Although ISIS is an enemy of western countries, the terrorist organization actually receives funding and recruits from these countries. In fact, one of ISIS’ largest sources of income comes from selling artifacts to Europeans and Americans. According to Newsweek, ISIS controls over 1/3 of Iraq’s archaeological sites. After the terrorist organization excavates these archaeological sites, they smuggle the artifacts through Iran, Turkey, and Syria and sell them on the black market.
ISIS also makes a significant amount of money from kidnapping foreigners. Many of these victims are from England, France, Spain, and the United States. When ISIS kidnaps these individuals they hold them until an incredibly high ransom is paid. In fact, France has paid $14 million in ransoms for kidnapped journalists. On the other hand, the United States and UK have continued to not pay for the release of hostages. This has led to American and UK hostages being beheaded while French hostages have been spared. American officials have issued a statement about this, saying that they are not paying for American hostages because it “makes it less likely that Americans will be taken hostage.”
A large amount of Americans have also been attempting to join extremist organizations. In fact, U.S. officials estimate that over 100 Americans have tried to join Syrian militant groups. CNN tells the story of how a nineteen-year-old American woman named Shannon Maureen Conley pled guilty to a terror charge at a federal court. She was arrested at Denver International Airport during April 2014. Conley was planning on traveling to an ISIS camp. When questioned by investigators, Conley said that she met ISIS member Yousur Mouelhi on the internet and planned to marry him. Mohammed Hamzah Khan, another prospective ISIS recruit, was arrested and charged with attempting to provide material support to a terrorist organization. Much like Conley, Khan was attempting to go to Turkey and was arrested at an American airport.
Terrorists may see the West as an enemy, but they ironically need the West to gain support and financing. While knowing this, US law enforcement agencies have been working with foreign law enforcement agencies to stop the funding of terrorism and the recruitment of westerners but this has not stopped the threat of terrorism. However, if law enforcement discovers new techniques of stopping terrorist recruitment and financing then the terrorist threat may greatly decrease.
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