons acquisition. Such coordination of efforts must also be applied to all the type for trafficking in which terrorist groups are involved.

4) Limiting access to terrorism smuggling opportunities: The example of gold

In February 2015, the DRC, the United Nations MONUSCO302, UN environment program, assessed that fund amounting to $1 billion of gold flow out of the great lakes region as the result of illegal exploitation every year. In total, 3% of these revenues flow back to illegal armed groups, potentially terrorist groups in the area (unidentified).

As we demonstrated in this report, terrorist groups have, over the last years, managed to get involved in gold trafficking. Some groups in sub-Saharan Africa are notably making profit of their partial territory control to get consideration and support by local illegal smugglers. As a way to prevent terrorist activity in those areas and the lack of access, Sahelian states need to secure artisanal gold mine303 and increase the number of deployed security forces in those areas. As outlined in one OECD report304, gold production could become a major source of finance for terrorist groups, particularly in areas where jihadist territory expansion is growing. Calling on state actors to provide security to golden sites is a solution mentioned by OECD. In the future years, one particular danger is an excessive power delegation to non-state military actors that could get out of state control and commit crimes against civilians.

In some sites where state authorities can still be exerted, government forces could formalize mining extraction. By implementing new legislation, controlling extraction channels, the possibility for jihadists to make a profit of the local industrialization would largely decrease. Additionally, the extraction of the revenues could be done by state authorities. By issuing and registering gold mining permits where local control is missing, smugglers and local jihadists would be less in a position to exert their influence. Such processes were already launched but have still to be completed. In Burkina Faso, the National Agency for the Supervision of Artisanal and Semi-Mechanized Mining305 was created in 2015 with a role to provide tax benefits for those selling it their product. In Ghana, Ivory Coast, and Mali, miners have sometimes rejected the corridors because authorities were not taking into account their proposals. Reinforced cooperation is required. In Niger, authorities plan to set up gold mining corridors, secured and formalized with basic services available to miners (water, electricity).

Improved Security measures are still required while the situation is unstable, as demonstrated with the recent kidnappings of personnel from mining companies in Niger and Burkina Faso306. State cooperation is also important to limit informal cross border trading in gold, which increases the risk of terrorist funding regarding the presence of jihadist groups on state borders.

On a general basis to prevent all types of smuggling activities, particularly in Africa, it is required that countries formalize trade. In the ECOWAS region, most trade is informal, unregistered and clandestine. Harmonization of tax systems is presented as a potential solution. Additionally, Sahelian states could encourage the formal private sector to get involved in artisanal mining. Through the Central Bank West African States, Sahelian States could purchase the artisanal cold mined on their territory as existing in Guinea. Such a strategy remains limited due to fixed parity. Airports control must also be strengthened.307 The main purpose is to establish effective national traceability mechanisms to reduce the potential risks of money laundering and terrorist financing. The methods mentioned would enable state authorities to regain control over some informal channels and be applied to other types of informal trades used by terrorists. Article 22 of the Protocol of the Regional Initiative against the Illegal Exploitation of Natural Resources in the Great Lakes Region recommends the harmonization of the legislation of Member States. In 2012, states started discussing how to implement the protocol in their respective legislation.308

Gold expansion and local development is considered as a way to prevent terrorist activity and limit the support of the local population to terrorist groups. For example, according to Interpol and local criminal authorities309, as a result of state control and legal god mining in the Agadez region (Niger), terrorist groups' influence in the area decreased.

5) Payments of ransoms: A large controversy within the international community:

The Security Council, in the resolution 2133 (2014), reaffirmed that terrorists should not directly or indirectly benefit from proceeds of kidnapping for ransom, which is most effectively countered through prevention. This resolution was the first devoted to the question of ransom payments following kidnapping by terrorist groups. The resolution calls upon states to “prevent terrorists from benefitting directly or indirectly from ransom payments or political concessions”. Secondly, it calls to secure the safe release of hostages and to encourage private partners to adopt relevant guidelines for preventing and responding to terrorist kidnapping without paying ransoms. Paragraph 7 of resolution 2161 (2014) and 17 of resolution 2170310 induced confirmation that a payment of ransom to any listed party should therefore be prohibited regardless of how or by whom the ransom is paid. Those resolutions appear to be important steps toward prohibiting ransoms. Resolutions 2133 also calls for interstate cooperation during hostage situations and new expert discussions within the UN bodies regarding the subject.

Resolution 2173 indicates that states must prevent kidnapping and hostage-takings committed by terrorists. In February 2015, resolution 2199 reaffirmed the application of assets freeze to Daesh. Additionally, the resolution distinguishes between ransoms and external donations. For ransoms, it repeats Resolution 2133, “encouraging” private sector participation but failing to address ransom financers themselves. For external donations, the resolution evocates the obligation for states to ensure that individual do not make donations. No sanctions for states that facilitate payments or direct prohibition on the act of paying ransoms has been mentioned so far. The resolutions do not invoke duty to apprehend ransomed financers. In such a way, the lawfulness of forbidding ransom payments remains unclear and various positions are adopted by UN members.

The Anglo States such as the United States and the United Kingdom have appeared reluctant to pay for ransoms justifying it could only provide terrorist groups rising opportunities and means. According to Vicky Huddleston311, former US ambassador to Mali in 2003, European strategy of accepting ransom payments is wrong on two sides. Firstly, it increases terrorist financing means, and secondly, it endangers the lives of European citizens, becoming potential targets in African countries. Under this view, the payment of ransoms by families or companies may be criminalized and its interdiction also concerns the public sector. In 2014, Barack Obama ordered a comprehensive review of the policy for terrorist kidnappings. Before that, following the 9/11 US law considerably limited ransom payments. In the UK, ransom payment is considered as illegal under international law and in contravention with its domestic policy312. In the document Counterterrorism and Security Bill it is clearly indicated, “We do not pay: Payment of terrorist ransoms is illegal under the terrorism Act 2000”.

On the other side, some states are defending International Human Rights Law that can be relied upon to emphasize the Hostage's life. As we mentioned when evocating terrorism kidnappings, states such as France, Italy engage or permit informal negotiations for hostage’s release. The lack of information and the cover behind such operation illustrates the unofficial character of some ransom payments. The main argument concerns the immediate threat of the hostage life that should be prioritized.

Proponents of non-payments are arguing such practice can deter kidnappings. An investigation by the New York Times313 found that between 2009 and 2014, only 3 amongst fifty-three hostages taken by Am Qaeda were Americans. A significant percentage of European was fund with capture of Italian, French and Swizz people premeditated. According to US forces in that way, banning the funding of ransoms would prevent additional terrorist kidnapping. In practice, the prohibition may only shift kidnappings towards nationals whose countries are making payment. The power of political motivations is also overestimated and can be very limited. Recently, non-payment policies of the United States failed314 to deter the kidnappings of Americans James Foley or Steven Sotloff . The fate of those hostages demonstrates how the absence of financial proposals and the use of direct negotiations is not efficient.

To mitigate the impact of non-payment on victims, the United States and the United Kingdom often attempt to carry out military freedom operations. Such an approach can also be considered as a potential deterrent on terrorist groups to kidnap US or UK citizens. According to the Center for security studies, the “threat of military intervention without ransom payments appears to be a disincentive for terrorists315. Nevertheless, rescuing operations are often considered as potential high-risk to both rescuers and hostages, with a particularly high rate of failure. One military intervention can also involve hostages from non-ransom paying states (UK and US) and ransom paying states (Switzerland, Italy) without general agreement. In 2014316, such a situation occurred when two hostages from different nationalities (US and South Africa) were killed in a unilateral US rescue operation. In this respect, rescue operations are considered inefficient and could affect unconcerned citizens as long as no common ground and common policy is found.

Far from openly defending the practice of paying ransoms, the concerned states (France, Spain, Switzerland, Israel.) publicly endorse the no concessions stance articulated in a G8 statement in 2013. The position of ransom payment may also come from public pressure. However, a no ransom policy can also be considered as a violation of the state’s duty to protect its civilians under international humanitarian law. For example, measures of comprehensive prohibition might violate the hostage rights to life and freedom from torture, as it is enshrined in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights317. What is notably put forward has to do with the lack of advantages and numerous associated risks with rescuing operations, conducted while alternative issues could be used. While ransoms payments generate revenue that can be used in upcoming kidnapping, it is not encouraged to generalize them.

In such a way, Kidnappings that result in ransom paid are considered as a proven incentive for terrorists to start new kidnappings. However, by contrast, the non-concessions approach is clearly not an efficient deterrent of kidnappings and may involve fatalities killed in rescue operations. In today's situation, states are too often delegating hostages’ situations to private actors and rescue companies. The private sector is lacking resources, and as we demonstrated, something should also be done to clarify the way states are negotiating. In its large-scale inquiry, the New York Times revealed in 2014 that.318

“Negotiators take a reported 10 percent of the ransom, creating an incentive on both sides of the Mediterranean to increase the overall payout, according to former hostages and senior counterterrorism officials”.

Companies such as Solace Global have now reinforced their influence to exist in as we demonstrated an uncontrolled system where the role played by state authorities remain uncertain everywhere. Unchecked, the information reported on negotiators has to be considered and potentially estimated as an advantage for terrorist groups.

The existence of such an uncontrolled market can be damaging and encourage additional kidnappings, turning into a large-scale market. The coordinated response of government actors seems to be more efficient and could mitigate the risk of involving the private sector in negotiations. In 2015, Japanese authorities managed a demand of $200 million for two hostages efficiently319. Japanese authorities called upon leaders of Jordan, Turkey, and Egypt to assist in negotiations. A hostage exchange attempt was then coordinated with Jordanian officials through the release of Sajida al Rishawi, a captured Iraqi militant320. Such measures also concern the fact a large part of UN countries does not have the military capacity to carry out unilateral rescue operations as practiced by US or Uk and would rather enact efficient multilateral negotiations system.

The multi-pronged process321 should continue and will probably keep maintained, notably due to the differences between the kidnappings mentioned. Despite measures imposed and limitation of ransoms, it is essential to remind that, no sanctions have yet been imposed against any country so far for a ransom payment. Additionally, restrictions policies have evolved, notably in the US, where federal policies allow collaboration between state and family members.

New measures have been taken over the last few years. In the 2010s, the kidnapping crisis incited groups of donors to demand that NGOs produce safety plans and hire advisers to deal with abductions while training staff. Travel limitations and ground implantation are also limited. Companies are notably limiting expatriation in states such as Iraq, Mali. For example, the French group CMA CGM322 does not allow any French employee to travel in Iraq.


The main point we mentioned in this report is how terrorist financing is intertwined with failed states and lack of territory control. In such a way, new efforts are required to prevent corruption, looting, and territory control. The Lack of state control is notably clear in some states with no future in sight in 2020. For instance, Somalia, where Al Shabab is now active right to the doors of Mogadishu, has an uncertain future considering the consistent group implantation.

Terrorist implantation is noted when states have limited control over their territory, like in the Central African Republic and Democratic Republic of Congo, where UN peacekeeping missions have to compensate for this lack of pervasive power. In Central Africa, even the number of prisons and prisoners is unknown, and the judicial system lacks effective means to prevent terrorist activity. In some African states, with cash-based economies, remittances systems and licensed money are not controlled. A lack of clarification in the list of terrorist groups is also regularly reported. In Mali, terrorism financing is also facilitated by the predominance of fiduciary money.

So far, UN member states have been unable to agree on a definition of terrorism. The absence of a clarified definition also allows some government to justify their prosecutions of political dissent as combatting terrorism. Hamas and Hezbollah, for example, are viewed as terrorist organizations by the West but operate openly in many Arab countries. This report was mainly focused on factual events and current terrorist activity. The term terrorism is clearly controversial, and we only studied integrated international groups considered as terrorism by Western countries, notably the US and EU members. Today, it is hard to identify clearly terrorist groups due to the evolving situation. In 2022, some political or rebel factions will be additionally considered as terrorist groups due to their current strategy and deliberate targeting of civilians.

As we have seen after 2018 in countries such as Mozambique, terrorist activity can spread quickly without restriction and is now integrated in all the aspects of war. Cooperation between terrorist groups, militias, and drug traffickers is unprecedented, and new unexpected alliances could potentially arise. We mentioned Iran in this report and new sanctions. We also demonstrated how Iranian forces gripped to their financial support to terrorist groups such as Hezbollah, even in times of contracting market. This report also demonstrated how terrorist groups could ally themselves with others, benefit from unexpected states supports and adapt themselves to tough and new situations. Terrorist groups are also less reluctant to get involved in once religiously banned trafficking such as drug, cigarettes, and are often acting on a small-scale basis, taking decisions without the control of leader groups. In Afghanistan, the new grip on drug trafficking imposed by the Taliban illustrates how jihadists can adapt themselves to trafficking opportunities. The links between terrorism financing and international trafficking ramped up and now include direct involvement of terrorism. Terrorist groups are no longer relying primarily on external donations, and their members often get embroiled in smuggling activities. For example, we mentioned Mokhtar Belmokhtar, former leader of AL Quaeda in the Islamist Maghreb. He was notably involved in an important cigarette smuggling between Africa and Europe before getting an important role in Al Qaeda. Kouachi brothers, responsible for Charlie Hebdo killing in 2015, were also part of a smuggling network and used their involvement as a way to finance their activities.

