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ISIS Made $1 Billion in Revenue in 2015: US Treasury

Obama administration has seen indications that US’s efforts to disrupt ISIS’s sources of revenue are bearing fruit.

Published
World
2 min read
File photo of an ISIS supporter. (Photo: Reuters)

The Islamic State terror group made nearly $1 billion in total revenue last year, half of which came from the sale of oil, and earned as much $350 million per year by extorting funds from the local population, a top US Treasury Department official has said.

ISIL’s sources of income include oil and gas sales, extortion and taxation, external donations, kidnapping-for- ransom, and previously, bank looting. We estimate that in 2015, ISIL made approximately $1 billion dollars in total revenue, $500 million of which came from the sale of oil, primarily through populations under its control.
Daniel Glaser, Treasury’s Assistant Secretary for terrorist financing

Glaser used the US’s preferred acronym for Islamic State, ISIL.

Glaser on Thursday in written testimony for a House of Representatives committee hearing on security threats, said,

We also estimate that ISIL may have earned as much $350 million per year, by extorting funds from the local population and in connection with the financial and commercial activity taking place in the territory it controls.
ISIS fighters. (Photo: AP)
ISIS fighters. (Photo: AP)
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ISIL also gained considerable funds from seizing control of state-owned banks in northern and western Iraq in 2014 and early 2015, he told the lawmakers.

These funds from the bank vaults were estimated to be at least half a billion dollars at the time of capture, making them an important, albeit non-renewable, source of financing for ISIL in its earlier days.

Other less significant sources of revenue include kidnapping-for-ransom (KFR).

We estimated that ISIL earned between USD 20 and USD 45 million from KFR in 2014. However, we assess revenue from KFR declined substantially in 2015 and 2016 owing to the greatly reduced presence of potential Western hostages in or near the territories it controls.

The senior official said the ISIL clearly has vast financial resources, but the Obama administration has seen indications that America’s efforts to disrupt ISIL’s sources of revenue are bearing fruit.

Through airstrikes, the Coalition has directly targeted ISIL’s entire oil and natural gas supply chain: from oil fields, to refineries, to tanker trucks, targeting ISIL’s primary source of revenue, he claimed.

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While difficult to quantify, the strikes have undoubtedly impeded ISIL’s ability to produce, sell, and profit from oil as it had been doing.

Glaser also said that recent coalition strikes have also reduced the levels of cash in ISIL-controlled territory. US-led coalition airstrikes have targeted ISIL’s cash storage sites, destroying tens of millions, and possibly more than 100 million dollars, and eliminated senior ISIL officials, including the group’s de facto finance minister.

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