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SHAHEEN CALLS ON ADMINISTRATION TO ADDRESS ISIL THREAT, DISMANTLE TERRORIST GROUP’S FINANCES

In letter to Lew and Kerry, Shaheen says U.S. must use every tool available to disrupt ISIL

August 28, 2014

U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) today called on the Departments of Treasury and State to “do everything in [their] power to disrupt and stop the flow of money and foreign fighters to the terrorist organization, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).” Shaheen’s letter to Secretary of the Treasury Jacob Lew and Secretary of State John Kerry comes one week following ISIL’s brutal murder of American journalist and New Hampshire native James Foley.

“Dismantling ISIL’s finances and fund-raising ability, including donations to ISIL from private citizens, is critical,” Shaheen said in the letter. “So too are efforts to prevent citizens of partner countries from joining ISIL’s fight in Syria, Iraq and beyond.”

Shaheen continued, “The U.S. and our international partners must do more to disrupt ISIL’s recruitment operations and build consensus on how to address this threat in all its phases, including their recruitment, movement and potential return. I urge you to use all of the tools at your disposal to work with our partners to prevent private citizens from donating to ISIL, conducting transactions on its behalf, and traveling to fight for the terrorist organization.”

The full text of Senator Shaheen letter Secretaries Lew and Kerry is included below:

August 28, 2014

The Honorable Jacob Lew

Secretary of the Treasury

Department of the Treasury

1500 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW 
Washington, D.C. 20220

The Honorable John Kerry

Secretary of State

U.S. Department of State

2201 C Street, NW

Washington, DC 20520

Dear Secretary Kerry and Secretary Lew:

I write today to urge you to do everything in your power to disrupt and stop the flow of money and foreign fighters to the terrorist organization, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

ISIL’s campaign of terror threatens to destabilize the entire Middle East.  Sadly, the threat these terrorists pose to the United States and our interests was driven home by the brutal murder of kidnapped American journalist and New Hampshire native James Foley.

While targeted U.S. air strikes on ISIL in Iraq have halted the group’s momentum there, effectively countering the threat posed by ISIL will require the U.S. and our international partners to isolate ISIL from the Sunni Muslim population and undermine two pillars of its support—money and foreign fighters.  Dismantling ISIL’s finances and fund-raising ability, including donations to ISIL from private citizens, is critical.  So too are efforts to prevent citizens of partner countries from joining ISIL’s fight in Syria, Iraq and beyond.

The Treasury Department took an important step earlier this month in sanctioning three Kuwaiti citizens for helping finance extremist militants in Syria, including ISIL, but the United States cannot stop ISIL’s financing and recruitment operations alone.  The world must come together to block all funding to this terrorist organization, and we must do everything possible to press Gulf States and other partners to put an immediate end to these private fundraising efforts. 

Regarding foreign fighters, it is encouraging to hear reports that the State Department will advocate at the United Nations for international standards to address the threat they pose in Syria and Iraq and in their home countries should they return.  I understand that a British citizen fighting for ISIL was reportedly involved in the murder of Mr. Foley.  The U.S. and our international partners must do more to disrupt ISIL’s recruitment operations and build consensus on how to address this threat in all its phases, including their recruitment, movement and potential return. 

I urge you to use all of the tools at your disposal to work with our partners to prevent private citizens from donating to ISIL, conducting transactions on its behalf, and traveling to fight for the terrorist organization.

The world must come together to address the threat of ISIL, and the United States must lead this effort.

Sincerely,

 

Jeanne Shaheen

United States Senator  

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