Posts Tagged ‘Resolution 1904’

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Why it was right to refuse James Foley’s ransom

August 22, 2014

ISIS demanded a $132 million ransom a week prior to their beheading of American journalist James Foley. The New York Times reports that the U.S. declined to pay.

Several commentators including David Rohde of Reuters and James Traub of Foreign Policy have taken the opportunity to question the so-called “U.S. and U.K.” policy against paying ransoms.

Actually, refusing to pay ransoms to terrorists isn’t just an idiosyncrasy of American and British policy; it is international law. UN Resolution 1904 forbids the payment of ransoms. Furthermore, an agreement by the G8 in 2013 pledged to refrain from paying ransoms.

The critics of the “U.S.” no-ransom policy omit this information either out of laziness or bias.  True, some European governments pay ransoms under the table, which is very damaging to international security, but that is in violation of international accords and their own publicly stated policies.

Transferring funds of any kind from the U.S. to ISIS would also constitute material support for a foreign terrorist organization under U.S. Code 2339B.

Not only is America prohibited from paying ransoms under international law, agreements, and domestic law, but it would also be foolish to pay ransoms to terrorist groups. Funding an enemy group that the U.S. Air Force is simultaneously carrying out missions against would be, to put it mildly, illogical. Paying ransoms to ISIS would also aid the enemy of Iraq–a nation that U.S. troops fought alongside with to protect from insurgent terrorism.

Moreover, paying ransoms only serves to increase the likelihood that Americans and other Westerners living or traveling in the Middle East will be kidnapped. Payments also drive up the price of the ransoms demanded.

Critics would have you believe that it’s time for “a debate” about paying ransoms. The debate came and went when Resolution 1904 passed the UN. The would-be ransom payers lost the debate back then.

In summary, abductions are tragic but they will be more commonplace if we started complying with ransom demands.

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Brits push UN to ban ransom payments (again)

December 17, 2013

This time we really mean it!

Not sure what this proposed resolution will accomplish since paying ransoms to terrorists already violates U.N. Resolution 1904.  Maybe the proposal would actually give teeth to 1904, but the text of the proposed resolution does not appear to be available online from either the British foreign office or the U.N.

But at least they’re drawing attention to the phenomenon which enriches terrorist groups and puts upward pressure on the size of ransoms demanded globally.  From the Associated Press on Dec. 4:

UN urged to end paying ransom to terrorists

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Britain is urging the U.N. Security Council to adopt a resolution calling on all countries not to pay ransom to kidnappers who use the money to finance terrorist groups.

Britain’s U.N. Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant said Wednesday his government estimates that over the last three years more than $70 million has been provided to al-Qaida and other terrorist groups from ransom paid to kidnappers.

Lyall Grant said he circulated a draft resolution to council members Tuesday calling on the 193 U.N. member states “to prevent terrorists from benefiting directly or indirectly from ransom payments.”

A U.N. resolution adopted weeks after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States already bans all countries from financing terrorism.

But Lyall Grant said the proposed new resolution highlights “the increasing threat” from kidnapping for ransom to benefit terrorists.

“We want to make it much more difficult for terrorists to benefit from this sort of financing,” he said.

Lyall Grant said he hopes the Security Council will approve the resolution this month, with support from all 15 members…