When you think about what ISIS are achieving with their military at the moment it’s quite staggering. On one front they are managing to fight of Assad government forces that are massively funded from Russia. On the other side they are making huge advances into Iraq who’s army is funded by the US, France, UK and Germany.
ISIS are effectively fighting the West and Russia at the same time, and are at the very least holding their own, if not winning.
But how have they been able to raise the capital to fight multiple wars against these super powers? Well, they have a variety of tactics to pull in the money they need to continue their twisted crusade to establish a caliphate throughout the middle east.
ISIS are now by far the richest terrorist organisation that has ever existed. They have managed to raise huge sums of money in an incredibly short amount of time; this is how they’ve done it:
As they’ve made their way into Iraq over the last couple of years they have seized hundreds of oil fields. With the black liquid in such high demand there are a plethora of corrupt buyers waiting to snap up their most prized asset. Reports have claimed that neighboring Turkey are just one of the nations purchasing oil from ISIS.
Around 43% of ISIS’s total revenue comes from oil according to IHS analysts. This is why the recent bombing campaign from the U.S and Russia has focused on destroying the wells that are under control of the terrorist group.
If you are living within the caliphate you have to pay extraordinarily high taxes. You definitely wouldn’t get away with paying just 20% as so many of us do here in the UK. Every item and every service is taxed at an eye watering high rate in order to pay for the war effort. And if you don’t pay your way you put yourself at risk of loosing a limb or worse, death.
About 50% of the groups income comes from taxes which is problematic for those fighting ISIS. They obviously can’t bomb civilians living under the caliphate without risking turning ordinary Muslims into terrorists. It’s going to be hard for western forces to stem this flow of income without taking back territory.
ISIS have effectively turned themselves into a mini country that rules through fear and oppression. Ludovico Carlino, senior analyst at IHS, noted that “Its business model, which is heavily focused on intermediaries and taking percentage cuts, also means that the Islamic State is able to make profits from areas and sectors where it is not directly involved,”
Drugs, Robbery and Kidnapping
ISIS have no problem forgetting their religious principles if it means that they get cash; they take part in a wide variety of criminal enterprises to generate income. The U.S. Treasury told CNN that ISIS stole as much as $1 billion in 2014. That will definitely go some way to funding a campaign of terror.
They also stoop as low as kidnapping to rake in more dollars. We first became aware of ISIS after the kidnapping and eventual slaughter of U.S citizens James Foley and Steven Sotloff. The U.S and U.K have a principal of not negotiating with terrorists, but other countries have payed large ransom demands in return for hostages.
Isis’s outgoings are colossal. They pay their soldiers huge sums of money to entice would be Jihadists. They also spend millions on illegal arms as well as having a huge propaganda budget. If we are to stem the flow of this evil force we have to cut of their supply of money in whatever way we can.