The Sunday Magazine·The Sunday Edition

Could ISIS be crippled by cutting off its supply of money and arms?

Loretta Napoleoni has advised governments and international organizations on the intricacies of terrorism financing. She explains the complex and diverse sources of funding used by ISIS.
In this June 2014 photo, demonstrators chant pro-Islamic State group, slogans as they carry the group's flags in front of the provincial government headquarters in Mosul, 225 miles (360 kilometers) northwest of Baghdad. (Credit: AP Photo)

"Follow the money" is one of the tenets of investigative journalism. It is also coming up repeatedly in conversations about the world's response to ISIS. Rather than (or in addition to) military action - jets in the air or boots on the ground - why not attack ISIS by starving it to death? Cut off its supply of money and weapons and stop the organization in its tracks. It sounds like a simple equation: no money plus no guns equals no more terrorism.

Loretta Napoleoni is an economist and the author of several books, including Terrorism and the EconomyTerrorism Incorporated and most recently, Islamist Phoenix. She has advised heads of state, governments and international organizations on the intricacies of terrorist financing and she lectures on the subject around the world.

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