With the example of organ trafficking carried out by ISIS in Iraq and Syria, our report illustrated how far sources of terrorism funding could go. Despite the lack of sources on this subject, enough information was provided to confirm the existence of an elaborated organ trafficking involving ISIS. On different fronts, the Islamic State reached a new point, revolutionising terrorism financing opportunities. The group’strategy probably illustrated the existence of a new form of financing. It notably made clear to other terrorist actors the possibility of creating a califate, becoming since the new purpose of jihadists.

Limiting terrorist financing is a potential solution to prevent terrorist activities but, as recent unclassified documents from the time of the Islamic State in Iraq also demonstrated, recruitment was not always based on financing. Between 2005 and 2008, the average Islamic state foot soldier earned a wage of $41 a month, far lower than blue-collar Iraq jobs (bricklayer make $150 per month). The unclassified documents on terrorist groups laid bare the information regarding salaries, which are not clearly a motive on some occasions. Dealing with such a situation would require long-term investments on education, information, and prevention of terrorism spreading. What appears more fearful today in 2020 has to do with the use of media platforms by terrorist groups and terrorism spreading. Limiting the impact of such ideology is one purpose that will, on a longer basis, considerably hamper terrorism recruitment and donations opportunities. Almost 80 percent of aspiring foreign terrorists have downloaded extremist propaganda and promoted it online, meaning such content is now spreading everywhere. We also demonstrated how the use of Bitcoin and WhatsApp payments is now included in terrorist communication and financing strategy. Cyber terrorism is also impossible to fight without broad international cooperation as internet servers are often hosted abroad, states. Data protection laws are also hampering cooperation in this regard. Terrorists will continue to look for permanent donations with limited control on some applications (WhatsApp, PayPal). A collaboration with private companies to regulate, block, or remove content from the Internet could be necessary for countries with a lack of public means. Proposing a solution, one Central Asian NGO mentioned how it would be notably better to develop the skills and capabilities for local moderators to self-regulate internet contents on a local basis. Despite all the current efforts, uncertainty remains, and new terrorism clusters could potentially arise.

Afghanistan, despite progress mentioned and potential dwindling corruption, is clearly at the beginning of a new uncertain phase. In February, a new agreement was signed between Taliban representatives and US governments. The agreement calls for the removal of US and international coalition from Afghanistan in exchange for the promise that Taliban fighters will erase all the terrorist groups in the country (Wilayat Khorasan notably). Even though the Taliban have so far respected their promise not to target US troops, the agreement is premised on unfounded and unrealizable facts. It notably considers the presence of a reliable Afghan government with which to negotiate. Flawed and contentious 2019 elections led to a contested Afghan government and uncertainty at the top of the power. The situation created a stalemate with confusion regarding which party is in charge of power. With a stronger base, the Taliban will appear in better opposition to dictate their own terms.

The clear lack of conditions imposed on Taliban’s (only requiring that no attack targeting US and its allies be carried out which is happening for the moment) is also problematic and will not incite to keep up with the current state of law. The agreement also imposed a release of prisoners currently detained by the Afghan government despite Kabul was not part in the negotiation, meaning potential confusion can arise with a no respect of the agreement terms. Additionally, despite the fact that the group is presented as united, Taliban are actually composed of diverse militias operating in Afghanistan with a clear lack of coordination and internal competition for power. As we mentioned, when presenting battle for drug controls, local chiefs are defending their own interests. The terrorist activity could resume and concern intra-Taliban groups fighting, reminding a situation such as what happened in 1994 following the departure of Soviet troops.

On May 12th, one of the worst terrorist attacks in the history of the country happened, targeting maternity in Kabul and killing 18 civilians. This attack vindicated by Wilayat al Khorasan illustrates how terrorist presence in the area is ramping up. The Wilayat Khorasan, despite a limited territory control, remains an important threat and, in the absence of international military troops, will potentially quickly increase its ambition. Fears of mounting civil war following US withdrawal is also expected. Some estimate Afghanistan can become a new breeding ground for terrorism. The current situation in Syria and Northern Iraq is also under the threat of potential new waves of terrorist activity.

Terrorist financing is considered today as the key to durability for the groups mentioned in this report. For example, Al Shabab and ISIS have been recognized for their ability to pay their soldiers well and compete with military authorities. Al Shabab is, in Somalia considered as an alternative of the state authorities and provide opportunities for young people regarding the absence of local situation.

In this report, we demonstrated how terrorism financing is diverse and varying from each group, depending on the opportunities. This must be taken into account by the international community. In 2013, a report was launched that Ivory trade was potentially one important source of money323 for Al Shabab . Following this information-sharing, wildlife poaching was added by analysts as a terrorism financing method, and politicians such as Hillary Clinton communicated on generalizing this method of financing for terrorist groups. However, it must be taken into account, that, just like in the case of opium trafficking in Afghanistan, Ivory trade is only available to terrorist groups where elephants are available. This is the same with oil smuggling in the Middle East. In such a way, an improved mediatization and local focus on terrorist financings must be undertaken, with a comparison of potential diverse methods used between the groups. The solution to prevent any source of terrorist financing in 2020 is to make apparent this new diversity amongst similar threats.

According to Peter Neumann324, a professor of security studies in London, the fight against terrorism financing over previous years have been counterproductive. As we also mentioned in this report, the lack of inclusion of underdeveloped countries in the global financial system makes international efforts sometimes pointless. On a longer-term, more efficient border control is required, notably in Mali or Syria. But, additionally, the identification of potential threats and limitation of corruption is primordial for governments. The Covid-19 crisis will potentially directly impact the financing means of countries such as Kenya, Pakistan, affecting further their counter-terrorism capabilities. In such a context, raising fears now concern the “normalization” of terrorist groups” and their potential adaptation to our society.

In 2020, it has been 19 years since two planes struck the New York Twin Towers. Since this date, terrorism evolved, grew, then became a new norm and durable threat into our society. To eradicate it, a lot of international efforts remain…


This part provides numerous relevant extractions of primary source documents and focused on different subjects evocated in this report, always related to terrorism financing.

All of the documents mentioned can be found in their original form in the Combating Terrorism Center harmony Program website (by using references given)

Analysis of the State of ISI (2007)

Reference number: NMEC-2007-612449

Summary: This document is an excerpt from one paper written by an ISI member. The author is giving his personal opinions on how to fix a diversity of problems within the organization. He notably mentions the problem of foreign fighters and their diversity within the organization.

We need to identify the sources of income regardless if it was internal or external. Some of these sources of income are:

- Investments of agricultures and livestock which belong to the State (TC: Islamic State)
- Gains from the Apostates and infidels
- Taking control over some of the Apostate’s Areas
- Donations from merchants and donors
- The foreign support from the Central Command of the State (TC: Islamic State)
- The external projects to include manufactories and incomes from hospitals and others.

The first issue which our economy suffers from, in my opinion, is because of the noncentralization of some states’ economy. The non-centralization in the financing created some differences between divisions and states. On one hand, you found some detachments with $2000 of monthly spending, you will see others with only $300 of monthly spending and the reason for that is because some states do have different sources of financing. Some states receive about $5000 a month and it doesn’t need more than $2000 of spending; on the other hand you will see other states which need over $3000 of monthly spending but they receive only $2000 due to the overspending on military activities or for the martyr’s family’s allowances and the large number of the unemployed.

The second economical issue that I would like to mention is to relay on only one source of financing and having in the same time a bad management of financing. We have noticed that many of the groups like the Lebanese Allat Group and the Islamic Army in Iraq base their financing on some countries represented by some well known political or religious figures. These individuals are properly guided by the intelligence services of that country which finance these groups for malicious political reasons which usually end by infiltrating these fighting groups and imposing conditions and restrictions on their leaders leading to its destruction. Pay close attention to this issue and be aware of the proverb “Make your dog hungry and he will follow you” The third economical issue is bad economic management especially when there are many demands from the fighters for money from the Emirs and ignoring any efforts for selfsufficiency. Brothers start asking for many unnecessary things like soda beverages, clothes and many other things that the brother wouldn’t think about buying it if the money had to come from his pocket. In addition, these bargains are usually neglected and thrown here and there”

Report on the Needs of the Mujahidin in Somalia (1993)

Reference Number: AFGP-2002-800600

Summary: This extract contain some operational requirements for an al-Qa`ida camp in Luuq (in southern Somalia), including a request for money to pay for weapons and equipment. It illustrates

In the name of Allah the gracious and Merciful 19/2/1993

To: Ottman or Abu baqar

All the brothers arrived well and safe and we would like you to send us these necessary supplies and weapons for one thousand Mujahad (fighters) and they are as followed

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Transportation means:

5 cars land cruiser open from the back (Toyota brand)

Communication devises:

These devices will be used in long and short distances.

We need a sum of$ 100,000 to be used in recruitment and orientation.

We need a sum of $50,000 for administrative purposes and accomplishment of work

We hope that you send us all the requests and God will reward you Your brother

Financial report of the Border Sector number (1)

Reference Number: NMEC-2007-657988

Summary; This is report provided by Abu `Abdullah al-Ansar (ISI commander in Iraq) to document his expenses for suicide operations (US$52,790.00) while he was in charge of Border Sector 1 from 15 March 2006. We can see there the diversity of expenses (fuel, spare car , smugglers fees..)

3 - $(9805) Expenses to transport the brothers abroad and smugglers’ fees.
4 - $(2700) Salaries for brothers working in border sector (1).
5 - $(4000) Sent from Abu-‘Abdallah to Abu-Husayn, Amir of the border.
6 - $(1400) Sent from Abu-Husayn to Abu-Sarhan, in the form of an aid due to his poor financial condition.
7 - $(3217) Additional expense related to transportation and purchasing a card for a mobile phone and spare parts for the cars.
8 - $(1000) Equipping a house for brother Bilal, one of the Border Sector individuals, because he is wanted by the occupying Crusaders
9 - $(200) Machine gun accessories bought by Abu-Khalaf, who is now in jail.
10 - $200) Fees to open a gap across the border to smuggle the suicide brothers.
11 - $(768) Fuel.
12 - $(135) Expense to bring a family of a woman and 16 children from Syria.

Total amount: $(52,790).

Total expenses: $(53,525).

The money that brother Abu-‘Abdallah spent beyond the total amount (amount above the amount of the suicide operations money) came from contributions of Muslim people in Iraq; he apologized for not giving exact numbers.

This is the financial report of the Border Sector number (1) under the control of brother Abu-‘Abdallah al-Ansari from 15 MAR 2006 until brother Muthanna took over on 16 SEPT 2006.

Letter Regarding Al-Qa`ida Strategy (unknown date)

Reference Number: SOCOM-2012-0000017-HT

Summary: Coming from the Abbottabad documents” , this letter includes a series of paragraphs whose author (probably Al-Qaeda High raking member) have not been identified. This letter discusses strategy of the groups, attacks against Muslim countries by terrorists and calls for attacks “only” targeting US interests” (even in African countries.

“The Muslim populations throughout the Muslim world will likely support the Mujahidin when they declare their intent about creating a new Caliphate-based state. The Muslim populations will see the Mujahidin as part of them. Some of the Muslim populations, however, may become subject to hostilities, due to their support for the Mujahidin. The worst part of those hostilities may include indiscriminate and persistent air strikes against their communities. Again, the Mujahidin must have all the requirements and suitable conditions in place before attempting to declare their intent about building a new Muslim state anywhere. The Mujahidin cannot begin a new war in a country just because they hope that the population in that country will support them. If the Mujahidin only rely on that hope, they will likely fail in that country.

This happened, for example, in Syria, Egypt, and Yemen. In Yemen, the communist group failed there, because when they declared their new state in South Yemen they had not sought the support or approval of the local Yemeni tribes and communities. The communists had all the necessary institutions to run a government. The communists had the military, security forces, and major financial institutions on their side. The communists even had the political as well as the economic support from West (headed by America), and from the Arab world (headed by Riyadh). One of the reasons the communists rushed into declaring a new state was because their leaders were being assassinated, and fast. Some of those assassinations were carried out by the Mujahidin. Another reason was that the communists were paying too much money to the President, to buy his support.

