The Many Failures of the International Body That Monitors Terror Financing

May 12, 2020 | Noah Phillips
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Originally founded to combat money laundering, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) had its remit expanded in 2001 to monitor the funding of terrorism. At its most recent meeting in February, it took the commendable step of moving Iran from its “grey list” of states that deserve scrutiny to its “black list” of states that should be sanctioned for supporting terrorist groups. Noah Phillips writes that the facts that the Islamic Republic, which has systematically sponsored and participated in terrorism since its creation, had not already been on the black list, and that Pakistan—which has singlehandedly sustained the Taliban—remains on the grey demonstrates FATF’s ineffectiveness. And there are other offenders the body ignores entirely:

A host of countries with immense capital and robust terror affiliations have been blatantly disregarded by [FATF], which looks aside as they stir up terror without fear of condemnation. Most prominent among them is the Qatari regime. In true anti-Semitic fashion, Qatar doesn’t allow Israelis within its borders, and it maintains royal monetary and personnel ties to al-Qaeda, Islamic State, Hamas, Iran, and more. The emir of Qatar and his family have doled out billions in support of Hamas terror efforts in Gaza and millions to al-Qaeda, and several members of the royal family have been directly implicated in terror plots.

The Palestinian Authority similarly enjoys free rein to grow its “martyrs’ fund,” a governmental program to provide income to the families of terrorists, offering more cash according to length of prison sentence and a maximum if the martyr dies in the act of killing.

This practice, like others that promote terror against the state of Israel, warrants no mention by FATF. Neither Qatar nor the Palestinian Authority has ever been on the grey list, which is intended to monitor countries with developing terror-financial ties, let alone the black list. As it blatantly ignores the efforts of a host of nations to facilitate terror funding, FATF’s scope is severely narrowed. Major terrorist havens are unaffected by its policies.

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