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Interrupting the money flow can paralyze terror groups.

Hitting Them Where it Hurts

October 2019, Zahl 09.04

“One of the key elements in the fight against terrorism is tackling the financing. Identifying and cutting off financial flows will reduce the capacity of terrorist groups to carry out attacks, increase their operating costs, and bring risk and uncertainty to their operations. In such circumstances, they will often take actions that expose their operations. Therefore, the fight against terrorism financing should be extensive and include every affected stakeholder in a society.

Money is a prerequisite for the realization of all terrorist activities and is often described as an “energy source” or a “bloodstream” of terror organizations. Funds are needed for the development of an organizational infrastructure, recruitment, propaganda, training, planning and for executing attacks. This explains the need for long term and stable sources of funding. Terrorist organizations often obtain funds by engaging in legal and illegal activities where they operate. The funding schemes can be short term and long term and are typically supported by international backers and by countries that sponsor terrorist organizations. Funds can be generated in areas the terrorists control, from internal and external sources and from legal and illegal activities...”

Excerpt from Ivica Simonovski, “Hitting Them Where It Hurts,” per Concordiam: Journal of European Security Defense Issues  9, No. 4, 2019: 24-31.

Ivica Simonovski, Ph.D., is an independent intelligence analyst in the Financial Intelligence Office for the Republic of North Macedonia. He received a master’s and Ph.D. in international politics from the St. Cyril and Methodius University in Skopje, North Macedonia. He has lectured at NATO’s Centre of Excellence Defence Against Terrorism in Ankara, Turkey, at the Academy of Banking and Information Technology in Skopje, and the Marshall Center. He is a 2015 graduate of the Marshall Center’s Program on Terrorism and Security Studies.

This article reflects the views of the author and are not necessarily the official policy of the United States, Germany, or any other governments.