By Simon Kent.
A think tank has estimated that the so called Islamic State have suffered another major blow to their finances, losing another 30% of their income in the course of a year. The news comes after reports in January that the group slashed the salaries of fighters by over half.
In that respect, it may actually be good news for the group that they are suffering a manpower shortage.
Initially, many analysts and news reporters speculated that the group had huge income from local sources in the Summer of 2014, even in the absence of foreign terrorist financing.
For example, for a long time Coalition jets did not target ISIS controlled oil infrastructure, which was in part manned by “civilians”. But as it became obvious that this was a major source of their cash (as much as $1.5 million per day in the summer of 2014) the Coalition hit ISIS oil hard, decimating their funds and dropping warning leaflets to oil workers to evacuate.
Then greater attention was turned to banks operating on the fringes of ISIS controlled territory, as well as other financing such as remitters. It now appears that loopholes have been gradually closed off in the shady world of money laundering and using the Dark Web to raise funds.
As such, the report by IHS inc. now puts ISIS income at around $50 million per month, a pathetic sum considering there are at most 6 million people in ISIS controlled territory. Additional ISIS financial losses have also come from a loss of territory, and Russian and US aerial bombardment, which has helped liberate Palmyra and Ramadi.
This has decimated the areas they can collect taxes in and confiscate property, but ISIS territory has also suffered catastrophic economic collapse from war and being shut out from international trade.
It is certainly an interesting report: at the beginning of last year, IBN blogger Robert Tollast argued that ISIS was on a losing streak, perhaps an over optimistic prediction at the time. But as time goes by, that is looking increasingly to be the case.
(Source: Foreign Policy.)