1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

UN tries to cut off 'IS' financing

December 18, 2015

The UN Security Council has unanimously approved new sanctions against the self-declared 'IS.' The UN is trying to block IS access to the purchase of oil equipment, weapons and communications.

UN Sicherheitsrat der Vereinten Nationen
Image: Getty Images/A. Burton

The UN Security Council passed a resolution on Thursday to try and tighten the noose on IS by obstructing the group's funding from oil and antiquities sales, ransom payments and other criminal activities.

Thursday's meeting was unique in that, for the first time, several countries were represented by their finance ministers, including US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew.

"This resolution is a critical step, but the real test will be determined by actions we each take after adoption," Jack Lew told the 15-member council.

"We need meaningful implementation, coordination and enforcement from each country represented here, and many others," he added.

Lew said IS generates funds from economic activity and the resources in territory under its control and its financing "has evolved from seizing territory and looting bank vaults to leveraging more renewable revenue streams."

So far Lew said IS "has reaped an estimated $500 million from black market oil and millions more from the people it brutalizes and extorts." He said the US was working with its partners to target the group's key "financial facilitators."

France urges further action

The US-Russia co-authored resolution adds to sanctions implemented in February that blocked trading in antiquities from Syria, banned oil trade with IS or al-Nusra Front militants and tried to curtail the paying of ransoms.

The new sanctions also obligate member states to report on "interdictions in their territory of any oil, oil products, modular refineries, and related material being transferred to or from (IS or the Nusra Front)."

Another stipulation of the resolution is that all member states prevent their citizens from providing money or services to "terrorist organizations or individual terrorists for any purpose, including but not limited to recruitment, training, or travel, even in the absence of a link to a specific terrorist act."

French Finance Minister Michel Sapin said the new list of sanctions was not enough. Sapin said last month's Paris attacks were largely financed through untraceable pre-paid cards. He called for regulations to prevent anonymous transactions.

Currently there are 243 individuals and 74 entities on the IS and al Qaeda sanctions list. According to Sapin, the new document would "not be a deterrent if it does not lead to the UN Security Council adding names to the list."

The resolution also asked Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to provide an initial "strategic-level report" in 45 days on the sources of financing of IS and associated groups.

es/jm (AFP, Reuters)