Reuters / Stringer
RIA NOVOSTI – Oct 23, 2014
WASHINGTON, October 23 (RIA Novosti) – The United States will implement a strategic plan aimed to degrade the Islamic State’s (IS) financial strength, US Treasury Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David S. Cohen announced Thursday.
“Our strategy involves three mutually supportive elements. First, we [the US] are working to disrupt ISIL’s revenue streams in order to deny it money in the first place. Second, we aim to limit what ISIL can do with the funds it collects by restricting its access to the international financial system. And finally, we will continue to impose sanctions on ISIL’s senior leadership and financial facilitators to disrupt their ability to operate,” said Cohen at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace conference.
According to Cohen, the United States will cut off the Islamic State’s “revenue from oil sales, ransom payments, extortion and crime, and support from foreign donors” and make it “difficult for them to find a bank anywhere that will touch their money or process their transactions.”
Cohen reiterated that the United States would not change its policy on not paying ransom for those kidnapped by IS, as it “deprives terrorists of funding critical to their deadly aspirations and operations”.
The IS, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), has been fighting the Syrian government since 2012. In June 2014, the group extended its attacks to northern and western Iraq and declared an Islamic caliphate on the territories under its control. A US-led coalition is currently carrying out airstrikes against Islamic State positions in Syria and Iraq.