As territory shrinks, Islamic State looks for new money sources
WASHINGTON — As the Islamic State group sees its territory shrink to half its original size and its dreams of a caliphate evaporate, the extremist fighters are losing access to the sources of revenue that once gave them their power, prompting them to turn to extortion, kidnapping or foreign donations like their predecessors, the militant group al-Qaida.
The Islamic State group had a unique ability to capitalize on the natural resources of its territory in Iraq and Syria and swiftly implement a system of taxation and governance that allowed it to rule an area that once was the size of Switzerland.
As the battle gets underway to retake Mosul, the group’s largest stronghold in Iraq, the Islamic State group is being denied access to revenue sources such as oil and gas and cash reserves that once amounted to more than $1 billion in 2014, said Daniel Glaser, the Treasury Department’s assistant secretary for terrorist financing.
With those resources slipping away, the Islamic State group is expected to revert to “traditional methods we see al-Qaida using — whether it’s deep-pocket donors, whether it’s charities, whether it’s NGOs, whether it’s criminal activity,” Glaser said in a recent discussion at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. – READ MORE