Can we stop ISIS funding or better – SQUEEZING ISIS FUNDING
The US Treasury Department faces difficulties as it mounts a program to cut off funding to Islamic State (ISIS) terrorists that are currently raising “tens of millions” each month through oil sales, ransoming hostages, criminal activities, and donations from wealthy Islamist sympathizers.
Current estimates indicate ISIS has around $1.5 billion to $2 billion, making it the wealthiest terrorist group in the world. We have reasons to believe that ISIS funding is the result of local operations, including black market oil sales, criminal activities, and demanding “taxes” from people under its control. European countries are more than willing to pay ransoms for their kidnapped citizens, despite claims to the contrary, and actually according to some classified sources, they did pay that.
Biggest problem is targeting the ISIS funding sources. ISIS is made up of a force of some 30,000 fighters, and pays each fighter around $1,000 a month. That amounts to $360 million in salaries alone per year. Additionally, funding its forces requires additional millions for weapons, ammunition, and operations.
For ISIS there are few well-known financiers in Persian Gulf states, although several have been identified and sanctioned. After these traditional funding sources, terrorists also have gained from battlefield spoils, including oil fields in Syria that are generating an between $1 million and $2.8 million a day, along with an estimated $384 million in cash reserves stolen after the takeover of Iraq’s second largest city Mosul.
For ISIS, one of its main funding sources comes from the Deir ez-Zor oil fields in Syria, where ISIS controls up to 40 percent of the 100,000 barrels of oil produced daily.
Systematic extortion of local businesses in territory controlled by ISIS fighters also generates an additional $8 million a month, along with between $20 million a year gained from ransoming hostages. Some estimates put the amount gained from hostage taking at $64 million.
Michael Stephens, director of the Royal United Services Institute in Qatar, told the BBC in September that ISIS has gained millions from wealthy Islamist supporters in Qatar, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia who have transported large containers of cash to Turkey where it was turned over to ISIS representatives.
According to our sources ISIS make $1 million a day from oil sales, and recent airstrikes against IS-controlled oil refineries are limiting its oil revenues. Ransom of hostages this year has produced at least $20 million.
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