We need to make it clear that the U.S. does not do business with terror financiers.
In the wake of the devastating terrorist attacks in Paris and Beirut, our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and those who lost loved ones. Working together with our allies and friends, we have to step up our fight against terrorism.
Unfortunately, our current strategy isn’t making us safer. The number of innocent victims of terror is up 4,000% since 9/11 despite the $1.7 trillion taxpayers have spent on counterterrorism, including the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that claimed the lives of more than 6,800 American troops and 6,900 American contractors.
If our existing strategy of drone strikes, proxy wars, and toppled governments isn’t the answer, what is?
As a doctor, I know that attacking symptoms isn’t the same thing as finding a cure. I’m also mindful of what the Cold War official and nuclear strategist Paul Nitze said: “One of the most dangerous forms of human error is forgetting what one is trying to achieve.” If we are to eradicate ISIS once and for all, it’s time to take a hard look at what is fueling its growth: money.
ISIS’s reserve of an estimated $2 billion makes it the world’s most well-financed terrorist organization. Airstrikes have impacted ISIS’s oil trade, but there’s one form of funding we can put an immediate stop to: donations from citizens, purported nonprofit groups, and governments or private sources in Gulf nations including Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait. A reportfrom the world’s foremost international body on terrorist financing, the Financial Action Task Force, concludes that ISIS is using grassroots donations through the Internet and that foreign donor support will become more critical as other funding streams are stunted.
ISIS’s power has also been magnified by the massive arsenal of arms they’ve received from our so-called moderate allies in the Syrian and Iraqi armies. Hundreds of millions of dollars worth of military equipment paid for by American taxpayers are in ISIS’s hands.
Like a broken record, Washington keeps asking these partners to stop supporting jihadi groups. The trouble is, they never listen.
Read more: Time