We must not get involved in conflicts, especially conflicts which may drag us in deeper. If a few of our brothers happen to get killed in a given place by a given opponent (may God have mercy on the souls of all of our brothers), we are not to rush in and declare an all-out war in that area. Again, the requirements and suitable conditions must be met before we get involved in any conflict and in any country :

To spread our ideas, especially important ideas on teaching fellow Muslims about Islam. People should understand what their religion says about the meaning of, for example, “there is no God, but one God.” This should be the backbone to all of our appeals to the public. People should learn about how to avoid falling victim in the hands of the unbelievers. People should learn about what other Muslim groups think, and how they had given in to apostate leaders. People should learn about some of other Muslims groups’ perspective on authority, which is in contradiction to the Islamic codes, as well as to the scholars’ views on judgeship-and-jurisdiction (Hakimaya).You should exercise caution, and calmly approach the public. You do not want to turn people off, especially people who may already think highly of other Muslim groups. We need to build wide public support, and as much as possible. What we want is to resurrect a state which rules with the Almighty God’s codes. You know how important it is to have public support if we are to accomplish this goal. There has to be a wider and greater call for public support. For the most part, the call should be directed at people who appear to be far more accepting of our ideas. We should not just seek the support of people who live in difficult terrains, which would be hard on the enemy to penetrate, but other areas as well. You may want to find someone who enjoys doing call-to-Islam work (Da’wa). Ask this person to help you reach out to the public. You should use books, video, and audio material, and as needed, publish them in different languages, so you could reach all the populations of the countries in your region. The written material must be clear and in concise language, so the public can understand it. We must pay close attention to the Da’wa work, which is to explain to people the need to understand the Unity of God and other Muslim concepts. This, for now, is our strategy for the area. Our work must focus on the long-term objective. A quick work might be fruitful in the short run, but it is not what we need to do. The outcome of any work must be viewed within the overall long-term plan. That plan is to create a Muslim state.So, the Da’wa work is a start toward that end, God willing.

For every country where the materials are to be disseminated, you should pay close attention to the overall public taste and opinions. The considerations to public taste and opinion must be weighed within the Islamic Law, however. The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, had done the same thing. The Prophet said, “If it was not for the fact that your people have just emerged from the age of ignorance, I would have renovated the Ka’aba, and gave it two doors.” (Narrated by al-Tarmathi). All public announcements must be carefully evaluated. When issuing a public announcement, ask the question of what sort of positive or negative impact this announcement will generate for us? Being careful and considerate in our public announcements will also widen our appeal and boost our image among the Muslim populations. We want to ask the Muslim people to stop living in the shadow of the oppressive leaders. The brothers must understand that their job is to educate the public, but not to incite it to a general call to arms. As you know, the situation in the mountains, particularly now, cannot take in more people, especially in greater numbers. Having to bring in more people to the mountains, and now, will be a burden, rather than a help to the Mujahidin. So, those who sympathize with our views must be told that “we want what is best for you. Our most important message to you is to live a Muslim life, similar to the life which our most favorite generation had lived (the Prophet’s companion generation.) You must stay put, and if we need you, we will call on you. For now, you should call upon God to help us, God willing.”View the list of countries which had deployed troops to Afghanistan, to help the Americans there. Then, kidnap citizens of those countries, especially diplomats. The kidnapping of diplomats of a country is far more embarrassing to that country than the kidnapping of ordinary citizens. The pressure on that country to free its diplomats is far greater than to free ordinary citizens. The negotiation must be based on the demand: Withdraw your troops from Afghanistan, then we release the hostages. The intent is to leave America with as little support as possible, and, God willing, will push it to depart Afghanistan for good.

The announcements containing the terms of negotiations must be clear and concise, so that impartial and independent spectators judge for themselves. The announcements should also include the unjust acts which had been committed by those countries whose citizens are being held hostages, and that the hostages are servants of those countries. The announcements should also point out that a war is a joint responsibility, and that Muslims are not interested in harming anyone whose country was never involved in hostile activities against the Muslim people. Other public announcements on operations which involve targeting Western interests should point out the unjust acts of Western countries in Afghanistan, too. It is absolutely vital to study and analyze the Arab revolutions against the apostate governments in the region. The analysis should focus on the reasons behind the successes, as well as the failures of Arab revolutions. The majority of the revolutions that had succeeded in the area were secular. The secular revolutions succeeded because they had, for the most part, the support of the military. In any country, the military is considered to be a power breaker. The secular revolutions crept out of the military, then turned the military power to their advantage. The Islamic revolutions, on the other hand, mostly failed, because they had far fewer resources than their opponents. The Muslim Brotherhood in Sudan, for example, had the support of the army, and it was able to topple the government in a quo d’état. It soon became apparent, however, that only the army personnel had taken charge of the country, but not the Muslim Brotherhood. Other examples of failed Islamic revolutions include the attempt made by Shaykh Marwan Hadid, may God have mercy on his soul, to topple the Syrian regime. Hadid began his jihad life when he went to Jordan to train at one of the Palestinian Fida’in’s camps. Hadid wanted to use his training to fight a jihad war against the Jews in Palestine. During his training, the September Event took place and the ruler of Jordan attacked the Fida’in camps, then killed a big number of them. The majority of the Fida’in left Jordan after most of their training camps had been destroyed. Hadid, may God have mercy on his soul, decided to go back to Syria. Whatever military experience Hadid had learned in Jordan made him feel confident about himself. Hadid wanted to use his training to do something for his religion. Hadid decided that he could no longer live under the Syrian apostate regime. His little experience and his age did not help him make the right decision, however. Hadid was able to recruit a number of people, so he could begin his work against the Syrian regime. Hadid did not want to wait for the right time. Also, Hadid did not have the essential resources to topple the regime. A few more people joined his group, and among them were members from the Muslim Brotherhood. The Hadid group was able to assassinate a number of Syrian officials. When the Muslim Brotherhood leadership found out that some of its members had been involved with Hadid, they decided to terminate their membership.As Hadid succeeded in launching more operations against the regime, the fear factor among his followers began to dissipate.Even the Muslim Brotherhood started to take Hadid seriously, and it thought of ways to turn his work into its advantage. TheBrotherhood felt that it, too, could help topple the Syrian regime. The Syrian government, on the other hand, saw this as an opportunity to demolish the Muslim Brotherhood, and forever. That was what one of the Syrian officials said at the time.Indeed, the Syrian government began a national campaign to demolish the Brotherhood. The Syrian regime treated the Brotherhood as if it was the one who assassinated its officials. The regime knew though that it was not the case. The regime also knew that the Brotherhood members who had joined Hadid had been terminated by the Brotherhood’s leadership.The conflict then entered a new phase. The Brotherhood became serious, and it called for the removal of the regime, and to create an Islamic government. The Brotherhood never bothered to calculate, however, what it needed to accomplish all of that. The Brotherhood had not been realistic about its own resources,and capabilities, in comparison to what the opponent Syrian regime had. Even by looking at the number of people the Brotherhood had compared to what the Syrian regime had, there was a huge difference between the two. The Almighty God says, “O Apostle! Rouse the Believers to the fight. If there are twenty amongst you, patient and persevering, they will vanquish two hundred: if a hundred, they will vanquish a thousand of the Unbelievers: for these are a people without understanding. For the present, God hath lightened your (task), for He knoweth that there is a weak spot in you: But (even so), if there are a hundred of you, patient and persevering, they will vanquish two hundred, and if a thousand, they will vanquish two thousand, with the leave of God. for God is with those who patiently persevere.” (65-66, al-Infal.)

The Brotherhood’s calculations were unrealistic. The Brotherhood even thought that after it was able to topple the regime, it would take on Israel. Also, the Brotherhood did not have enough personnel who had the expertise or prudence to lead their military operations.The Brotherhood went to war and it lost big. The Syrian regime used missile launchers to destroy the Brotherhood’s threshold in Hama. The regime killed about twenty thousand people in Hama alone. Many people were arrested, including women and children. The regime had also used all sorts of torture methods against the Brotherhood. There is no might, nor power, except with God. After that awful experience, many members of the Brotherhood went into shock, and jihad became their last resort. Many thought that they had to make the best of it while living under the regime. The Brotherhood in Syria had lost an entire generation, which it could have wisely deployed for jihad work under better conditions and times. After the Hama experience, the Jihad work had totally stopped, and for twenty years. With the birth of a new generation, which had not lived that awful experience ofHama, a new light of hope emerged. We saw that most of the Syrians who joined the Mujahidin in Afghanistan and Iraq were young. Most of them had not experienced the Hama shock. Other older Syrians, who probably wanted to join the Mujahidin, could not do it because the Hama experience was still on their minds, even thirty years later. One cannot ask people to bear more than what they can handle. Otherwise, the results might be devastating, and more people would fear going to jihad. A Muslim movement, in particular, should not ask people to bear more than what they can handle, especially in areas where the movement is anticipated to be met with unrestrained violence from its opponents, just like what happened in Hama. Any movement must keep this in mind, either during the process of building a new Islamic state or afterwards.The failure of the Brotherhood in Syria was not surprising, and that was the view of many experts. For example, experts like Shaykh Abid al-Aziz Ali Abi Usama. Usama thought that the Brotherhood would fail to topple the regime. The Brotherhood, on the other hand, was in a dream world. The Brotherhood thought it could build a Muslim state which would become a model in the Fertile Crescent region.

There was also the Libyan experience. The brothers in Libya failed because, firstly, they did not listen to any of the advice they were offered. The al-Qa’ida advised them to wait, so did the Jihad Group and the Islamic Group. All the brothers advised the Libyan Mujahidin that they did not have the basic resources to topple the Libyan regime. Not to mention, the timing did not add up.As you know, jihad is a duty, but it does not require Muslims to launch jihad battles everywhere and anytime. Also, jihad does not require Muslims to fight in areas where the conditions are obviously not in their favor. Jihad is a means by which the sustainability of the religion is ensured. Jihad can be put aside as an option, due to lack of resources. Muslims, however, must continue to accumulate necessary resources until the conditions for jihad are improved. The Shaykh of Islam -- Ibn Taymayah -- may God have mercy on his soul, agreed with the above view on jihad. Ibn Taymayah wrote, “... that is so, if the jihad experts agree that the conditions for jihad had not been met. Experts often analyze the jihad variables against these conditions, then draw conclusion to whether the outcome is positive or negative.”The excessive enthusiasm among the Libyan brothers about  creating a Muslim state in Libya made them lose focus. Then, the Libyan brothers suffered tremendously as they entered into a conflict with the Libyan regime. Thousands of our Libyan brothers went to jail. Many of them were tortured and persecuted. May God grant our Libyan brothers a speedy release from prison. There was also the Libyan experience. The brothers in Libya failed because, firstly, they did not listen to any of the advice they were offered. The al-Qa’ida advised them to wait, so did the Jihad Group and the Islamic Group. All the brothers advised the Libyan Mujahidin that they did not have the basic resources to topple the Libyan regime. Not to mention, the timing did not add up.As you know, jihad is a duty, but it does not require Muslims to launch jihad battles everywhere and anytime. Also, jihad does not require Muslims to fight in areas where the conditions are obviously not in their favor. Jihad is a means by which the sustainability of the religion is ensured. Jihad can be put aside as an option, due to lack of resources. Muslims, however, must continue to accumulate necessary resources until the conditions for jihad are improved. The Shaykh of Islam -- Ibn Taymayah -- may God have mercy on his soul, agreed with the above view on jihad. Ibn Taymayah wrote, “... that is so, if the jihad experts agree that the conditions for jihad had not been met. Experts often analyze the jihad variables against these conditions, then draw conclusion to whether the outcome is positive or negative.”The excessive enthusiasm among the Libyan brothers about  creating a Muslim state in Libya made them lose focus. Then, the Libyan brothers suffered tremendously as they entered into a conflict with the Libyan regime. Thousands of our Libyan brothers went to jail. Many of them were tortured and persecuted. May God grant our Libyan brothers a speedy release from prison.”

Letter from UBL to `Atiyatullah Al-Libi 4 (2010)

Reference Number: SOCOM-2012-0000019

Summary: Those series of extracts directly come from a long letter sent by Usama Bin Laden to Shaik Muhammad, newly designed Al-Qaeda financial commissioner in 2010 . Already mentioned in this book, it evocates the “mistakes” made by terrorist groups . Bin Laden notably give details about a new phase in terrorism strategy, necessary to regain the trust of Muslims worldwide. The letter directs Atiya to prepare a memorandum aimed to centralize Al-Qaeda efforts. According to US intelligence, the projects mentioned in this letter were never finalized regarding Bin Laden’s death 9 months later. It is still considered as one of the most relevant document seized in Abbottabad by US forces. The letter notably sheds a light on Bin Laden’s personal motivations after 9/11 and its personal disagreements with practices by Al-Qaeda affiliated groups in Muslim countries.

“Dear Brother Shaykh Mahmud, God protect him, Peace be with you, and God's mercy and blessings.

I hope this letter finds you, your family and all the brothers well and in good health, and closest and most obedient to God Almighty. I wish to inform you that you have been appointed successor to the departed Shaykh Sa'id for a period of two years from the date on which you receive this letter. I ask Almighty God to help you carry out this responsibility well, and augment your success, forbearance, piety and good character which if the leader possesses, his followers will benefit all the more so.”

