ISIS turns to selling fish and cars to offset oil losses

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©Reuters - Islamic State - Daesh - ISIS Flag
A flag belonging to the Islamic State fighters is seen on a motorbike after forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad recaptured the historic city of Palmyra, in Homs Governorate in this handout picture provided by SANA on March 27, 2016. REUTERS/SANA/Handout via Reuters
©Reuters - Islamic State - Daesh - ISIS Flag
A flag belonging to the Islamic State fighters is seen on a motorbike after forces loyal to Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad recaptured the historic city of Palmyra, in Homs Governorate in this handout picture provided by SANA on March 27, 2016. REUTERS/SANA/Handout via Reuters

This made me laugh so hard despite the fact that it is a very serious report from Reuters. I am imagining a mujahid with a tray on his head talmbout “Come and buy your fish!!! One fish five dollars!” Of course the fish would be in dollars in my twisted mind to annoy ISIS, but let’s proceed.

So according to Reuters, Islamic State now earns millions of dollars a month running car dealerships and fish farms in Iraq, making up for lower oil income after its battlefield losses, Iraqi judicial authorities said on Thursday.

Security experts once estimated the ultra-radical Islamist group’s annual income at $2.9 billion (£2 billion), much of it coming from oil and gas installations in Iraq and Syria.

Recent US-led air strikes, however, have struck at the heart of their financial infrastructure, inhibiting the ability to extract, refine and transport oil. This has led to the pay cuts that were previously discussed here on Viva Naija.

The financial crisis has forced the terrorist group’s hand into reviving previous profit-turning ventures like farming and trade.

Okay, so it would seem that it is not the petty trading I had in mind, but it must stand to reason that this distraction from the main focus must further weaken the group and the increased in-fighting certainly cannot have helped.

“The terrorists’ current financing mechanism has changed from what it was before the announcement of the caliphate nearly two years ago,” a report by Iraq’s central court of investigation said, quoting Judge Jabbar Abid al-Huchaimi.

“After the armed forces took control of several oil fields Daesh was using to finance its operations, the organisation devised non-traditional ways of paying its fighters and financing its activities,” the report added, using an Arabic acronym for Islamic State.

Fishing in hundreds of lakes north of Baghdad generates millions of dollars a month, according to the report. Some owners fleeing the area abandoned their farms while others agreed to cooperate with Islamic State to avoid being attacked.

“Daesh treats its northern Baghdad province as a financial centre; it is its primary source of financing in the capital in particular,” Huchaimi said. Islamic State carries out frequent bombings in Baghdad against security forces and Shi’ite residents.

 

The Iraqi report, based in part on the confessions of captured Islamic State suspects, described how funds were funnelled to Bayt al-Mal, the group’s finance ministry, in the northern city of Mosul and then distributed to its provinces.

“The organisation distributes money to areas outside its control through hawala (transfer) offices first in Erbil and from there to Iraq’s other provinces,” Huchaimi said.

The report said that in addition to salaries, Islamic State fighters may receive rent allowances, financial rewards for up to four children and occasional bonuses like one worth $1,000 distributed after the militants captured Mosul in 2014.

It can’t be easy running a war, especially a long, drawn out one. You have to buy warfare, pay for consultants, strategists and generals, training, and then feed and take care of your soldiers.

No how no how that ISIS will not eventually start selling chickens and maybe hawking Gala.

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