The biggest terrorist stories to hit the global media in the last few weeks have been the Charleston and Tunisia attacks, carried out by individuals, at least one of whom had set out his intentions in a published manifesto. Rather than falling prey to a particular group and shouting out their message, Dylan Roof – the Charleston massacre suspect – apparently ‘self-radicalised’ by reading various on-line sources of extremist material. There is no information, as yet, on where Seifeddine Rezgui, the gunman in the Tunisian attack, acquired the gun he used but there are some links between him and the Ansar al-Sharia group in Libya. One US media outlet asked Charleston Police how Roof was able to get his hands on a gun. “We will not discuss that aspect of the investigation” a spokesman told the press.
Meanwhile in Egypt, the government has adopted a ‘controversial anti-terror law‘ speeding up prosecutions for terrorist related acts, laying out more severe penalties for those convicted and increasing the powers of terrorism investigators to examine bank accounts. The new law is a direct response to the killing of state prosecutor Hisham Barakat in late June.
Investigating terrorist resourcing – who supplied the weapons, how and any connections to known terrorist groups – might unearth some significant connections and information on who is behind terror attacks.
Resourcing v Financing
Research into terrorism has begun to notice a difference in approaches to investigating where the money comes from. Changing perspectives on terrorist financing might highlight more gaps in our understanding of terrorism, why and how terrorist acts are committed.
Terrorist organisations use far more than money to maintain operations leaning on industries and infrastructure (IS has hijacked oil production in Iraq), criminal partnerships (the proceeds of crime fund terrorism too), commodities and more to generate funds. Moreover, the financial system as we know it is a minor player in some of the countries where terrorist groups thrive.
“Our understanding of terrorist financing is simplistic – funds flood the banking system, if we find it we can stop terrorists,” says Brenda Collins of ManchesterCF.
“The resourcing concept is a much better fit with the risk-based approach (RBA) than the financing concept. The resourcing model turns the focus to the behaviour, the geographies, the industries, the materials. The financing idea often automatically pushes people towards transactions, senders and recipients.”
To learn more about the mechanics of terrorist resourcing – how different terrorist organisations resource their operations, how terror groups acquire funding channels and the red flags that can reveal terrorist resourcing networks, click here.
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