“As you well know, the best people are the ones most agreed on by the people, and the key attributes that bring people together and preserve their staying behind their leader are his kindness, forgiveness, sense of fairness, patience, and good rapport with him, as well as showing care for them and not tax them beyond their ability. What must always be in the forefront of our minds is: managing people at such times calls for even greater wisdom, kindness, forgiveness, patience and deliberation, and is a complex task by most any measure”

“But, to begin again talking about Jihad activities: We are now in a new phase of assessing Jihad activities and developing them beyond what they were in the past in two areas, military activity and media releases. Our work in these two areas is broad and sweeping, encompassing the headquarters and regional areas. I put before you some ideas in my mind that time has enabled me to, so we can brainstorm and improve on them, in addition to a document that was attached to your message under the name "attachment for Shaykh Mahmud," which contained some of what I had sent to Shaykh Sa'id, God rest his soul, about this new stage. Regarding military activities:The conditions that grew more serious after the attacks on New York and Washington and the Crusader campaign against Afghanistan filled Muslims with sympathy toward their fellow Mujahidin, as it became patently clear that the Mujahidin are the vanguard and standard-bearers of the Islamic community in fighting the Crusader-Zionist alliance that has caused the people to endure various forms of pain and degradation. One indication of that is the wide-scale spread of Jihadist ideology, especially on the Internet, and the tremendous number of young people who frequent the Jihadist websites—a major achievement for Jihad, through the grace of God, despite our enemies and their efforts.On the other hand, after the war expanded and the Mujahidin spread out into many regions, some of the brothers became totally absorbed in fighting our local enemies, and more mistakes have been made due to miscalculations by the brothers planning the operations or something that arises before it is carried out, in addition to some who have expanded the "barricade argument" (TN: on whether it is acceptable to kill Muslims being used as human shields by the enemy) which has resulted in the killing of Muslims (we ask God to have mercy on them and forgive them, and compensate their families). I reckon that the barricade argument was been debated centuries ago amid circumstances different from those of today, and it needs to be revisited based on the modern-day context and clear boundaries established for all the brothers, so that no Muslims fall victim except when it is absolutely essential. Amongst the mistakes made were the killing of some, the Muslims did not understand the justification behind allowing their killing.

“As you may know, one of the principles of Shari'ah is to bring in the interests and repulse evil. This is what the Messenger of Allah, Peace and Prayers be upon him had done with the head of hypocrisy 'Abdallah Bin Abi; not to underestimate the fact that these issues, amongst others, led to the loss of the Muslims sympathetic approach towards the Mujahidin. What also led to the loss of the Mujahidin was exploitation of the foes to several of their mistakes and tainting their picture before the crowds of the nation; the purpose was to split them from their popular bases, and needless to say that this issue involving the loss of the nation's audience paralyzed the Jihadist movements. Here is an important issue that we should pay attention to; carrying out several attacks without exercising caution, which impacted the sympathy of the nation's crowds towards the Mujahidin. It would lead us to winning several battles while losing the war at the end. It requires an accurate criteria for the ramifications of any attack prior to carrying it out; also weighing the advantages and disadvantages, to then determine what would be the most likely to carry out.”

“The other aspect involves the impact on the nation's impression  towards the Mujahidin and being sympathetic towards them. The operations that bear extreme negative impact on the partisans of the Jihad include targeting the apostates in mosques or nearby –such as the assassination attempt of Dustum during the holiday worship location, and the assassination of General Muhammad Yusuf in one of the Pakistani mosques. It is extremely sad for an individual to fall into the same mistake more than once.  I would also like to seek your advice on an opinion as follows:whatever exceeds our capability or what we are unable to disburse on attacks inside America, as well as on the Jihad in  open fronts, would be disbursed targeting American interests in non-Islamic countries first, such as South Korea. We shall avoid  carrying out attacks in Islamic countries except for the countries that fell under invasion and direct occupation.”

“There are two major reasons to avoid carrying out attacks in  Islamic countries as follows: the first involves attacks amongst the Muslims which would increase the possibility of victims amongst them; even though the brothers were previously warned not to expand the shield issue (TN: possibly killing Muslims who are being used as human shields by the enemy), that was not made clear to them. The operational fact continues to expand in terms of the shield. Page 6 Firstly, it holds us responsible before Allah, praise and glory be to him, while in reality it holds us responsible for the losses and damages in the call to Jihad.The second reason is the extremely great damage that impacts the brothers in the region where the work begins, following the alert of the state against the youths who are engaged in the Jihad work or even the preaching work. Tens of thousands are being arrested, similar to what happened in Egypt, and the arrest of thousands such as in the country of the two holy sanctuaries. The fact requires that we maintain the attrition of the head of disbelief and the life artery of these apostate organizations on open fronts without bearing additional losses on the Jihad; by that, eliminating the ruler's despotism with these large numbers of devoted youths and Muslim prisoners. When the global disbelief reaches the level of attrition, it would lead to its collapse; we would then engage in a conflict with the rulers, after they have been weakened following its weakness. We would then find the brothers there with their entire strength and energy. Some of the disadvantages in carrying out attacks against the Americans in Islamic countries, where the components for success had not been prepared and the removal of the ruler is in an effort for the Americans not to accuse it of failing, the regime shall have a huge reaction towards the Mujahidin; this would lead to defending themselves and avenging the regime. The brothers and the regime would then engage in a war which we did not begin against it, because the power of the brothers is notready for it, as such it would be one result. The disadvantages in engaging as previously mentioned would change the general line – meaning to avoid wasting our energy with these regimes at this stage; that, in addition to losing the sympathy of the Muslims towards us.“

“This is when we lose the perception of the Muslims towards us, which is that we are the ones defending the Muslims and fighting their biggest enemy, the Crusader Zionist alliance - without killing those that the general public consider Muslims. So, if we fight the rulers while being in this situation, and we do not respond other than with direct defense during their offense against us, and this issue is being repeated several times, it would appear that we are wronged and the rulers are the tyrants; it would increase the hatred of the people towards them and make them feel that the rulers did not defend our brothers in Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan. They were not content with that, but they fought the Mujahidin that defend our people there.”

“What aids the success of our fight against the Americans in non-  Islamic countries and reducing its cost, is for limited groups, distanced from the Muslim and devout circles, to launch from countries with the Mujahidin presence without announcing their launching location; this is to avoid the reaction against the Mujahidin in that country. Given the potential for the foes to reveal that issue, it would be better for the training to be carried out and launched from the open fronts where naturally  the foes would be exerting their utmost efforts.”

“The overflow of the work (TN: meaning attacks) outside of America and the work in non-Islamic countries could be spent in targeting the U.S. interests in the Islamic countries where we have no bases or partisans or Jihadist Islamic groups that could be threatened by danger. The Islamic groups there would express their stance against us and renounce us – a fact that would prevent the regime from retaliating against them following our attacks. The condition is to be extremely cautious and take necessary measures to avoid misleading the Muslims in these operations.

Based upon the aforementioned: I request that you prepare a memorandum that would include general guidelines on how the Mujahidin publications should be; focus on the basics and the Shari'ah literature (TN: rules) such as violation of the Muslim blood and their honor, as well as the importance in committing to the Hadith of the messenger of Allah, peace and prayers be upon him (not he who believes in stabbing, in blasphemy, the obscene, and the disgusting) as narrated by al-Bukhari. Once the memorandum is prepared, we shall discuss it and send it to all the regions, along with sending the general policy in the military work. We shall then inform you of the committee that we are in the process of forming (I sent its formation to Shaykh Sa'id –May God have mercy on him); that committee will have the privilege of reviewing and postponing any publications assessed to be outside the general policy that we sought to keep in conformity with the Shari'ah teachings and which, God willing, would achieve the interest of Islam and the Muslims.”

“We ask every emir in the regions to be extremely keen and focused on controlling the military work and not to expand the barricade, due to the several attacks carried out by the Mujahidin whereby several Muslims had fallen; we could have reached the target without injuring the Muslims with some effort and deliberation. Also the need to cancel other attacks due to the possible and unnecessary civilian casualties – for example, the attacks targeting several infidel Imams during their visits to public locations where most of the Muslims are located, as they should be targeted away from the Muslims.“

“In an effort to avoid such stances the international perception and the general policy should be present and clear in our minds; as such we would avoid being distracted or absorbed in its expansion at the expense of what is more of a priority and importance. The priorities in the preaching work are to clarify the meaning of the term al-Tawhid (TN: monotheism) and its requirements and to warn the people from falling in its contradictions; that, to include the instigation of the Jihad against the Crusader Zionist alliance. The priority in the military work is to focus and provide the lion's share for the head of international disbelief or to focus on the apostate and excessively talk about them which the people of the nation do not understand; consequently they would not react to it, as many of them would repel from it. This would make us the splinter in an environment that does not harbor the Jihadist movement, and does not provide us with support to pursue the Jihad and its continuity. I believe there is a need to look into publishing pictures of the apostates' killing those of the apostate organizations who deal with the Americans against the Muslims. Once the brothers in the regions are committed to the memorandum, it would be advisable for you and for Shaykh Abu Yahya to write some articles and provide advice to those working in the Jihad media in general to include the author partisans to the Mujahidin on the internet. Shaykh Yunis wrote to me about the importance of preparing a memorandum indicating our stance on the Takfir issue without the Shari'ah criteria. I wrote to him and told him I would send him what you had sent. I had attached it in the last letter, and asked him to follow up on sending his comments to you so you could write it in your style, in light of the fact that the foes know his true personality through the prisoners who also recognize his style when they peruse his articles on the internet.“

“With respect to the human error outside the human will, as it is repeated in wars, the need to apologize for these errors and be held responsible, as the aspects of the flaw would be explained. Perhaps some of those killed and who were killed mistakenly were amongst the immoral; there is no need to reveal their immorality while the people are wounded and the foes are keen in demonstrating our indifference about them. Should some of the brothers in the regions fail to carry out their duties in this respect, we should then assume the responsibility and apologize for what had happened. The need to confirm to all the Mujahidin brothers the importance of clarity, honesty, loyalty and promises and be cautious of the betrayal. The emirs in the regions would also be requested to task one of the qualified brothers with them, to follow up on the media section from all aspects as mentioned in the memorandum: from a Shari'ah standpoint - care for the general taste of the nation's crowds, so long as it does not conflict with the Shari'ah.The same brother would be requested to always seek the development of his aptitude and his knowledge in all arenas associated with his mission, such as: reading books on dealing with the people because he would be largely dealing with the brothers, reading books concerning the production. Page 11  The purpose is for the Mujahidin publications to be a good potential for the competition and to gain the crowds. The main goal is to spread awareness amongst the people of the nation, to rescue them from the aberration of the rulers. He, in turn, would seek to improve the aptitude of the brothers contributing in the media section; he would also provide advice in general for those issuing the statements, lectures, books, articles and those who comment on the Jihad films. He would be appointed as the Jihadist media individual in this region, characterized by objectivity and accepted by the people of the nation.“

“This brother would be in charge of the media as is the case in the regions –otherwise the position of the General Manager of the Media divisions would be updated in every region; no publications would be made unless he reviews them, to includethe leadership speeches. He would have the right to stop any publication that includes a term considered outside the general policy, whether in the context or timing. The subject would be reviewed with the individual who issued it, and he would be informed of its conflict with the general policy; as well as the dispersion of the nation's views from the larger Mujahidin goals, such as the case of Palestine, while appointing the foe to defame the reputation of the Mujahidin – therefore the fear of the Mujahidin during this phase is substantial with respect to their conduct and expressions. Some of the examples to this was when the general populace were in the peak of dealing with the Freedom Fleet heading towards Gaza to break the blockade and deliver the civil relief to our people there, and at the time when the Jews stopped it with an armed force and killed several of those in it, activating Turkey in this respect. The Freedom Fleet attack dominated the media in a very large way, as the western politicians were forced to discuss it; they criticized the Israelis for publishing on one of the websites a speech for the deputy of Abu Basir in Yemen, our brother Sa'id al-Shahri. What was shown in the media was his speech concerning the arrest of one of our sisters in the country of the two holy sanctuaries and the Mujahidin demanding to carry out kidnappings against the westerners, the princes of Al Sa'ud (TN: the Sa'ud family) and the senior security employees in exchange for her release. Following the issuance of this speech, al-Arabiyah Television channel exploited it widely and focused on it. It made it the number one piece in its news reports and hosted men and youth from the general populace on the streets as they had claimed.That to include (TN: the hosting of) several ill-informed scholars and state men – no doubt they accept each other, especially those who ignore their status amongst the people; the purpose was to discuss the tape, showing honesty and each mentioning individually that the Mujahidin are not interested in the Palestinian cause, and the blockade of our brothers in Gaza - rather that their concern is to fight, corrupt and argue with the security men and not with the usurper Jews.“

“No doubt, issuing this lecture was driven by jealousy of the blood and honor of the Muslims; however it was not in conformance with the events. The reason was because there were one and half million Muslims at that time under siege, and most of them were women and children. They have more than ten thousand prisoners with the Jews, many of whom are sisters and children in tragic circumstances. The issuance of this speech, especially at this time, conflicted with our policy of focusing on the bigger foe, and concealed our interest in the main issues that were the main reasons in initiating the Jihad. It announced to the people that we are in a fight and argument with the rulers to avenge our brothers, those that were killed and detained far from the cases and interests of the general nation, due to which it held our brothers responsible for the killing and imprisonment. It also gave the Muslims an impression of us that we were overcome by the region-like command or parties or both; they heard our brother talk about the sister from the Arab Peninsula and from al-Qa'ida organization, but they did not hear him talk about our sister in Palestine – this is contrary to our reality and our general policy, as it weakens our stance when we say that we are an international organization fighting for the liberation of Palestine and all of the Muslim countries to erect an Islamic caliphate that would rule according to the Shari'ah of Allah.

