British Parliamentary Report Urges Saudi Arabia To Crack Down On Secret Funding Of ISIS

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Jonah Bennett Contributor
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A new British parliamentary committee report has urged Saudi Arabia to crack down on royal family members and other radical elements sending money outside of the country to secretly fund the Islamic State.

The report states that the Islamic State is becoming more and more desperate to raise funds because of a drop in the price of oil, and is trying all of its connections to keep the group operating, The Guardian reports.

Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, only criminalized providing support for ISIS in March 2015, and the report is worried the country isn’t concerned enough about stopping the flow of support sent to ISIS from residents and even members of the royal family.

Foreign Office Minister Tobias Ellwood was quoted in the report as saying donations from Sunni royal family members in Gulf states “is very likely to happen.” But he also said it’s difficult to get a handle on what royal families are up to, as the situation “is very opaque.”

Dan Chugg, civil servant at the Foreign Office, agreed that it’s an arduous task to get accurate figures on ISIS financing when it comes to royal families.

“It is difficult with some of these countries to know exactly what is government funding and what is not when you are dealing with royal families, wealthy princes and those kind of things,” Chugg said in the report. “Our strategy was not to try to ascertain whose problem and whose fault it was, but to stop the funding going to Daesh [ISIS]. That was what was important. And that is what our efforts have been focused on.”

The report stated the Foreign Office should “work with local partners in the region to ensure they have the capacity and resolve to rigorously enforce local laws to prevent the funding of Islamic State, so that the group cannot benefit from donations in future.”

In the past, Saudi Arabia has suffered accusations that powerful elements in the country with sympathy for ISIS are funneling support to the group. According to Josh Rogin writing in The Daily Beast in 2014, ISIS was able to get off the ground due to the generous support of wealthy individuals in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states, while the government looked the other way.

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