WORK-LIFE BALANCE / AUG. 22, 2014
version 6, draft 6

IS Funds Terrorism Campaign Through Kidnap and Extortion of Foreigners

terrorist

In a stream of terroristic events occurring in the Middle East, one captive U.S. citizen was murdered recently as a warning sign to the American government.

The Islamic State (IS)- a former Al Qaeda ally made of Iraqi and Syrian militants-beheaded 40-year-old American freelance journalist James Foley last week.

According to the Los Angeles TimesFoley was kidnapped in November 2012 while reporting for the GlobalPost in Syria.

A year later following his abduction, Foley’s parents received an email from his captors proving that he was alive, but doubt concerning his safe return struck the Foleys when the message also demanded a $132 million ransom for his release. 

Unfortunately, the American government prohibits paying ransoms to terrorist groups in exchange for U.S. natives. Even after receiving a copy of the email, it was believed that FBI officials refused to rescue Foley. 

Although U.S. officials discourage ransom payments, they do not block families and private financial corporations from taking matters into their own hands. Therefore, the GlobalPost decided to discreetly raise money with the Foleys in an effort to bargain with the abductors.

However, communication with the journalist’s captors suddenly came to a halt until last Tuesday August 12.

The first email sent to Foley’s family displayed anger towards the U.S. government’s latest airstrike against an IS subgroup in Iraq. The last message shows Foley’s execution in response to the government’s uncooperative action to arrange a payment transaction.

Unlike the U.S., other countries like France has made successful settlements with the Islamic radicals to have their citizens safely returned home.

The death of an American citizen has raised a nationwide debate about the harmful consequences American hostages may have to face because of the government’s ransom policy.

Surprisingly, government officials revealed recently that its United States Special Operations team made an attempt to retrieve Foley and other American hostages this past summer, but was unsuccessful.

So, why not violate the ransom policy and give IS what they want?

Well, the Obama administration asserts that “paying money gives terrorists an incentive to seize more Americans, and bankrolls future terrorist acts.” 

Al Qaeda and its affiliates have accumulated over $100 million dollars within the past five years from European countries willing to negotiate ransom payments. 

Like many other terrorist groups, IS uses ransoms to help fund its violent ‘career’ campaigns. For instance, in 2011 the terrorist group used payments to seize small towns in Yemen.

Officials say that most of the funds normally go towards compensation of fighters, families of deceased victims, and financing occupations in towns under siege. 

Government officials believe paying ransoms will have little effect on preventing the group’s extreme behavior and will continue to perpetuate the problem.

With the most recent brutal murder of a fellow citizen, the militant group is now threatening to execute three other American hostages, including American journalist J. Scotloff-a writer for Time Magazine.

How the White House will handle matters this time is unclear.

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