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ISIS Became The Richest Terrorist Group Ever By Raising Money Like A Mafia

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Islamic State militants, who once relied on wealthy Persian Gulf donors for money, have become a self-sustaining financial juggernaut, earning more than $3 million a day from oil smuggling, human trafficking, theft and extortion, according to U.S. intelligence officials and private experts.

The extremist group's resources exceed that "of any other terrorist group in history," said a U.S. intelligence official who, like others interviewed, spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss classified assessments. Such riches are one reason that American officials are so concerned about the group even while acknowledging they have no evidence it is plotting attacks against the United States.

The Islamic State group has taken over large sections of Syria and Iraq, and controls as many as 11 oil fields in both countries, analysts say. It is selling oil and other goods through generations-old smuggling networks under the noses of some of the same governments it is fighting: Kurdish-controlled northern Iraq, Turkey and Jordan.

While U.S. intelligence does not assess that those governments are complicit in the smuggling, the Obama administration is pressing them do to more to crack down. The illicit oil is generally transported on tanker trucks, analysts said.

"There's a lot of money to be made," said Denise Natali, who worked in Kurdistan as an American aid official and is now a senior research fellow at National Defense University. "The Kurds say they have made an attempt to close it down, but you pay off a border guard you pay off somebody else and you get stuff through."

The price the Islamic State group fetches for its smuggled oil is discounted —$25 to $60 for a barrel of oil that normally sells for more than $100 — but its total profits from oil are exceeding $3 million a day, said Luay al-Khatteeb, a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution's Doha Center in Qatar.

The group also has earned hundreds of millions of dollars from smuggling antiquities out of Iraq to be sold in Turkey, al-Khatteeb said, and millions more from human trafficking by selling women and children as sex slaves.

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Comments

  • Guest
    DJN Wednesday, 17 September 2014

    How about we buy the smuggled oil. put it in 55 gallon drums, strap a bomb to a drum and send it back to them via air mail. eventually they will get the idea.

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Guest Wednesday, 13 November 2019