Terror Expert Louise Shelley: ‘Islamic State Is a Diversified Criminal Operation’


Source: Spiegel Online, Interview Conducted by Markus Dettmer and Jörg Schindler, Jan 2015

Photo Gallery: Funding the Jihad REUTERS

Where does Islamic State get its money? In an interview, terrorism expert Louise Shelley says it operates like a run-of-the-mill crime syndicate in which ideology takes a back seat to money making.

SPIEGEL: Professor Shelley, leaving aside the victims for a moment, what does a terrorist attack actually cost the terrorists?

Shelley: At first glance, it is less than you think. To obtain weapons or to train a small group of terrorists is not excessively expensive. Take 9/11 as an example: The costs are estimated at only $500,000. But I think this is the wrong approach for a calculation. The essential question here is: What are the costs ofmaintaining a terrorist organization? You need tremendous logistics, you need to keep all the fighters motivated, you have to take care of the families of…

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