ISIL/Da’esh Continues Evolution into Covert Global Network Enjoying Access to Millions of Dollars, Top Anti-Terrorism Official Tells Security Council

Governance: Non-state Actors – ISIL/Da’esh

ISIL/Da’esh Continues Evolution into Covert Global Network Enjoying Access to Millions of Dollars, Top Anti-Terrorism Official Tells Security Council
Counter-Terrorism Directorate Chief Concerned That Group Exploits Mobile Money Payments, Anonymity of Blockchain Technology
11 February 2019
SC/13697
Despite the decline in the number of international terrorist attacks in 2018, Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant () continues to evolve into a global covert network, with access to hundreds of millions of dollars and the demonstrated ability to exploit new technologies, the top-ranking United Nations counter-terrorism officials told the Security Council today.

Vladimir Voronkov, Under-Secretary-General in the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism, briefed the 15-member Council on the eighth “Report of the Secretary-General on the threat posed by ISIL to international peace and security and on the range of the United Nations’ efforts in support of Member States in countering the threat”. He said the threat has been increased by the presence of returning, relocating or released foreign terrorist fighters.

With ISIL’s centre of gravity in Iraq and Syria, where it is reported to control between 14,000 and 18,000 militants, the group remains intent on undermining any form of stabilization, he emphasized. Despite its loss of revenues, ISIL sustains its operations through accessible reserves or investment in businesses ranging from $50 million to $300 million. “Recent ISIL losses should not lead to complacency at any level,” he stressed.

He went on to outline efforts undertaken by the United Nations in countering the financing of terrorism, border control enforcement and countering terrorist narratives. Noting that ISIL continues to target Libya’s police stations and oil facilities, he said approximately 1,000 foreign terrorist fighters are also reported to have travelled from the western Balkans to conflict zones in Iraq and Syria. ISIL is also reported to control training camps in Afghanistan and is increasingly recruiting women and youngsters in its South-East Asia terrorist operations.

In a second briefing, Michèle Coninsx, Executive Director of the Counter Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate, cited with concern ISIL’s use of mobile payment services in West Africa and its possible exploitation of the anonymity afforded by blockchain technology. On advancing justice and accountability, she emphasized the fundamental need to collect and preserve evidence, pointing out that Governments can also establish special investigative and prosecutorial entities to support criminal justice efforts, welcoming the establishment of the United Nations Investigative Team to Promote Accountability for Crimes Committed by Da‘esh/Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (UNITAD) in that context…