Shafaq News / A Delegation from the Kurdistan Regional Government headed to Berlin to attend a meeting to investigate ISIS financial sources.
Dr. Dindar Zebari, KRG Coordinator for International Advocacy and the KRG representative National Coordination Committee (NCC), stated that "after ISIS terrorists seized control of several parts of Iraq and Syria, the international community promplty responded by depleting and freezing ISIS's financial resources. In 2015, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 2199 to prevent the financing of ISIS and the Nusra Front in Iraq and Syria, in which case the efforts followed by a significant success".
Regarding the role of the regional government in this regard, Dindar Zebari said that "KRG has conducted substantial research since 2014 to identify the mainstream financial sources of ISIS. The terrorists kidnapped citizens, including Yezidis, members of the army and police, and asked for money from the families of the kidnapped through intermediaries, and they used the phones of the kidnapped to report and request the ransom. ISIS also used the phones obtained from the citizens they kidnapped and received the funds through exchange offices from inside and outside Iraq. ISIS deliberately laundered the money it was receiving and made financial transfers of this money to finance its armed operations and its sleeper cells throughout Iraq as well as neighboring countries."
Furthermore, ISIS terrorist activities overwhealmingly relied on financial inputs from oil smuggling, theft and sale of antiquities, extortion and embezzelment, the money they stole from the banks, kidnappings, human trafficking of the sex slaves, and imposition of zakat - a form of almsgiving in Islam. ISIS sold the antiquities that it seized, and was making huge fortunes from selling looted antiquities, ranging between 150 and 200 million dollars annually. About 100,000 cultural items of global importance, including 4500 archaeological sites under the control of ISIS in Syria and Iraq, were seized by ISIS or located in places under their temporary rule.
The KRG Coordinator for International Advocacy remarked that "the meeting will focus on the efforts of the KRG in this regard, as well as the mechanisms for exchanging information with the international community. We are continuing our coordination with UNITAD, especially in the process of archiving and documenting the crimes of ISIS, exhuming the mass graves, returning of the remains, and rescuing the kidnapped. The regional government is currently working on a project to investigate the use of mobile network information and to identify criminals through their mobile phones, which will greatly facilitate the specify of the channels through which ISIS received and transferred money through the exchange offices in Iraq and the neighboring countries."
KRG Coordinator, in his final remarks and with regards to ISIS's strategies to enhance its financial resources explained that "they had taken advantage of the Iraqi banking and financial system to strengthen their financial resources with the help of a number of individuals, companies and currency exchange offices in Iraq, which were assistive in receiving, storing and distributing the money on ISIS's sleeper and active cells across the areas it controlled."