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Tightening the Screws: The Economic War Against Terrorism

National Interest, Vol. 66, p. 76, Winter 2001-2002

7 Pages Posted: 30 May 2008  

Peter L. Fitzgerald

Stetson University - College of Law


Short of the actual use of force, economic sanctions are among the U.S. government's most powerful tools in the war on terrorism. They seek to deprive terrorist organizations of the financial wherewithal to support and conduct operations such as the September 11 attacks on Washington and New York. Well before those events, however, the U.S. government had targeted Osama bin Laden and his Al-Qaeda organization with financial sanctions as part of three separate anti-terrorist programs established since the mid-1990s. The obvious question, then, is if these financial controls have been in place since as far back as 1996, why have they, not worked better at preventing terrorism? Moreover, how can we have any confidence that new sanctions will accomplish what the old controls evidently failed to achieve? This paper attempts to identify some of the issues these questions pose, and how those issues might be ameliorated or resolved.

Keywords: economic sanctions, due process, compliance, terrorism, international trade

JEL Classification: D80, F02, F10, F23, H87, K20, K33, K42, N40, N70

Suggested Citation

Fitzgerald, Peter L., Tightening the Screws: The Economic War Against Terrorism. National Interest, Vol. 66, p. 76, Winter 2001-2002. Available at SSRN:

Peter L. Fitzgerald (Contact Author)

Stetson University - College of Law ( email )

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Gulfport, FL 33707
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