UN Security Council Agrees to Choke off Islamic State Finances

  • Resolution calls nations to monitor and control flow of money
  • Russian support was critical to adoption of binding measures

United Nations Security Council finance ministers adopted a plan to throttle the financial network of Islamic State terror groups and sever their revenue from the sale of oil, antiquities and extortion.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew chaired the first-ever Security Council meeting of finance ministers to vote for a resolution co-authored by the U.S. and Russia. The binding measures include provisions such as travel bans, asset freezes and arms embargo for companies, entities and individuals shown to be helping fund the extremist organization.

The resolution elevates Islamic State to the same level as al-Qaeda, the terrorist group behind Sept. 11 attacks on New York and the Pentagon. The extremist group controls swathes of Syria including oil and gas fields, and parts of Iraq, including Mosul, its third-largest city. A UN report estimated that Islamic State was earning as much as $1.7 million a day from crude sales.

“The most important aspect of this resolution is that Russia is behind it,” said Richard Gowan, New York-based fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations. “Russia has been broadly negative about sanctions over the last year, because the West is targeting it economically over Ukraine.”

The resolution requires all countries to monitor and control the flow of money to individuals and groups "liable to commit terrorist acts.” It also urges all nations to share information about terror groups and calls for a report within 120 days on what every country is doing to tackle financing of Islamic State.

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