The Campaign Against the Islamic State

In recent news the Obama administration has defined its campaign against the Islamic State and its aims. President Obama has defined one of his main goals to demonstrate the seriousness of America’s commitment to defeating IS. Obama has stated that this is going to be a long-term campaign. One of the tactics the United States is trying against the Islamic State is to bankrupt them. The American military campaign against the Islamic State has begun to cut into the Sunni militant group’s substantial oil revenues. David S. Cohen, the Treasury under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence has stated that the group was the best-funded terrorist organization. He also acknowledged that the financial warfare was ill suited to combat an organization whose power and wealth are derived in large part from the vast sections of territory it controls. The United States is depending largely on the support of Turkish and Iraqi authorities. Mr. Cohen said. “So what may have been a willingness to look the other way in the past is something that I think cannot continue going forward.” In this particular case they are looking at cutting off their main sources and preventing this group from the broader financial system.

Many have questioned whether the Treasury Department officials may still be overestimating the Islamic State’s oil wealth. Matthew Reed, a Middle East specialist at Foreign Reports, an energy consultancy stated in regards to this issue, “Even $1 million a day is questionable after airstrikes and local efforts to crack down” on cross-border smuggling in Turkey and Iraqi Kurdistan, he said.  A US military statement said that the attacks against these states were intended to eliminate the threat it poses to the region and the wider international community. One of the most major issues presented here is the Economic interdependence in the region of it substantial oil revenues. The trade of Oil is the mains source of the group’s funds. The United States is depending on countries in the region to shut down cross-border smuggling routes. Institutions such as the United Nations have tried monitoring the activity of the Islamic State, and its relations with neighboring states. Despite the monitoring efforts against the IS there is still the issues of uncertainty, secret arming, and cheating. It will be interesting to see what countries will take on a significant role, and ally with the United States on this campaign against the Islamic State. The United States will be blacklist anyone who buys or facilitates the purchase of oil from the Islamic State, no matter how far down the supply chain.


5 thoughts on “The Campaign Against the Islamic State

  1. Waging a financial war against the Islamic State is not a viable strategy for the simple reason that the organization is not driven by economic motives. ISIL is a an ideological organization, just like Nazi Party during World War 2. It does not seek to control its region so that it can make money, but so that it can accomplish its inherent ideological objective. For the Nazis, this was the creation of an Aryan state that was the hegemon of Europe. For ISIL, it is the creation of a fundamentalist Islamic Caliphate. Such a motive cannot be deterred entirely by attacking the economic base of the organization. World War 2 demonstrated the extent of a war of ideology. The Nazis could only be defeated by military force through the invasion of foreign armies, and I believe that ISIL is the same.


    • Though I agree that a financial war may not be viable in this instance because of ISIS/IL’s ideological nature, I see where the argument here stands in proposing that cutting off such funding will be useful (if not crucial) in weakening the group. As for the notion that it will require foreign armies to defeat ISIS/IL I think this overestimates the support they have been getting within Iraq and Syria thus far as well as underestimating the support coming from foreign nationals. This recent article sheds some light on just how much foreign support ISIS/IL has.
      Though the percentages seem small it is significant to observe that there support is far more widespread in Europe than it is regionally. These findings are significant in some countries and will definitely play a key role in which actors will join the fight and whose support will falter moving forward.


  2. Financial warfare might potentially weaken the hold that ISIS has on the region, so maybe this will become a somewhat effective tactic against them. Their ideals are very strong though, and they are a relentless force so other measures will undoubtedly be the main emphasis.


  3. I agree with Obama’s decision. Trying to hit ISIS financially is not a bad first step. What do y’all suggest? Keep air striking? A nation like ours is smart enough to not only air strike. The White House knows what they are doing. They are experts, the media will always question the White House with their “experts”, because it is their job. The other option for the U.S. would be sending ground troops. That is what we do not want. If Blackwater was still intact, then them or any other private military would be a viable option to defeat ISIS. We need our people (Intelligence agencies & Intelligence officers in the military) and other countries to first see where their financial ties are coming from. After we locate the problems, we destroy them. This will be an attempt to degrade them without too many U.S. soldier’s fighting.


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