The ascent of the Islamic State has raised critical questions about how terrorist organizations are being financed. A comparison of terrorist financing networks in South Asia and the Middle East can offer insights into the differences and similarities in the funding of global terrorist efforts and how money is making its way into the hands of violent terrorist groups.
The Middle East Institute's Louis R. Hughes Lecture Series proudly presented Dr. Amit Kumar (Center of National Policy, Georgetown University) for a discussion on the methods, motivations, and efficacy of terrorist financing networks. By comparing financing networks in South Asia and the Middle East, Dr. Kumar explored possible linkages between the two regions and how these similarities can inform strategies to prevent terrorist financing. MEI's Marvin Weinbaum moderated the discussion.
Dr. Amit Kumar is Center of National Policy's fellow for homeland security and counterterrorism. His key areas of expertise include the financing, organization, and evolution of transnational terrorist and criminal networks, as well as the development and implementation of regulatory Anti-Money Laundering/Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) and counterterrorism compliance measures against such networks. Dr. Kumar is adjunct associate professor in the security studies program at the Edmund A Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, and has also taught at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice for several years. He has a number of years' experience working with the Al-Qaida Taliban Sanctions regime at the United Nations, where he also participated in the activities of the UN counter implementation task force's working group on tackling the financing of terrorism. Dr. Kumar is an adjunct senior fellow at George Mason University's Center for Infrastructure Protection and Homeland Security, where he contributes articles related to terrorist financing and critical infrastructure protection to the Center's critical infrastructure protection report. His work has also been published in the Journal of Homeland Security and the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Dr. Kumar is currently co-editing a comprehensive textbook on Terrorist Financing.
Dr. Marvin G. Weinbaum is professor emeritus of political science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and served as analyst for Pakistan and Afghanistan in the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Intelligence and Research from 1999 to 2003. He is currently a scholar-in-residence at the Middle East Institute in Washington DC. At Illinois, Dr. Weinbaum served for fifteen years as the director of the Program in South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies. His research, teaching, and consultancies have focused on the issues of national security, state building, democratization, and political economy in Afghanistan and Pakistan. He is the author or editor of six books and has written more than 100 journal articles and book chapters. Dr. Weinbaum was awarded Fulbright Research Fellowships for Egypt in 1981-82 and Afghanistan in 1989-90, and was a senior fellow at the United States Institute of Peace in 1996-97. He has been the recipient of research awards from the Social Science Research Council, the Ford Foundation, the American Political Science Association, and other granting agencies.