“This mistake was repeated, in a statement in which the brothers in Yemen adopted the big operation, the operation of 'Umar al-Faruq –May God release him when they said, it was a reaction to the U.S. bombing of al-Mahfad; linking this large operation with other than the Palestinian cause covers some of the stances that show the victory of the brothers in Yemen for the Palestinian cause. That, in addition to their absorption on a daily basis in the fight against the Yemeni government and the strong focus on the key figures of the Peninsula rulers in their lectures; it drew the people's attention, that the first and biggest foe of the Mujahidin in the Arab Peninsula are the rulers of Yemen and the country of the two holy sanctuaries. This was repeated in the comments of the brothers concerning the attack of our brother Humam al-Balawi, may God have mercy on him, when they mentioned it was a revenge for the murder of Mahsud, may God have mercy on him.“

“In an effort to avoid such stances the international perception and the general policy should be present and clear in our minds; as such we would avoid being distracted or absorbed in its expansion at the expense of what is more of a priority and importance. The priorities in the preaching work are to clarify the meaning of the term al-Tawhid (TN: monotheism) and its requirements and to warn the people from falling in its contradictions; that, to include the instigation of the Jihad against the Crusader Zionist alliance. The priority in the military work is to focus and provide the lion's share for the head of international disbelief or to focus on the apostate and excessively talk about them which the people of the nation do not understand; consequently they would not react to it, as many of them would repel from it. This would make us the splinter in an environment that does not harbor the Jihadist movement, and does not provide us with support to pursue the Jihad and its continuity. I believe there is a need to look into publishing pictures of the apostates' killing those of the apostate organizations who deal with the Americans against the Muslims.”


1 Hammer, Olav; Rothstein, Mikael, eds. (2012). “The Cambridge Companion to New Religious Movements. Cambridge University Press. p. 263

2 https://jamestown.org/program/al-qaedas-strategy-until-2020/

3 JACQUARD Rolland, In the Name of Osama Bin Laden: Global Terrorism and the Bin Laden Brotherhood, 2002

4 https://undocs.org/en/S/RES/2462(2019) UN resolution 2642, 2019

5 http://www.fatf-gafi.org/media/fatf/documents/reports/Financing-of-the-terrorist-organisation-ISIL.pdf FATF, Financing of the Terrorist Organization Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), 2015

6 https://www.9-11commission.gov/report/911Report.pdf “The 9/11 commission report”, 2005, Senate commission on 9/11

7 https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/terrorist-illicit-finance/Pages/protecting-charities_execorder_13224-a.aspx US Department of treasury, Protecting Charitable Organizations

8 https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/terrorist-illicit-finance/Pages/protecting-charities_execorder_13224-a.aspx US Department of treasury, Protecting Charitable Organizations

9 https://balquois124.tumblr.com/post/128836217964/hijrah-advice-part-7-security-measures

10 Dominic Casciani, "Syria Aid Convoys: Two Guilty over Terror Funding", BBC News, 23 December 2016 http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-38419488;

11 The Charity Commission, "Syria and Aid Convoys", News Release, 21 February 2014, https://www.gov.uk/government/news/syria-and-aid-convoys.

12 https://www.fatf-gafi.org/media/fatf/documents/reports/Emerging-Terrorist-Financing-Risks.pdf Emerging Terrorist Financing Risks, FATF, 2015

13 https://www.un.org/sc/ctc/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/2016-12-12-Session-III-1500-1630-Claudine-Lamond-AUSTRAC.pdf Regional risk assessment (RRA) on terrorism financing, AUSTRAC, 2016

14 suspected member of the World trade center 1993 bombings

15 https://www.newsweek.com/2014/11/14/how-does-isis-fund-its-reign-terror-282607.html How Does ISIS Fund Its Reign of Terror?, Newsweek, DI GIOVANNI Janine 2014,

16 https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/private-gulf-financing-syria-extremist-rebels-sectarian-conflict-dickinson.pdf Elizabeth Dickinson, Playing with Fire: Why Private Gulf Financing for Syria’s Extremist Rebels Risks Igniting Sectarian Conflict at Home, 2013

17 https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/2018ntfra_12182018.pdf National terrorist financing risk assessment, 2018

18 https://www.justice.gov/usao-edva/pr/two-women-found-guilty-providing-material-support-terrorists Two Women Found Guilty of Providing Material Support to Terrorists US attorney office in Virginia

19 Mapping the Boko Haram Nebulous,” Report Submitted to the Swiss Embassy in Abuja, November 2015

20 https://2009-2017.state.gov/j/ct/rls/crt/2015//index.htm Country Reports on Terrorism 2015, US Department of State

21 https://www.fatf-gafi.org/publications/methodsandtrends/documents/tf-west-africa.html Financial Action Task Force, Terrorism financing in West and Central Africa, 2015

22 The World According to Al Qaeda, Brad K. Berner, 2007

23 https://www.globalresearch.ca/interview-with-osama-bin-laden-denies-his-involvement-in-9-11/24697 September 2001 Interview with Osama bin Laden. Categorically Denies his Involvement in 9/11, Global research, 2015

24 Person in charge of the transaction

25 https://www.voanews.com/usa/terrorist-suspect-faisal-shahzad-admits-attempted-attack-ny

26 https://www.newsweek.com/underground-european-hawala-network-financing-middle-eastern-terror-groups-307984 Jack Moore, Hawala: The Ancient Banking Practice Used to Finance Terror Groups, Newsweek, 2015

27 https://www.bbc.com/news/world-46554097 BBC, How do the Talibans make money

28 https://www.9-11commission.gov/report/911Report.pdf Commission report 9/11

29 https://www.9-11commission.gov/report/911Report.pdf Commission report 9/11

30 https://www.fatf-gafi.org/media/fatf/documents/reports/TF-in-West-Africa.pdf Terrorism financing in West Africa, FATF, 2013

31 https://www.memri.org/cjlab/taliban-affiliated-telegram-account-solicits-donations-for-eid-al-adha Taliban-Affiliated Telegram Account Solicits Donations for Eid Al-Adha, MEMRI, 2016

32 https://permanent.access.gpo.gov/gpo67883/National_Terrorist_Financing_Risk_Assessment.pdf US National Terrorist Financing Risk Assessment 2015

33 Aggarwal Neik The Taliban’s Virtual Emirate

34 https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-05-26/taliban-says-ex-leader-often-visited-united-arab-emirates-iran Taliban Says Ex-Leader Often Visited United Arab Emirates, Iran, Bloomberg, 2015

35 https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/18/technology/terrorists-bitcoin.html Technology terrorist bitcoin, NY Times, 2019

36 https://www.coindesk.com/europol-bitcoin-european-cybercriminals Coin Desk Bitcoin May Become Sole Currency for EU Cybercriminals

37 https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-25322782 BBC, Extradited Briton Babar Ahmad admits terrorism offences

38 https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/isis_twitter_census_berger_morgan.pdf The ISIS Twitter Census Defining and describing the population of ISIS supporters on Twitter J.M. Berger and Jonathon Morga, Brooking Institute 2016

39 http://www.fatf-gafi.org/media/fatf/documents/reports/Emerging-Terrorist-Financing-Risks.pdf#page=33 FATF REPORT Emerging Terrorist Financing Risks October 2015

40 Mogadham p8 The New Global Insecurity: How Terrorism, Environmental Collapse, Economic Inequalities, and Resource Shortages Are Changing Our World

41 https://ctc.usma.edu/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/CTC-Sentinel_Vol10Iss41.pdf

42 https://www.thedailybeast.com/boko-harams-bin-laden-connection

43 https://www.crisisgroup.org/africa/west-africa/nigeria/275-returning-land-jihad-fate-women-associated-boko-haram Crisis Group, 20112, Returning land jihad

44 https://www.theguardian.com/world/2012/jan/27/boko-haram-nigeria-sharia-law Boko Haram vows to fight until Nigeria establishes sharia law , The Guardian, 2012

45 https://www.ctc.usma.edu/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/CTC_LtrsFromAbottabad_WEB_v2.pdf Counter terrorism center, Letters from Abottabad, 2012.

46 https://www.ctc.usma.edu/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/CTC_LtrsFromAbottabad_WEB_v2.pdf Counter terrorism center, Letters from Abottabad, 2012.

47 Former leader of AQIM

48 Former leader of AQAP

49 https://ctc.usma.edu/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/Letter-from-UBL-to-Atiyatullah-Al-Libi-4-Translation.pdf p 33

50 Craig Whitlock, ‘The New al-Qaeda Central,”

51 https://ctc.usma.edu/socom-2012-0000019/ SOCOM-2012-0000019 (Abbottabad document)

52 https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/352589-socom-2012-0000019-trans.html SOCOM-2012-0000019 (Abbottabad document)

53 SOCOM-2012-0000005, pp. 1-2.

54 Giustozzi Antonio, The Islamic State in Khorasan: Afghanistan, Pakistan and the New Central Asian Jihad, 2018

55 https://ctc.usma.edu/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/Allied-Lethal.pdf. Amira Jadoon, Islamic state khorasan’s network and organizational capacity in afghanistan and Pakistan, CTC, 2018

56 https://ctc.usma.edu/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/Allied-Lethal.pdf Amira Jadoon, Islamic state khorasan’s network and organizational capacity in afghanistan and Pakistan, CTC, 2018

57 https://publications.ffi.no/nb/item/asset/dspace:2469/14-02234.pdf

58 The financing of jihadi terrorist cells in Europe, OFTEDAL Emilie https://publications.ffi.no/nb/item/asset/dspace:2469/14-02234.pdf

59 https://www.bfmtv.com/police-justice/attentats-ce-que-les-terroristes-ont-dit-a-bfmtv_AN-201501090024.html Attentats: Ce que les terroristes ont dit à BFM TV, BFM TV, 2015

60 https://www.news18.com/news/india/headley-13-370584.html Meetu Jain, David Headley's NIA interrogation report, News 18

61 https://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/paris-terror-attacks/terror-shoestring-paris-attacks-likely-cost-10-000-or-less-n465711 NBC, Robert Windrem, Terror on a Shoestring: Paris Attacks Likely Cost $10,000 or Less

62 https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2007/jun/29/terrorism.uksecurity The Guardian, Two Cars Bombs found in London

63 https://publications.ffi.no/nb/item/asset/dspace:2469/14-02234.pdf The financing of jihadi terrorist cells in Europe, OFTEDAL Emilie

64 https://www.rand.org/blog/2019/10/baghdadis-death-will-make-global-affiliates-more-independent.html CLARKE Colin ,2019, Baghdadi's Death Will Make Global Affiliates More Independ ent, Foreign Policy

65 https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/failed-state Colins Dictionary

66 We mention the group’s activity in the part of the document dedicated to Al Qaeda’s central authority.

67 https://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/24/world/middleeast/islamic-state-controls-raqqa-syria.html

68 https://cat-int.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/ISIS-Financing-2015-Report.pdf ISIS Financing, 2015 CAT

69 https://www.cnbc.com/2015/11/17/the-key-isis-targets-allies-want-to-destroy.html The key ISIS targets allies want to destroy, CNBC, 20125

70 https://www.iraqoilreport.com/news/armed-intel-u-s-strikes-curtail-oil-sector-17473/ Iraq Oil report( information obtained following United States’ raid on Abu Sayyaf home,)

71 https://www.crisisgroup.org/middle-east-north-africa/eastern-mediterranean/syria/why-isis-gaining-ground-and-so-hard-beat Why ISIS Is Gaining Ground – and So Hard to Beat, 2014, Crisis Group

72 https://fortune.com/2017/01/20/oil-gas-isis-syria-assad/ Fortune, 2017, oil, gas , Syria and Assad.

73 https://www.cnbc.com/2015/11/17/the-key-isis-targets-allies-want-to-destroy.html The Key ISIS targets allies want to destroy, 2015, CNBC.

74 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Tidal_Wave_II Wikipédia, Opération Tidal Wave.

75 http://egyptoil-gas.com/features/the-growing-threat-to-iraqs-oil-industry/ The Growing threat to Iraq’s oil industry, ESSAM Salma, Egypt Oil and Gas

76 http://cat-int.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/White-Paper-IS-Funding_Final.pdf Islamic state: the economy-based Terrorist funding: Brisard Jean Charles, 2016

77 https://reliefweb.int/report/iraq/people-sacrificed-sanctions-against-iraq-report-caritas-europa

78 http://iraqieconomists.net/en/2014/07/13/isis-earning-1m-per-day-from-iraqi-oil-smuggling-by-by-mohammed-hussein-christine-van-den-toorn-patrick-osgood-and-ben-lando/

79 https://www.iraqoilreport.com/news/armed-intel-u-s-strikes-curtail-oil-sector-17473/ Iraq Oil report, US strikes curtail oil sector

80 https://www.lejournalinternational.fr/ISIS-Black-Gold_a3519.html

81 https://ig.ft.com/sites/2015/isis-oil/

82 https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2015/12/isil-sells-oil-buying-151206055403374.html AL Jazeera, 2013

83 https://www.ft.com/content/281b30fa-14ff-11e5-9509-00144feabdc0 Isis imposes fuel blockade on rebel-held northern Syria, FT, 2015

84 https://www.ft.com/content/281b30fa-14ff-11e5-9509-00144feabdc0 Isis imposes fuel blockade on rebel-held northern Syria, FT, 2015

85 https://cat-int.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/ISIS-Financing-2015-Report.pdf ISIS financing report, 2016, CAT

86 http://www.fatf-gafi.org/media/fatf/documents/reports/Financing-of-the-terrorist-organisation-ISIL.pdf Financing of the Terrorist Organization Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), FATF, 2015

87 https://www.ft.com/content/92f4e036-6b69-11e5-aca9-d87542bf8673 Syria’s ‘mafia-style’ gas deals with jihadis, Financial Times, 2015

88 https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2014/06/12/isis-just-stole-425-million-and-became-the-worlds-richest-terrorist-group/ Isis Just stole 425 million and became the world’s richest terrorist group, Washington Post, 2014

89 http://www.gdr-elsj.eu/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/Islamic-State.pdf ISLAMIC STATE: THE ECONOMY-BASED TERRORIST FUNDING by Jean-Charles Brisard and Damien Martinez

90 https://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/24/world/middleeast/islamic-state-controls-raqqa-syria.html Islamic State controls Raqqa, New York Times, 2014

91 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jizya Wikipedia, jizya

92 https://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/research_reports/RR3000/RR3046/RAND_RR3046.pdf Return and Expand, the financial prospects of Islamic State, Rand, 2016

93 Fauzia, Amelia. Faith and the State: A History of Islamic Philanthropy in Indonesia. BRILL. p. 78. Retrieved 11 September 2014.

