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The battle to defund Islamic State

US-led efforts to reduce revenue streams to the Islamic State are hampered by the group's relationship with Syria and the refusal so far of Qatar and Kuwait to act against financiers targeted by the United States and the United Nations.
People inspect damage at an oil refinery that was targeted by what activists said were U.S.-led air strikes at al-Khaboura village, near the Syrian town of Tel Abyad of Raqqa governate October 2, 2014. Air strikes believed to have been carried out by U.S.-led forces hit three makeshift oil refineries in Syria's Raqqa province early on Sunday as part of an assault to weaken Islamic State (IS) militants, a human rights group said. The United States has been carrying out strikes in Iraq against the Islamic Sta

Treasury Undersecretary David Cohen said Oct. 23 that the US government is in "the early stages" of a complex campaign to cut off funds to the group that calls itself the Islamic State (IS) — an effort complicated by collusion between IS and the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the refusal of Qatar and Kuwait to act against several known terrorist financiers.

Cohen, in a rare public appearance in Washington, told an audience at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace that the United States was also working with Iraqi authorities to try to prevent IS from using banks in captured territory without completely shutting down "all financial activity in those areas" and further penalizing their suffering residents.

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