CATF Reports Jul. 13, 2016, 4:04pm


Senators Bob Casey, D-Pa., and Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., have introduced a bill designed to undermine ISIS funding by empowering the White House to crack down on countries that tolerate terrorism financiers. The Stop Terrorist Operational Resources and Money (STORM) bill is intended to expand the U.S. role in undercutting ISIS fundraising efforts beyond military attacks in the “caliphate.” Under the proposed bill, the President would be empowered to limit credit, levy economic sanctions, and reduce development assistance and military sales in an effort to penalize countries tolerating terrorism financiers. The proposed bill also allows the President to designate a country as a “Jurisdiction of Terrorism Finance Concern.”

Casey, who completed a trip to several Middle Eastern countries earlier this year, has demonstrated his commitment to addressing ISIS fundraising. In 2015, he wrote to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to encourage an additional focus on countering terrorism financing in Congress. In May, a bipartisan bill introduced by Senator Casey was signed into law by President Obama. The recently signed bill barred Syrian antiquity imports from entering the United States in an attempt to stifle ISIS profits from artifacts sold on the black market.

While the STORM bill is symbolic of the U.S. push to undermine ISIS funding, the bill’s recommendations are dynamic but risky and, perhaps, unrealistic. As U.S. relations with Arab Gulf states remain strained, largely due to the Saudi skepticism of the Iran nuclear deal and involvement in the Syrian conflict, it appears to be an increasingly difficult time to levy sanctions, cut military sales and foreign assistance and/or label an ally state as a “terrorism finance concern.” The bill does suggest an increased focus on reducing ISIS access to foreign funding, but Casey and Isakson’s proposal may lack the calculated approach needed to address terrorism financing in already delicate relationships.

From The Wichita Eagle:

“Pennsylvania’s senior senator says the White House needs more muscle to disrupt how global terror groups make money to pay their fighters, produce propaganda and buy weapons.

Sens. Bob Casey, D-Pa., and Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., are co-sponsoring a bill that would allow the president to penalize countries deemed to be lax on monitoring and prosecuting those who financially help terrorists.

“It’s a big void in our strategy,” Casey said in an interview with McClatchy. “The tools we have now are not enough...(Terrorists) don’t use the international banking system.”

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