The American Banker has published a disappointing article on terrorism financing.

In the article, the author, Alex Zeiden, identifies 4 pressing issues when it comes to terrorism financing.

Unfortunately, the article also reveals some tired, old myths associated with the underlying causes of terrorism…

For instance…

New terror financing proposals may undermine efforts to provide economic opportunity to populations at risk of radicalization

For instance, take “de-risking,” i.e. the termination of banking relationships based on perceived rather than actual risk, often in high-risk jurisdictions. In places like Somalia, shuttering licit banks and money remitters pose a very real impediment to U.S. goals for economic growth and development that is needed to counter terrorist groups like Al-Shabab. 

Here we have the perpetuation of the myth that poverty and lack of economic opportunity causes Jihad. This is simply self-serving tripe from commercial interests. There is no evidence that lack of economic opportunity or poverty are underlying causes of Jihad.

The article is not without merit. It does point out that impact of rapid advances in technology on financial flows to Jihadists and also points out that vulnerabilities in terms of cybersecurity have not received enough emphasis.

Best of all, the article points out the valuable use of lawfare to battle back against material support for terrorism, though it makes no mention of the counterproductive role played by the US State Department in this arena:

Private parties, like U.S. victims of terrorist attacks, are empowered by Congress through laws such as the Anti-Terrorism Act to hold financial institutions accountable for material support of terrorism. Recent federal court decisionshave demonstrated the effectiveness of the civil litigation system in deterring terrorism financing and articulating the standards of liability for financial institutions.



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