The morning debates of the CTC sessions found the Delegates highly engaged in tackling aspects such as the financing and the propaganda of ISIS.
Sometimes described as the world’s richest terrorist group, The Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham has famously raised tremendous amounts of money through means such as oil smuggling, extensive criminal enterprises, and kidnapping for ransom. Therefore, targeting the group’s finances has become one of the anti-ISIS coalition’s five primary lines of effort. Which countries are trading oil with ISIS ? How are these financial transactions conducted ? remained at the core of the discussions of the Counter-Terrorism Committee.
A wide range of possibilities to properly address the matter were brought up, such as the creation of a buffer zone inside the Syrian state so that the ISIS expansion can be controlled and of an investigation unit which would surveil the problematic areas, along with a closer cooperation with other organisations and NGOs . Furthermore, while the Delegations of the UK, France and China encouraged the sharing of intelligence between the member states and united efforts to improve the current surveillance capabilities, the Delegation of Turkey opposed the border controls but supported instead the territorial integrity of the states.
From the start, social media has been vital to ISIS’s rise. This is because it enables ISIS militants to raise its prestige among terror groups while simultaneously overtaking older jihadist groups . The built up of the sophisticated and effective online propaganda engine, which exploits numerous mainstream networks such as Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, WhatsApp and Linkedln and also the means used, like hijacking western trends and hashtags definitely heated up the discussions and got the CTC members deeply involved in the finding of plausible solutions.
In spite of the several harsh accusations brought, ’The Gulf States and Turkey support ISIS’ , ’France gave weapons to the rebels, illegally’ (The Delegation of Syria) , providing possibilities to efficiently counter ISIS means of financing and communication remained the main aim of the morning session.
This is because, now more than ever before, it is important to closely analyze and understand the role of audiovisual communication and to disrupt the money flow in the radicalization of terrorists.
By Andreea Turcu, Florina Crîngea and Victor Păun,
CTC Press Officers