ISIS believed to earn 1 million dollars a day

From oil smuggling, extortion, abductions, Gulf donations

08 October, 11:39

    Oil refinery in Baiji, Iraq Oil refinery in Baiji, Iraq

    (by Valeria Robecco) (ANSAmed) - NEW YORK - ISIS makes around one million dollars a day, according to the US Treasury Department, which does not have hard figures but believes the group takes in tens of millions of dollars a month.

    ISIS is ''the best-financed group we've ever seen'', Matthew Levitt, director of the Stein Program on Counterterrorism and Intelligence at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy in Washington D.C. told CNN.

    The group, Levitt says, is financed like no other terror organization before.

    In an interview with CNN, the US expert on terrorism and its financing, stressed that the jihadists operate like a criminal organization. Their revenues come from oil smuggling operations involving millions of barrels from refineries in northern Iraq and Syria. The Caliphate is able to pay for munitions and for militants by selling oil on the black market.

    In Deyr az Zor province, Syria's richest in energy resources, ISIS controls four of its five main oil wells. In Iraq, wells under ISIS control, in the areas of Tikrit and Al Anbar province, are minor compared to those in the south and in Kirkuk, west of the autonomous region of Kurdistan.

    ISIS however has not ceased to threaten Iraq's main oil structures, in particular the refinery complex of Baiji, 40 km north of Tikrit.

    Levitt told CNN that ISIS revenues also come from looting banks, as occurred with the central bank in Mosul, Iraq, and other provincial institutions.

    The expert said in the interview that citizens in Mosul who want to take money from their bank accounts reportedly have to make ''donations'' to the Islamic State.

    ISIS also makes money by smuggling antiquities, with abductions and extortions perpetrated against all those living in areas under its control.

    The group also benefits from hefty donations made by rich sympathizers from countries including Qatar and Kuwait. Lewitt said this is not surprising, considering that ISIS comes from the Islamic State of Iraq, Al Qaida in Iraq, the organization of Tawhid, the organization of Zarkawi. They are all the same thing, said Levitt, and they are mainly funded through criminal activities within the borders of Iraq.(ANSAmed).

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