If We Want To Stop ISIS, We Need To Cut Off Their Funding

If We Want To Stop ISIS, We Need To Cut Off Their Funding

In an Op-Ed in TIME, Paul presented a plan to combat ISIS – stop ISIS funding.

In the interest of ‘good politics’, America has too long turned a blind eye to a reality regarding terrorism – it is funded by people we call ‘allies’. To stop ISIS funding, we need to stop tolerating the actions of these people, institutions and governments.

As Paul notes, our current strategy “isn’t making us safer. The number of innocent victims of terror is up 4,000% since 9/11 despite the $1.7 trillion taxpayers have spent on counter-terrorism, including the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that claimed the lives of more than 6,800 American troops and 6,900 American contractors.”

These aren’t opinions. These are cold, hard facts. We haven’t failed to defeat ISIS because of any lack of will. The reality is, as long as they have international backers, they will be able to continue to wage their barbaric war of oppression and terror.

Paul concedes that airstrikes have greatly diminished ISIS funding in the form of oil sales. But to truly put them in a financial stranglehold, we must cut off all supplies of money. It is estimated that ISIS has some $2 billion in reserves at this point, making them the richest terrorist organization on the planet.

A lot of that money isn’t from oil, as Paul notes:

“A report from the world’s foremost international body on terrorist financing, the Financial Action Task Force, concludes that ISIS is using grassroots donations through the Internet and that foreign donor support will become more critical as other funding streams are stunted.”

“ISIS’s power has also been magnified by the massive arsenal of arms they’ve received from our so-called moderate allies in the Syrian and Iraqi armies. Hundreds of millions of dollars worth of military equipment paid for by American taxpayers are in ISIS’s hands.” (TIME)

That is a reality on the ground. Americans, I believe, understand the nuances of Middle East politics better than politicians give us credit for. We understand that foreign policy is often about choosing the least of several bad options, the lesser of evils, that serve our national interests. But there is only so far we can reasonably go in ignoring the bad actions of our supposed allies.

For Gulf nations, we’ve long overlooked the actions of repressive oligarchies and how they treat people within their own borders. But it seems to have emboldened them to start spreading their violent corruption abroad. Not wanting to damage their international relationships, they’ve chosen to do it by proxy through extremist groups like ISIS, Al-Qaeda, the Taliban, Hamas and the Haqqani network, just to name a few.

Charles Pierce of Esquire spoke plainly about it in a recent piece:

“It is long past time for the oligarchies of the Gulf states to stop paying protection to the men in the suicide belts. . . It’s not like this is any kind of secret. In 2010, thanks to WikiLeaks, we learned that the State Department, under the direction of then-Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, knew full well where the money for foreign terrorism came from. It came from countries and not from a faith. It came from sovereign states and not from an organized religion. It came from politicians and dictators, not from clerics, at least not directly. It was paid to maintain a political and social order, not to promulgate a religious revival or to launch a religious war.”

Paul resoundingly agrees. We should follow the money trail for terrorist funding – wherever it may lead. We should punish those responsible mercilessly: Sanction them, freeze their accounts internationally and bring criminal charges wherever possible. Politicians keep arguing we are at war and should invest time, money and men in a ground war with ISIS. If that is the case, then act like we are at war and recognize our enemies, wherever they might be.

Protecting the sensibilities of those who actively wish us harm and finance our enemies is madness. Perhaps, hopefully, the attacks in Paris will be the wake up call for a stronger response from civilized, peaceful nations. We can only hope Paul’s message is heard this time.

Paul thinks the key to stopping ISIS is to stop ISIS funding. So long as their supporters feel safe in helping them financially, we will not be able to stop them entirely. Do you think we should go after those that fund terrorism, regardless of where the trail might lead? We’d like to hear your thoughts on Twitter. Also, join us on Facebook to get in on this important conversation.

Written by Mark Davis



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