ISIS Making Hundreds of Millions of Dollars through Extortion

The United States and its allies have been trying to cut off ISIS’s funding. We’ve been targeting oil trucks being used by ISIS to smuggle and sell the crude oil from the wells they control, which is reportedly bringing in about $500 million. We’ve tried to cut off other funding via sanctions against them and businesses they use. ISIS has also been looting some banks with a reported one time take of around $1 billion. ISIS has also been stealing, smuggling and selling numerous antiques, netting millions of dollars.

Yet it has recently been revealed that the Islamic terrorist group has been using another avenue to fund their reign of terror upon the world.

Remember the days here in America when criminal gangs and organized crime syndicates forced business owners to pay for protection or face the consequences? ISIS is using the same type of extortion for those individuals and businesses in the areas they control.

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American and European intelligence officials are saying that ISIS has been extorting millions of dollars from those trying to live within the ISIS controlled regions. So, they are reporting that ISIS has taken in around $900 million just through their extortion efforts. The extortion is more than just a protection racket, but part of it is done under the guise of being a legitimate government.

Business Insider explains:

“Since ISIS markets itself as a legitimate state complete with the functions of any other government bureaucracy, the militants have created a complex financial system to extract as much money as possible from people and businesses. ISIS charges import taxes, rent for businesses, fines for breaking laws, utility bills, and income tax.

The Times provided examples of how ISIS runs this operation inside its territory:

  • In a neighborhood in Mosul, Iraq, ISIS has transformed a police station into a market and charges vendors 2.8 million Iraqi dinars, or roughly $2,500, per year to rent a stall.

  • In ISIS’ de facto capital of Raqqa, Syria, the “Office of Services” collects a “cleaning tax” of about 2,500 to 5,000 Syrian pounds, or about $7 to $14, from merchants.

  • ISIS also charges for utilities like water and electricity, and residents go to “collection points” to pay their bills. Those usually total about 800 Syrian pounds, or roughly $2.50, for electricity, and 400 pounds, or about $1.20, for water.

  • ISIS’ “Office of Resources” controls the group’s oil and smuggling operations, in addition to businesses like soft-drink plants, mobile-phone companies, textile and furniture workshops, and factories that produce chemicals, cement, and tiles.

  • ISIS also skims revenue from small businesses, demanding a cut of their profits.

  • ISIS charges an income tax of about 10%.

  • ISIS imposes fines and fees for services or infractions including car registration, college textbooks, traffic violations, and smoking.”

The question being asked is not how to stop the extortion and taxation income stream but how long can such a funding source remain viable. The people only have so much money and from the reports, most of it is going to ISIS.

One thing is certain; ISIS is probably the best funded terrorist organization in history. They are operating as a well-structured and organized government. They have different departments responsible for different areas just like most other countries do. Until that government structure can be destroyed, ISIS will continue to be a very well-funded organization, making them one of the most dangerous terrorist organizations in history.

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