“It’s a space of finite resources and constantly changing prioritization,” says Alex Zerden, a terror-financing expert formerly at the U.S. Treasury and now head of his own risk advisory firm, Capitol Peak Strategies in Washington. “Over the past several years, terrorist financing hasn’t been the dominating priority in an era of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, potential conflict with China, [and] the use of both sanctions and export controls” against nations rather than nonstate groups.
The problem with this on-again, off-again approach is that heightened vigilance is most needed before a terrorist attack, not after it.
Will the current scrutiny of Hamas financing also fade over time?
“There’s concern that this [war in Gaza] may be a watershed for Hamas to enable greater charitable support as well as greater investment opportunities,” says Mr. Zerden of Capitol Peak Strategies. “The counterbalance is that there is renewed attention after years of de-prioritization against Hamas’s terrorist financing activity from like-minded governments. ... So you have these two competing forces. Which one is going to prevail? Unfortunately, only time will tell.”
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