Islamic State (IS) has “sufficient funds” to continue fighting and might resort to covert communications such as the “dark web”, the UN political chief warned today. “IS is adapting to military pressure in several ways,” Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman said, urging the UN member states to share more information about airline passengers to defeat “transnational terrorism” sparked by the IS.
“Although its income and the territory under its control are shrinking, IS still appears to have sufficient funds to continue fighting,” Feltman said, briefing the UN Security Council on the Secretary-General’s report on the threat the group poses to international peace and security efforts. The report said that till now only 56 nations have shared advance passenger information, as it lamented the “uneven” response it is receiving from member states in sharing the “critical” information.
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Feltman noted that IS relies mainly on income from extortion and hydro-carbon exploitation, even though resources from the latter are on the decline. He expressed concern that IS will try to expand other sources of income, such as kidnapping for ransom, and increase its reliance on donations as it adopts to increased military pressure. “IS is adapting in several ways by resorting to increasingly covert communication and recruitment methods, including by using the ‘dark web,’ encryption and messengers,” he said.
While the previous reports on the subject have focused on South East Asia, Yemen and East Africa, Libya and Afghanistan, this report zeroed in on Europe, North Africa and West Africa.
It noted that IS has conducted a range of attacks in Europe since declaring in 2014 its intent to target the region. Some of these attacks were directed and facilitated by IS personnel, while others were enabled by IS by providing guidance or were inspired through its propaganda.
The military offensive in Libya has dislodged IS from its stronghold in Sirte, but the group’s threat to Libya and neighbouring countries persists. Its fighters – estimated to range from several hundred to 3,000 – have moved to other parts of the country. The report warned that the group has increased its presence in West Africa and stressed the need to develop sustained, coordinated responses to the threat posed by IS.