by Tom Keatinge
The availability, sources, and distribution of funding are critical issues to consider when seeking to address an on-going conflict such as the one we are witnessing across Syria and Iraq. In the Syrian case, whilst funds from states such as Russia, Iran, the U.S., Saudi Arabia, and Qatar support various elements, a key factor to consider in addressing extremist groups is funding provided by private donors, some of whom are attracted by the concept of ‘jihadi finance’, seeking the honour and reward of waging jihad by proxy. This article reviews the importance of financing for insurgent groups, focusing in particular on the highly influential enabling role played by private donor financing in the current conflict in Syria, as well as the sustaining role of the war economy as the conflict spreads. Finally, it considers whether, in its fourth year, this conflict can still be influenced by targeting sources of financing.
Keywords: Terrorism finance, Syria
The Syrian conflict has drawn support in the form of weapons, spare parts, supplies, and fighters from across the globe. But most importantly, the conflict has been enabled by the ready and generous supply of financing provided by a broad array of states and private individuals and it is sustained by the development of a highly lucrative war economy. It is thus not an exaggeration to say that financing is extremely important to all parties in the conflict, and that the availability of financing has substantially influenced the course the conflict has taken thus far. Continue reading