Center on Sanctions and Illicit Finance

About the Center:

The Foundation for Defense of Democracies’ (FDD) Center on Sanctions and Illicit Finance (CSIF) expands upon FDD’s success as a leading think tank on the use of financial and economic measures in national security. The Center’s purpose is to provide policy and subject matter expertise in areas of illicit finance, financial power, and economic pressure to the global policy community.

The Center is led by Mark Dubowitz, Juan Zarate, Chip Poncy, and Jonathan Schanzer.

CSIF seeks to illuminate the critical intersection between the full range of illicit finance activities and national security, including money laundering, terrorist financing, sanctions evasion, proliferation financing, cyber crime and economic espionage, and corruption and kleptocracy. This includes understanding how America can best use and preserve its financial and economic power to promote its interests and the integrity of the financial system. The Center also examines how America’s adversaries may be leveraging economic tools and power.

CSIF’s core goals are as follows:

  1. Promoting greater understanding of illicit financing and economic threats, vulnerabilities, and warfare, especially as they evolve and threaten U.S. interests;
  2. Designing creative and effective strategies, doctrines, and uses of financial and economic power to attack and protect against priority threats and vulnerabilities; and
  3. Catalyzing global action, in both the public and private sectors, to advance security and address core challenges to effective implementation of financial power.

CSIF achieves these goals by:

  1. Researching, analyzing, and developing products to identify priority illicit financing and economic vulnerabilities and counter-illicit financing challenges;
  2. Devising strategies, policies, and options to isolate specific rogue targets, networks, and regimes;
  3. Creating plans and options to address emerging economic vulnerabilities; and
  4. Sponsoring events and interacting with communities of interest to promote effective implementation and action.

CSIF focuses on global illicit finance, including the financing of terrorism, weapons and nuclear proliferation, corruption, and environmental crime. It has a particular emphasis on Iran, Qatar, Turkey, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Russia, and other autocratic states as well as drug cartels and terrorist groups including the Islamic State, al-Qaeda, Hamas, and Hezbollah.

The Center relies on regional and sanctions expertise within FDD including a core cadre of financial, economic, and area experts and analysts. CSIF is guided by a senior, expert Board of Advisors, that provides strategic guidance, leads initiatives, and assists in outreach. It also relies on key partnerships and expert service providers and engages a range of stakeholders to amplify the depth and reach of its work.

CSIF works to expand the understanding of illicit finance threats to America’s national security and the nature of economic warfare in the 21st century in order to develop further the strategies of American financial suasion.

Syria Chemical Weapons Sanctions Send Clear Message

26th April 2017 – FDD Policy Brief

Syria Chemical Weapons Sanctions Send Clear Message

Alex Entz

The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) on Monday designated 271 Syrians in response to Bashar al-Assad’s use of sarin nerve gas in the town of Khan Sheikhoun on April 4. more...

Analysis & Commentary

28th April 2017 – Quoted by Oren Dorell - USA Today

Six things Trump can do to squeeze North Korea—without sparking war

Anthony Ruggiero

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson heads to New York Friday to pressure the United Nations Security Council to increase economic pressure on North Korea to end its nuclear weapons program. more...

27th April 2017 – Quoted by Carol Morello, Erin Cunningham - The Washington Post

The nuclear deal takes center stage as Iran’s election campaign gets underway

Behnam Ben Taleblu

Iran’s short, intense presidential campaign kicks off Friday with the first televised debate between six candidates in a race widely seen as a referendum on whether Iranians feel they have benefited from the nuclear deal that took effect last year. more...

27th April 2017 – Fox News

Fox News Digital

Jonathan Schanzer

FDD Senior VP Jonathan Schanzer discusses sanctions against Syria after chemical attack. more...

26th April 2017 – Quoted by Ron Kampeas - The Times of Israel

What the North Korea crisis says about the Iranian nuclear deal

Mark Dubowitz

The Trump administration last week endorsed a narrative long promoted by critics of the Iran nuclear deal: It’s North Korea all over again. more...