WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, the Anti-Terrorism and Proliferation Financing Task Force that Congressman Stephen F. Lynch (D-MA) co-chairs with Congressman Pete King (R-NY) hosted a briefing for congressional staff to learn how the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is using the looting and illicit trade in antiquities to help finance its terrorist operations.
Professor Amr Al Azm of Shawnee State University and Professor Mark V. Vlasic of Georgetown University discussed how ISIS is profiting from its plunder of antiquities. According to Professor Amr Al Azm, ISIS is not only looting these antiquities itself, but also has essentially licensed the plunder of others by providing permission to locals to loot artifacts, so long as ISIS receives 20 percent of proceeds. This has transformed what may have started as a localized effort into an international business.
"I helped establish the bipartisan Task Force on Anti-Terrorism & Proliferation Financing in 2005 to educate members and staff on the status of national and international efforts to track and stop the flow of funds to terrorist groups. The rise of ISIS, and the organization’s proven ability to move money through innovative means, necessitates continued progress in this critical counterterrorism area. I intend to work with my colleagues to ensure that Congress is doing everything in its power to address the ISIS threat," said Congressman Lynch.