To What Extent Did Attacking the Sources of ISIL's Funding Operations Contribute to the Weakening of The Islamic State?


This article examines the impact attacking the sources of Islamic State’s funding operations had on weakening the Caliphate. Delineating between kinetic and non-kinetic operations to target Islamic State’s funding, this article highlights the inefficacy of national, regional and international attempts to weaken the group through targeting their relationship to the international financial system, as this relationship was largely non-existent. Rather, the targeting of oil infrastructure, cash depots, and population centres had a more significant effect due to the subsequent reduction of Islamic State’s ability to financially exploit their territory and population. This article is in line with Peter Neumann’s critique of non-kinetic counter-terrorism operations, agreeing that “instead of continuing to look for needles in a haystack, governments should overhaul their approach.”