94 https://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/research_reports/RR3000/RR3046/RAND_RR3046.pdf Return and Expand, the financial prospects of Islamic State, Rand, 2016

95 https://diyaruna.com/en_GB/articles/cnmi_di/features/2019/04/04/feature-01 Iraqi forces seek to sever ISIS revenue stream, Diyaruna, 2019

96 https://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/research_reports/RR3000/RR3046/RAND_RR3046.pdf Return and Expand, the financial prospects of Islamis State, Rand, 2016

97 https://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/research_reports/RR3000/RR3046/RAND_RR3046.pdf Return and Expand, the financial prospects of Islamic State, Rand, 2016

98 veil leaving only area around the eyes clear)

99 https://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-islamicstate-finances-idUSKCN0XP2CV Islamic State turns to selling fish, cars to offset oil losses: report, Reuters, 2016

100 https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/isis-treasure-haul-worth-20million-20748647 ISIS treasure haul worth £20million buried in Iraqi desert found by shepherds, Mirror, 2019

101 https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/retreating-isis-army-smuggled-a-fortune-in-cash-and-gold-out-of-iraq-and-syria/2018/12/21/95087ffc-054b-11e9-9122-82e98f91ee6f_story.html Retreating ISIS smuggled a fortune in cash and gold out of Syria, The Washington Post, 2018

102 https://www.un.org/sc/ctc/news/document/s-2019-407-second-report-special-adviser-head-united-nations-investigative-team-promote-accountability-crimes-committed-daesh-islamic-state-iraq-leva/ United Nations, UN investigate team promote accountability crimes committed by ISIS

103 https://www.irishmirror.ie/news/irish-news/crime/gardai-raid-isis-cash-gang-13894468 Gardai raid 'ISIS cash gang' after tipping off by bank in Dublin, Irish Mirror, 2019

104 https://home.treasury.gov/news/press-releases/sm526 Treasury Targets Iraq-based Money Services Business Supporting ISIS, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY, 2018

105 https://foreignpolicy.com/2018/01/16/isis-inc-islamic-state-iraq-syria/ Foreign Policy 2018 Islamic State in Iraq and Syria

106 https://foreignpolicy.com/2018/01/16/isis-inc-islamic-state-iraq-syria/ Foreign Policy 2018, Islamic State in Iraq and Syria

107 https://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/foreign-affairs-committee/news-parliament-2015/isil-financing-evidence-15-16/ Uk parliament, Interrupting ISIL's finance flow examined by Sub-committee

108 https://www.economist.com/middle-east-and-africa/2018/02/22/islamic-state-has-been-stashing-millions-of-dollars-in-iraq-and-abroad ISIS has been stashing millions of dollars in Iraq and abroad, The economist, 2018.

109 https://www.economist.com/middle-east-and-africa/2018/02/22/islamic-state-has-been-stashing-millions-of-dollars-in-iraq-and-abroad ISIS has been stashing millions of dollars in Iraq and abroad, The economist, 2018

110 https://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/28/world/asia/taliban-electricity-afghanistan-uzbekistan-kabul.html Taliban sabotage cuts major source of power, NY Times, 2016

111 https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-52537573 Coronavirus: The lure of mafia money during the crisis, BBC, 2020

112 https://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=S/2010/91 Letter dated 10 March 2010 from the Chairman of the Security Council Committee pursuant to resolutions 751 (1992) and 1907 (2009) concerning Somalia and Eritrea addressed to the President of the Security Council, UN Security Council, 2010

113 https://fas.org/programs/ssp/asmp/issueareas/manpads/S2011433.pdf Letter dated 18 July 2011 from the Chairman of the Security Council Committee pursuant to resolutions 751 (1992) and 1907 (2009) concerning Somalia and Eritrea addressed to the President of the Security Council

114 https://hiraalinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/AS-Finance-System.pdf Al Shabab Finance System, Hiraal Institute, 2018

115 https://hiraalinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/AS-Finance-System.pdf Al Shabab Finance System, Hiraal Institute, 2018

116 https://www.voanews.com/africa/somalia-businesses-face-taxation-militants Somali businesses face taxation, 2016, VOA

117 All those information regarding AL Shabab tax system have been reported from Hiraal Institute inquiry https://hiraalinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/AS-Finance-System.pdf Al Shabab Finance System, Hiraal Institute, 2018

118 https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/29/world/africa/somalia-attack-shabab.html Somali Terror Group Al Shabab Remains Resilient Despite Setbacks, NY Times, 2019

119 https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/africa/al-shabab-launch-lay-siege-to-downtown-mogadishu-hotel-killing-at-least-29/2019/03/01/a6fa69ce-3c0e-11e9-a2cd-307b06d0257b_story.html. Al Shabab launch lay siege to downtown Mogadishu hotel, 2019, The Washington Post

120 http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/66114/1/Kleven_Modern%20governments_2016.pdf Kleven, why can modern governments tax so much? An agency model of firms as fiscal intermediaries

121 The Struggle For Yemen And The Challenge of Al-Qaeda In The Arabian Peninsula: 2013 , Strategic Studies Institute

122 https://www.longwarjournal.org/images/al-qaida-papers-how-to-run-a-state.pdf Long War Journal AL Qaeda Paper, how to run a state

123 https://www.longwarjournal.org/images/al-qaida-papers-how-to-run-a-state.pdf Long War Journal, Al Qaeda Papers, how to run a state.

124 https://www.ctc.usma.edu/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/CTC-SENTINEL-8-912.pdf

125 https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/yemen/2015-10-28/how-al-qaeda-rules-yemen How AL Qaeda rules Yemen, Foreign Affairs, 2015

126 Steve Kiser, Financing Terror: An Analysis and Simulation to Affect Al Qaeda’s Financial Infrastructures, Santa Monica, Calif.: RAND Corporation, RGSD-185, 2005.

127 https://www.niqash.org/en/articles/politics/2915/blackmailing-the-government-in-mosul.htm Blackmailing the government in Mosul, Niqash, 2014

128 https://www.niqash.org/en/articles/politics/2915/blackmailing-the-government-in-mosul.htm Blackmailing the government in Mosul, Niqash, 2014

129 https://ctc.usma.edu/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/NMEC-2009-634823-2-Trans.pdf NMEC-2009-634823-2-

130 https://ctc.usma.edu/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/NMEC-2009-634823-2-Trans.pdf NMEC-2009-634823-2- NMEC-2009-634823-2-

131 https://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RR1192.html Foundations of the Islamic State Management, Money, and Terror in Iraq, 2005–2010

132 https://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RR1192.html Foundations of the Islamic State Management, Money, and Terror in Iraq, 2005–2010

133 https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7249/j.ctt1cd0kpz.14#metadata_info_tab_contents

134 https://www.ctc.usma.edu/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Analysis-of-the-State-of-ISI-Translation.pdf CTC, Analysis of the state of ISI, 2013

135 https://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/tg1726.aspx Remarks of Under Secretary David Cohen at Chatham House on "Kidnapping for Ransom: The Growing Terrorist Financing Challenge, 2012

136 https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-france-hostages/nigerian-islamists-got-3-15-million-to-free-french-hostages-document-idUKBRE93P0ZG20130426 Reuters, Nigerian Islamists got $3.15 million to free French hostages - document

137 https://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/30/world/africa/ransoming-citizens-europe-becomes-al-qaedas-patron.html Paying Ransoms, Europe Bankrolls Qaeda Terror, Callimachi Rukmini, 2014, New York Times

138 https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-nigeria-bokoharam-insight-idUSKBN0F636920140701 Reuters, Boko Haram insight 2015

139 https://www.aljazeera.com/features/2014/12/10/qa-eritreans-escape-to-torturous-sinai Q&A: Eritreans escape to torturous Sinai, AL Jazeera

140 http://www.nationalpolice.go.ke/2015-09-08-17-56-33/news/200-police-arrest-a-key-islamic-state-agent.html Police arrets an Islamic agent

141 https://www.reuters.com/article/us-europe-migrants-slave-special-report-idUSKCN10T137 Migrants slave report in Europe, Reuters, 2017

142 https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/fr/security/2014/12/islamic-state-financing-funding-human-trafficking-extortion.html#ixzz6QINOaiGS Islamic State reaps profits from organ trafficking, Al Monitor, 2014

143 https://apnews.com/86899ee286a14946b47b46b7414494a9/eu-libyas-cities-are-making-millions-people-smuggling

144 https://www.unodc.org/documents/treaties/UNTOC/Publications/TOC%20Convention/TOCebook-e.pdf p 43 UNITED NATIONS CONVENTION AGAINST TRANSNATIONAL ORGANIZED CRIME AND THE PROTOCOLS THERETO

145 https://www.undocs.org/S/RES/2331%20(2016) Resolution 2331 (2016) Adopted by the Security Council at its 7847th meeting, on 20 December 2016

146 https://www.securitycouncilreport.org/atf/cf/%7B65BFCF9B-6D27-4E9C-8CD3-CF6E4FF96FF9%7D/s_res_2106.pdf Resolution 2106 (2013) Adopted by the Security Council at its 6984th meeting, on 24 June 2013

147 https://www.securitycouncilreport.org/atf/cf/%7B65BFCF9B-6D27-4E9C-8CD3-CF6E4FF96FF9%7D/s_2015_203.pdf Conflict-related sexual violence Report of the Secretary-General, 2015

148 https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jul/25/slaves-of-isis-the-long-walk-of-the-yazidi-women Slaves of ISIS, the long walk of Yazidi women, The Guardian, 2017

149 https://www.un.org/sexualviolenceinconflict/wp-content/uploads/reports/sg-reports/SG-REPORT-2017-CRSV-SPREAD.pdf Report of the Secretary general on conflict related violence, 2018

150 https://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/womens-life/11342879/Nigerias-Boko-Haram-isnt-just-kidnapping-girls-its-enslaving-them.html Nigeria's Boko Haram isn't just kidnapping girls: it's enslaving them, The Telegraph, 2015

151 https://www.ohchr.org/FR/HRBodies/HRC/Pages/NewsDetail.aspx?NewsID=20113&LangID=F UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria: ISIS is committing genocide against the Yazidis, 2016

152 https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/1350506816633723 Sexual violence in Iraq: Challenges for transnational feminist politics, Nadge al Hali, EJWS

153 https://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/14/world/middleeast/isis-enshrines-a-theology-of-rape.html NY Times, ISIS enshrines a theology of rape, 2015

154 https://www.ohchr.org/Documents/HRBodies/HRCouncil/CoISyria/A_HRC_32_CRP.2_en.pdf “They came to destroy”: ISIS Crimes Against the Yazidis* June 2016, 32nd session

155 https://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/michael-w-chapman/isis-genocide-yazidis-girls-young-9-were-raped-were-pregnant-women CNS, ISIS genocide on Yazidis, Young girls raped.

156 http://www.aymennjawad.org/2016/09/archive-of-islamic-state-administrative-documents-2 Archive of Islamic State Administrative Documents (continued...again), Aymenn jawad blog.

157 https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/07/31/quivering-isil-suspects-face-investigations-court-mosul-atrocities/ ISIS suspects face investigations court in Mosul, The Telegraph, 2017

158 https://www.academia.edu/35299362/1_Book_Prostitution_Exploitation_Persecution_Repression_Fondation_Scelles_ENG-1.pdf

159 Invisible Slaves: The Victims and Perpetrators of Modern-Day Slavery by W. Kurt Haus

160 https://www.newstatesman.com/world/2016/05/price-life Sophie Mcbain, The price of life, the new statesman

161 https://www.newstatesman.com/world/2016/05/price-life Sophie Mcbain, The price of life, the new statesman

162 https://www.france24.com/en/20171203-half-yazidis-kidnapped-still-missing Half Yazidis kidnapped still missing, 2017, France 24

163 https://www.france24.com/en/20150624-iraq-sinjar-is-group-kidnappings-hostages-yazidis-ransoms

164 https://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=21629&LangID=E

165 https://www.cbsnews.com/news/isis-might-be-harvesting-organs-iraqi-diplomat-says/ ​ISIS might be harvesting organs, Iraqi diplomat says, CBS

166 https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-islamic-state-documents-idUSKBN0U805R20151225

167 https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-islamic-state-documents-idUSKBN0U805R20151225

168 https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/fr/security/2014/12/islamic-state-financing-funding-human-trafficking-extortion.html#ixzz6QINOaiGS Islamic State reaps profits from organ trafficking, 2014, AL Monitor

169 https://www.un.org/sg/en/content/sg/statement/2012-02-21/secretary-generals-remarks-security-council-impact-transnational Un content, Secretary generals remarks transnational impact.

