We need determination and action if we really want to cut off terrorist funding
"No money for terror" was the theme of the high-level international conference which brought together 72 countries in Paris a few days ago. The top-calibre participants agreed that it is crucial to "fully criminalize" the funding of international terrorism. Many good intentions were expressed and many commitments have been made, in particular to better share information between law enforcement agencies. We naively thought we had solved this basic problem. But we must face facts: the lack of trust that exists between some States is an ongoing issue. It is fully understandable that the Western intelligence agencies hesitate to exchange information with countries such as Qatar and Saudi Arabia which had delegations participate in the conference. Today, terror groups use all the mechanisms and tools that the global financial system gave them. But the priority is the fight against the anonymity of transactions. We must standardize the rules across our countries to prevent the small and anonymous money transfers to criminal groups. It must also be highlighted that we are confronted with a wave of "low-cost" terrorism. Most terrorist attacks cost less than $10'000-. This amount represents the charge for the rental car and the purchase of a firearm. The 2016 Nice truck attack -86 dead and 400 more injured- cost less than $5'000-. In France alone, 416 people who have donated money to ISIS were identified in the course of the last year. It is obviously a very difficult issue. New technologies available to States should allow a more effective control of suspicious financial movements. But above all, if it is to succeed, certain well-known circles will have to stop playing both sides. The dismantling of terrorist financing networks demands the unconditional cooperation of all.