MOSCOW, August 13 (RIA Novosti) - The Islamic State (IS) is likely the world’s wealthiest terrorist organization thanks to a large-scale racketing scheme that the organization has adopted in the 1990s, Yahoo Finance reported.
“ISIS [IS] has always been a very wealthy terrorist movement because it’s been running very large scale Mafiosi protection rackets all across Iraq for around five years now,” Yahoo Finance quoted Washington Institute’s fellow Michael Knights as saying.
Knights, who has been studying Iraq since the 1990s, estimates the Sunni group makes $2 million to $4 million per day. Reports of bank robbing are a disproved exaggeration according to Knights, and the real money is coming from oil operations.
The IS is running a cross-border oil export business which moves 30,000 to 40,000 barrels a day.
“They will take Iraqi-produced oil, take it to Syria, refine it and then export it via truck out of Turkey or even through Iran,” Knights said.
Despite IS’ lucrative operations, oil prices are not expected to increase globally, according to Yahoo Finance. Knights commented that southern Iraqi oil is protected due to its physical distance from the Islamic State, as well as the Shiite population surrounding the area.
According to The Washington Post, the jihadist group is operating more and more like a de facto state, governing the large amount of land across Syria and northern Iraq.
The amount of captured land, military weaponry and oil operations providing continuous funding make the terrorist organization powerful and, as a result, more dangerous than ever.
Regional analyst Brown Moses wrote on Twitter that the IS could potentially pay 60,000 fighters around $600 a year each, totaling $425 million, to fight for the group’s aim to establish a caliphate in the seized territories. Moses claims the IS can easily buy its way to victory.
Despite its powerful financial capacities, the IS might not need to pay for support. According to research by intelligence consultancy Soufan Group in June, the IS has attracted 12,000 militants from abroad, including 3,000 from the West.
The Islamic State is a Sunni group, also known as ISIL and ISIS, which launched an offensive in Iraq in June. The terrorist group has taken over large parts of Syria and Iraq, seizing weaponry and oil fields along the way. The group is targeting Baghdad and eventually the establishment of a caliphate in all Muslim countries.