Seize Tanker-Trucks Serving Islamic State Areas, UN Panel Says

Governments should seize all oil tanker-trucks coming from or headed to Islamic State-held territories in Iraq and Syria to help stop smuggling by the extremist group, United Nations advisers said.

The UN Security Council should adopt a resolution authorizing the move, which would help limit a major source of revenue for the terrorists, a UN panel that monitors the council’s sanctions against al-Qaeda and all associated individuals and entities said in a report released yesterday.

“The most significant source of continuing revenue for ISIL comes from oil sales and its ability to leverage established smuggling networks,” the panel wrote, referring to the group by an acronym for one of its former names.

While sanctions can’t prevent the trade entirely because “smuggling networks are long-established” and “borders and road routes are porous,” cutting off access to tanker trucks would be painful for the armed group, according to the report. The panel said the fighters may have to import refined oil products after the U.S.-led coalition’s airstrikes destroyed some of its refineries.

The report was released in advance of two days of Security Council meetings starting today on the situation in Iraq and on how the international community can better block the extremists’ sources of funding.

Islamic State has earned as much as $1.65 million a day from illegal crude sales, according to an estimate cited in the report, in addition to millions of dollars generated through kidnapping ransoms and looting and smuggling of antiquities.

Barring Aircraft

The UN panel also recommended that the Security Council order governments to deny aircraft “permission to land in or take off from their territories if that aircraft has taken off from or is destined to land in” areas controlled by Islamic State or the Nusra Front, an al-Qaeda affiliated militant group.

This measure would block the militants from trying to export valuable assets seized from Syrian and Iraqi governments, their banking systems and citizens, as well as attempts to import essential arms or weapon parts, according to the report.

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