170 https://www.un.org/press/en/2012/sgsm14118.doc.htm West Africa, Sahel Face ‘Toxic Brew’ of Crime, Drug Trafficking, Piracy, Terror; ‘We Must’ Do More to Keep Situation from Escalating, Says Secretary-General, UN press release 2012

171 https://www.ibtimes.com/fake-charities-drug-cartels-ransom-extortion-where-islamist-group-boko-haram-gets-its-1585743 Fake charities drug cartels, Ibtimes, 2016

172 Napoleoni Loretta, Merchants of Men, 2015

173 Al Mourabitoun is considered today as an affiliated group to AQMI, which merged with local jihadist groups and operating in North and Africa. They formed in 2017 the group Jama ‘at Nasr al-Islam wal Muslim in affiliated to Al Qaeda in Mali after its leaders wore allegiance to Ayman al Zawahiri.

174 https://www.crisisgroup.org/fr/africa/sahel/mali/267-narcotrafic-violence-et-politique-au-nord-du-mali Violence et politique au Nord du Mali, Crisis Group, 2018

175 https://www.crisisgroup.org/fr/africa/sahel/mali/267-narcotrafic-violence-et-politique-au-nord-du-mali Violence et politique au Nord du Mali, Crisis Group, 2018

176 https://www.crisisgroup.org/fr/africa/sahel/mali/267-narcotrafic-violence-et-politique-au-nord-du-mali Violence et politique au Nord du Mali, Crisis Group, 2018

177 https://www.fatf-gafi.org/media/fatf/documents/reports/Financial-flows-linked-to-production-and-trafficking-of-afghan-opiates.pdf FATF, 2009, Financial Flows linked to production and trafficking of Afghan opiates.

178 https://www.fatf-gafi.org/media/fatf/documents/reports/Financial-flows-linked-to-production-and-trafficking-of-afghan-opiates.pdf FATF, 2009, Financial Flows linked to production and trafficking of Afghan opiates.

179 https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/Programs/Documents/20121115_mnb.pdf

180 https://www.unodc.org/documents/islamicrepublicofiran/Afghan_Opiate_Threat_Assessment.pdf Afghan Opiate Threat Assessment, UNODC, 2011

181 https://www.unodc.org/documents/cropmonitoring/Afghanistan/Afghanistan_opium_survey_2018_socioeconomic_report.pdf Afghanistan opium survey 2018, UNODC, 2018

182 https://thediplomat.com/2016/10/how-opium-fuels-the-talibans-war-machine-in-afghanistan/ How opium fuels the Taliban’s war machine in Afghanistan, The Diplomat, 2016.

183 https://www.fatf-gafi.org/media/fatf/documents/reports/Financial-flows-linked-to-production-and-trafficking-of-afghan-opiates.pdf FATF, Financial flows linked to production and trafficking of afghan opiates, 2011

184 The Kurdistan Workers’ Party)

185 https://www.fatf-gafi.org/media/fatf/documents/reports/Financial-flows-linked-to-production-and-trafficking-of-afghan-opiates.pdf FATF, Financial flows linked to production and trafficking of afghan opiates, 2011

186 https://www.fatf-gafi.org/media/fatf/documents/reports/Financial-flows-linked-to-production-and-trafficking-of-afghan-opiates.pdf FATF, Financial flows linked to production and trafficking of afghan opiates, 2011

187 http://www.lse.ac.uk/globalGovernance/publications/workingPapers/WP022010.pdf Brahimi Ali, The Taliban’s Evolving Ideology, Working Paper, 2010

188 https://www.unodc.org/pdf/publications/report_2001-10-16_1.pdf UNODC 2001 report, Afghanistan opium’ trafficking

189 Graeme Smith, ‘What Kandahar’s Taliban Say’, in Giustozzi, Decoding the Taliban, p.201.

190 https://lowvelder.co.za/429211/isis-fighters-infiltrate-neighbouring-mozambique-part-1/ Isis fighters infiltrate neighboring Mozambique part 1, Lowvelder, 2018

191 https://mneguidelines.oecd.org/Assessment-of-the-supply-chains-of-gold-produced-in-Burkina-Faso-Mali-Niger.pdf Assessment of the supply chains of gold in Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger; OECD

192 https://mneguidelines.oecd.org/Assessment-of-the-supply-chains-of-gold-produced-in-Burkina-Faso-Mali-Niger.pdf Assessment of the supply chains of gold in Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger; OECD

193 Ansar Dine is a jihadist group founded by Iyad ag Ghaly in January 2012 in the Kidal region.

194 https://www.crisisgroup.org/africa/sahel/burkina-faso/282-reprendre-en-main-la-ruee-vers-lor-au-sahel-central Reprendre en main la ruée vers l’or au Sahel central, Crisis Group, 2019

195 https://www.crisisgroup.org/africa/sahel/burkina-faso/282-reprendre-en-main-la-ruee-vers-lor-au-sahel-central Reprendre en main la ruée vers l’or au Sahel central, Crisis Group, 2019

196 https://earthleagueinternational.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Report-Ivory-al-Shabaab-Oct2016.pdf Report Ivory Al Shabab, Earthleague international, 2016

197 https://globalinitiative.net/northern-mozambique-where-terror-capitalizes-on-corruption/ Haysom Simone, where terror capitalizes on corruption, 2018, Global Initiative

198 Davide Byman, deadly connections 2005

199 Wirsing, India, Pakistan, and the Kashmir Dispute, pp. 120 and 136; Chalk, ‘‘Pakistan’s Role in the Kashmir Insurgency

200 https://www.india.com/news/india/kandahar-hijack-revisit-the-story-of-five-terrorists-bringing-india-on-its-knees-trading-176-lives-for-3-terrorists-810146/ Revisit the story of five terrorists bringing India on its knees, India. Coma.

201 Storming the World Stage: The Story of Lashkar-e-Taiba Stephen Tankel

202 202 Storming the World Stage: The Story of Lashkar-e-Taiba, Stephen Tankel

203 https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/israeli-boy-survivor-of-mumbai-attacks-touched-by-heartwarming-message-from-pm-modi/articleshow/72379252.cms Israel boy of Mumbai attacks touched by heartwarming, Economic times, 2015

204 https://www.propublica.org/article/four-disturbing-questions-about-the-mumbai-terror-attack Four questions about the Mumbai terror attacks, Propublica

205 https://www.state.gov/reports/country-reports-on-terrorism-2016/ US Country reports on terrorism 2016, State department

206 https://www.jstor.org/stable/resrep17466#metadata_info_tab_contents Negar Fayazi, Iran: Is it really the leading state-sponsor of terrorism?

207 https://english.alarabiya.net/en/features/2016/06/25/In-first-Hezbollah-s-Nasrallah-confirms-all-financial-support-comes-from-Iran Nasrallah confirms all the financial support comes from Iran, al Arabiya

208 https://www.arabnews.com/node/1460706 Majid Rafizadeh, Hezbollah is a symptom, the Iranian regime is the disease, Arab News

209 https://www.cfr.org/backgrounder/what-hezbollah What is Hezbollah, CFR, 2017

210 – Faisal Jassim Mohammed al-Amiri al-Khalidi, Yisra Muhammad Ibrahim Bayumi, and Abu Bakr Muhammad Ghumayn

211 https://www.ctc.usma.edu/marriage-of-convenience-the-evolution-of-iran-and-al-qaidas-tactical-cooperation/ Marriage of Convenience: The Evolution of Iran and al-Qa`ida’s Tactical Cooperation, ASSAF MOGHADAM

212 SOCOM-2012-0000012 Abbottabad unclassified documents

213 https://www.arabnews.com/node/1496051 Majid Rafizadeh, Hezbollah is a symptom, the Iranian regime is the disease, Arab News

214 https://www.state.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/Country-Reports-on-Terrorism-2019-2.pdf

215 https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/syria/9400537/Exclusive-interview-why-I-defected-from-Bashar-al-Assads-regime-by-former-diplomat-Nawaf-Fares.html Exclusive interview with Nawaf Fares, Telegraph, 2012

216 https://www.files.ethz.ch/isn/45910/CTCForeignFighter.19.Dec07.pdf CTC AL Qaeda’s foreign fighters in Iraq

217 https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/30/us/politics/russian-bounties-afghanistan-intelligence.html Russian Bounty Suspicions Were Supported by Financial Data, NY Times, 2015

218 https://www.refworld.org/docid/3b00f20b8.html Security Council resolution 1070 1996

219 https://www.nytimes.com/1997/04/11/world/berlin-court-says-top-iran-leaders-ordered-killings.html Berlin court says top leaders ordered killings, NY Times, 1997

220 https://www.aljazeera.com/news/africa/2012/07/2012716164543714168.html

221 https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-48119109

222 https://www.reuters.com/article/us-iraq-security-soleimani-insight/inside-the-plot-by-irans-soleimani-to-attack-u-s-forces-in-iraq-idUSKBN1Z301Z

223 ‘Fighting Corruption to Improve Governance’, United Nation Development Program, 1999

224 https://www.globalcommissionondrugs.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/WACD_En_Report_WEB_051114.pdf NOT JUST IN TRANSIT Drugs, the State and Society in West Africa

225 https://www.ctc.usma.edu/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/NMEC-2010-186334-Trans.pdf Counter terrorism center, NMEC-2010-186334-Trans, 2010

226 https://www.ctc.usma.edu/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/NMEC-2010-186334-Trans.pdf Counter terrorism center, NMEC-2010-186334-Trans, 2010

227 https://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-gharawi-special-report/special-report-how-mosul-fell-an-iraqi-general-disputes-baghdads-story-idUSKCN0I30Z820141014 How Mosul fell, Reuters, 2016

228 https://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/24/world/middleeast/graft-hobbles-iraqs-military-in-fighting-isis.html Graft hobbles military in fighting, NY times, 2014

229 https://ti-defence.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/150217-Corruption-Lessons-from-the-international-mission-in-Afghanistan-1.pdf Corruptions, lessons from the international mission in Afghanistan, 2016, Transparency International

230 https://ti-defence.org/publications/corruption-lessons-from-the-international-mission-in-afghanistan/ Corruptions, lessons from the international mission in Afghanistan, 2016, Transparency International

231 https://ti-defence.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/150217-Corruption-Lessons-from-the-international-mission-in-Afghanistan-1.pdf Corruptions, lessons from the international mission in Afghanistan, 2016, Transparency International

232 https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2019/investigations/afghanistan-papers/afghanistan-war-corruption-government/ Afghanistan Papers, 2019, Washington Post

233 Afghanistan: Identifying and Addressing Wasteful U.S. Government Spending. Hearing US congress

234 https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-16851949 Why Taliban are so strong in Afghanistan, Sarwary Bilal, 2012 BBC

235 http://johnbraithwaite.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Br-J-Criminol-2013-Braithwaite-179-96.pdf John Brtaithwaite, CRIME AND WAR IN AFGHANISTAN, 2016

236 https://audit-public-disclosure.undp.org/view_audit_rpt_2.cfm?audit_id=1419 UNDP audit of UNDP Afghanistan program management, 2013, UNDP

237 https://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/07/opinion/billions-down-the-afghan-hole.html Billions down the Afghan Hole, 2012, NY Times

238 https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2019/investigations/afghanistan-papers/afghanistan-war-corruption-government/ Afghanistan Papers, 2019, Washington Post

239 https://www.sigar.mil/pdf/LessonsLearned/SIGAR-16-58-LL.pdf

240 https://www.brookings.edu/testimonies/afghanistans-terrorism-resurgence-al-qaida-isis-and-beyond/

241 https://www.u4.no/publications/somalia-overview-corruption-and-anticorruption

242 https://earthleagueinternational.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Report-Ivory-al-Shabaab-Oct2016.pdf AL Shabab in the ivory trade, Earth League International, 2016

243 https://www.brookings.edu/blog/order-from-chaos/2019/08/22/corruption-and-terrorism-the-case-of-kenya/ Corruption and terrorism, the case of Kenya, Brookings, 2019

244 https://www.economist.com/middle-east-and-africa/2015/11/23/the-kenyan-army-is-accused-of-running-a-sugar-smuggling-racket-with-somali-terrorists The Kenyan army is accused of running a sugar smuggling racket., The Economist, 2015

245 https://www.economist.com/middle-east-and-africa/2015/11/23/the-kenyan-army-is-accused-of-running-a-sugar-smuggling-racket-with-somali-terrorists The Kenyan army is accused of running a sugar smuggling racket., The Economist, 2015

246 https://www.businessdailyafrica.com/news/Corruption-hinders-war-terrorism-Kenya/539546-4030544-format-xhtml-869h1s/index.html Corruption hinders terrorism war in Kenya, Business daily Africa

247 https://globalinitiative.net/northern-mozambique-where-terror-capitalizes-on-corruption/ Where terror capitalizes on corruption, Global Initiative, 2

248 https://www.monde-diplomatique.fr/2019/12/PEROUSE_DE_MONTCLOS/61144 Marc Antoine Pétouse de Montclos Lutte contre le terrorisme, une aubaine pour les dirigeants nigérians, Le Monde Diplomatique, 2019

249 https://www.monde-diplomatique.fr/2019/12/PEROUSE_DE_MONTCLOS/61144 Marc Antoine Pétouse de Montclos Lutte contre le terrorisme, une aubaine pour les dirigeants nigérians, Le Monde Diplomatique, 2019

250 https://www.amnesty.org/en/press-releases/2014/08/nigeria-gruesome-footage-implicates-military-war-crimes/ Nigeria gruesome footage implicates military war crimes, Amnesty International 2014

251 https://www.voanews.com/africa/report-corruption-nigerian-military-benefits-boko-haram Corruption benefits Boko Haram, VOA News, 2017

252 https://tradingeconomics.com/iraq/corruption-rank

253 Serial No. 115-20: Afghanistan's Terrorist Resurgence: Al-Qaeda, ISIS, and Beyond, Hearing Before the Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, House of Representatives, One Hundred Fifteenth Congress, First Session, April 27, 2017

254 https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5728c7b18259b5e0087689a6/t/57ab2ed303596e7f82f9f3c6/1470836440542/141118+TI+DSP+Afghan+Report+ANON+small.pdf Transparency International, addressing corruption threats ion international interventions.

255 https://www.voanews.com/africa/report-corruption-nigerian-military-benefits-boko-haram Report Nigerian corruption benefits Boko Haram, VOA, 2015

256 https://edition.cnn.com/2018/02/12/africa/somalia-al-shabaab-foreign-aid-intl/index.html Somalia Foreign aid and Al Shabab, 2018, CNN

257 https://www.cnn.com/2018/02/12/africa/somalia-al-shabaab-foreign-aid-intl/index.html Somalia Foreign aid and Al Shabab, 2018, CNN

258 https://i.unu.edu/media/cpr.unu.edu/post/3895/HybridConflictSomaliaWeb.pdf UNU, Hybrid conflict in Somalia Vanda Felbab-Brown, 2020

259 https://i.unu.edu/media/cpr.unu.edu/post/3895/HybridConflictSomaliaWeb.pdf UNU, Hybrid Conflict in Somalia Hybrid conflict in Somalia Vanda Felbab-Brown, 2020

260 https://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/ispi_report_rebuilding_syria_2019_0.pdf REBUILDING SYRIA the Middle East’s Next Power Game, Valeria Talbot

261 https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2019/03/where-will-money-rebuild-syria-come/584935/ Where will money to rebuild Syria come, The Atlantic, 2019

262 https://www.stateoig.gov/reports/10671 OPERATION INHERENT RESOLVE report

263 https://www.crisisgroup.org/crisiswatch July 2020, Crisis Watch

264 https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/4868?r=4&s=1 H.R.4868 - Stop UN Support for Assad Act of 2019

265 https://www.state.gov/executive-order-13224/ US Executive order 13224

266 http://unscr.com/en/resolutions/1267 UN resolution 1267

267 https://www.un.org/sc/ctc/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/FTF-Report-1-3_English.pdf UN resolution 2178

268 https://www.un.org/sc/ctc/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Global-Implementation-Survey-1373_EN.pdf UN Resolution 1373, Global Implementation Survey, 2016

269 https://www.undocs.org/S/RES/2161%20(2014) Un resolution 2161, p6

270 http://www.fatf gafi.org/media/fatf/documents/recommendations/pdfs/FATF%20Recommendations%202012.pdf FATF 2019 report

271 Such issue includes that individuals providing money through the use of informal system (hawalas) should be licensed and respect all FATF recommendations.

272 Countries should require financial institutions to include meaningful information originator.

273 States should review nonprofit organizations financing and potential abuses of funds and cooperation with terrorism.

274 https://www.fatf-gafi.org/media/fatf/documents/recommendations/pdfs/FATF%20Recommendations%202012.pdf FATF 012 Recommendations

275 https://www.fatf-gafi.org/media/fatf/documents/reports/mer-fsrb/APG-Mutual-Evaluation-Report-Pakistan-October%202019.pdf Anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing measures Pakistan FATF

276 https://www.fatf gafi.org/media/fatf/documents/recommendations/pdfs/FATF%20Recommendations%202012.pdf p21 FATF 012 Recommendations

277 https://www.fatf-gafi.org/media/fatf/documents/reports/mer4/Mutual-Evaluation-Report-Turkey-2019.pdf Anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing measures Turkey FATF

278 http://www.fatf-gafi.org/media/fatf/documents/recommendations/pdfs/FATF%20Recommendations%202012.pdf FATF Recommendations, 2012

279 http://www.fatf-gafi.org/media/fatf/documents/reports/mer-fsrb/GIABA-Mutual-Evaluation-Mali-2019.pdf FATF Mutual evaluation, Mali, 2019

280 http://www.fatf-gafi.org/media/fatf/documents/reports/mer-fsrb/GIABA-Mutual-Evaluation-Mali-2019.pdf FATF Mutual evaluation, Mali, 2019

281 https://www.fatf-gafi.org/media/fatf/documents/reports/mer-fsrb/GIABA-Mutual-Evaluation-Mali-2019.pdf FATF Mutual evaluation, Mali, 2019

282 Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Center of Afghanistanhttp://www.fintraca.gov.af/

283 http://www.fintraca.gov.af/assets/Annual%20Report/FinTRACA_Annual%20Report_2019.pdf Fintraca annual report 2019

284 https://www.state.gov/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/INCSR-Vol-INCSR-Vol.-2-pdf.pdf International Narcotics Control Strategy Report US Department of State

285 https://www.interpol.int/en/News-and-Events/News/2018/Connecting-police-across-Africa-vital-for-global-security-says-INTERPOL-Chief Connecting police across Africa, Interpol, 2018

286 https://www.un.org/sc/ctc/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Global-Implementation-Survey-1373_EN.pdf UN Global Implementation Survey, 2016

287 https://www.un.org/sc/ctc/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/FTF-Report-1-3_English.pdf Implementation of Security Council resolution 2178 (2014) by States affected by foreign terrorist fighters

288 https://www.un.org/sc/ctc/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/FTF-Report-1-3_English.pdf Implementation of Security Council resolution 2178 (2014) by States affected by foreign terrorist fighters

289 Personal Identification Secure Comparison and Evaluation System

290 https://www.state.gov/reports/country-reports-on-terrorism-2019/ Country Reports on Terrorism 2019, US Bureau of counterterrorism

291 Small Arms Survey 2015: Weapons and the World (Holtom and Rigual)

292. Phil Stewart and Lesley Wroughton, “How Boko Haram is beating U.S. efforts to choke its financing,” Reuters, July 1, 2014. (http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-nigeria-bokoharaminsight-idUSKBN0F636920140701).

293 http://www.smallarmssurvey.org/fileadmin/docs/U-Reports/SAS-SANA-Report-Niger.pdf Small Arms Survey, Niger Report

294 http://www.smallarmssurvey.org/fileadmin/docs/U-Reports/SAS-SANA-Report-Niger.pdf Small Arms Survey, Niger Report,

295 https://www.dw.com/en/dozens-of-burundi-soldiers-killed-in-al-shabab-attack-in-somalia/a-18544428 Dozens of Burundi soldiers killed in Al Shabab attack in Somalia, DW

296 http://www.developmentchannel.org/2020/02/24/4-153/

297 https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-nigeria-bokoharam-insight-idUSKBN0F636920140701

298 Reuters, 2015, Boko Haram Insight

299 https://unidir.org/news/un-launches-new-project-address-link-between-terrorism-arms-and-crime UNIDIR, UN launches new project to address the links between terrorism arms and crime

300 http://www.poa-iss.org/RegionalOrganizations/ECOWAS/ECOWAS%20Convention%202006.pdf ecowars convention on small arms and light weapons, their Ammunition and other related materials

301 http://www.smallarmssurvey.org/fileadmin/docs/U-Reports/SAS-AU-Weapons-Compass.pdf

302 https://ungreatlakes.unmissions.org/regional-experts-consult-ways-curtail-illegal-trade-natural-resources-africa%E2%80%99s-great-lakes-region Un Great Lakes, Regional experts consult to find ways to curtail illegal trade

303 https://www.crisisgroup.org/africa/sahel/burkina-faso/282-reprendre-en-main-la-ruee-vers-lor-au-sahel-central Burkina Faso, repredre en main la ruée vers l’or au Sahel, Crisis Group, 2019

304 https://mneguidelines.oecd.org/Assessment-of-the-supply-chains-of-gold-produced-in-Burkina-Faso-Mali-Niger.pdf OECD, Assessment of the supply chains of gold produced in Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger.

305 https://mag.wcoomd.org/magazine/wco-news-86/burkina-faso-the-problem-of-gold-smuggling/ The problem of gold smuggling in Burkina Faso, Mag,

306 https://www.jeuneafrique.com/633825/politique/burkina-trois-employes-de-la-mine-dor-dinata-enleves-dans-le-nord-du-pays/ Trois employés de la mine d’or dinata enlevées au Burkina Faso, Jeune Afrique

307 https://media.africaportal.org/documents/PAC_El_Dorado_Jan_2016_EN.pdf

308 https://ungreatlakes.unmissions.org/regional-experts-consult-ways-curtail-illegal-trade-natural-resources-africa%E2%80%99s-great-lakes-region Un Great Lakes, Regional experts consult to find ways to curtail illegal trade

309 https://mneguidelines.oecd.org/Assessment-of-the-supply-chains-of-gold-produced-in-Burkina-Faso-Mali-Niger.pdf OECD, Gold at the crossroads Assessment of the supply chains of gold produced in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger

310 https://www.undocs.org/S/RES/2170%20(2014) UN resolution 2170, 2014

311 https://www.mediapart.fr/en/journal/international/080213/france-boosted-mali-islamists-ransom-cash?_locale=en&onglet=full France boosted Mali Islamists ransom cash, Media part, 2013

312 https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/540539/CTS_Bill_-_Factsheet_9_-_Kidnap_and_Ransom.pdf Counterterrorism and Security Bill, Terrorism act, 2000

313 https://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/30/world/africa/ransoming-citizens-europe-becomes-al-qaedas-patron.html Ransoming citizens, Europe becomes AL Qaeda’s patron, NY Times, 2014

314 https://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/16/us/for-hostages-family-us-policy-offered-no-hope.html For James Foley’s Family, U.S. Policy Offered No Hope, NY Times, 2014

315 https://www.files.ethz.ch/isn/170968/CSS-Analysis-141-EN.pdf Kidnapping for Ransom as a Source of Terrorism Funding, CSS, 2013

316 https://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/07/world/middleeast/hostage-luke-somers-is-killed-in-yemen-during-rescue-attempt-american-official-says.html Hostages killed in Yemen during rescue attempts by Americans, 2014, NY Times

317 https://treaties.un.org/doc/Treaties/1976/03/19760323%2006-17%20AM/Ch_IV_04.pdf INTERNATIONAL COVENANT ON CIVIL AND POLITICAL RIGHTS 1967

318 https://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/30/world/africa/ransoming-citizens-europe-becomes-al-qaedas-patron.html Ransoming citizens, Europe becomes AL Qaeda’s patron, NY Times, 2014

319 https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-31075769 Japan outraged at IS 'beheading' of hostage Kenji Goto, BBC, 2014

320 The attempt was finally unsuccessful.

321 See Tom Keatinge, The Price of Freedom: When Governments Pay Ransoms, FOREIGN AFFAIRS (Aug. 13, 2014), https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/europe/2014-08-13/ price-freedom.

322 Personal information

323 Gimme Some Sugar KEATINGE Tom, Foreign Affairs, December 2015 https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/2015-12-03/gimme-some-sugar

324 https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/2017-06-13/dont-follow-money Peter Neumann, Foreign Affairs, don’t follow money, 2017

110 of 110 pages


Terrorism financing post 9/11
Terrorism and territory control: A new form of power and finance
Sciences Po Toulouse
Master degree
Catalog Number
ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
My proposed topic has to do with Terrorism financing worldwide after 9/11; covering terrorist activity between 2001 and 2020. The document is providing a comprehensive review of diverse sources of terrorism financing over the last twenty years. It gets focused notably on ISIS and Al-Shabab activities. For this project, I carried out for two years a long and detailed analysis of hundreds of documents, varying from press articles to primary source documents (Abbottabad docs). In such a way, readers are provided with an important diversity of subjects.
terrorism, islamic state, syria, iraq, financing, hawala, 9/11
Quote paper
Sylvain Keller (Author), 2020, Terrorism financing post 9/11, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/962697


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