نشر في: 29 April 2016
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Would you buy a used car from this jihadist?

Amman – Al-Israa News – Tom Wyke - ISIS has been earning millions of dollars a month by selling used cars and running fish farms in Iraq in order to make up for its fall in oil income.

ISIS's annual income was once thought to be as high as $2.9 billion at its peak, with much of its wealth coming from the oil-rich fields and gas plants in Iraq and Syria.

The U.S.-led coalition airstrikes coupled with significant defeats at Ramadi, Sinjar and Baiji has put pressure on ISIS's sources of finance.

Unable to sell oil in such vast quantities, the jihad group has been forced to impose strict rationing measures of electricity on its residents and forced fighters to reportedly take significant pay cuts.

'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 organization devised non-traditional ways of paying its fighters and financing its activities,' the report added.

Fishing in hundreds of lakes north of Baghdad generates millions of dollars a month, according to the report. 

Some fish farm owners abandoned their business when the jihadi group invaded while others agreed to cooperate with ISIS to avoid being attacked.

'Daesh treats its northern Baghdad province as a financial center; 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 militants also tax agricultural land and impose a 10 percent levy on poultry and other duties on a range of imports into their territory, it added.

'Recently there has been reliance on agricultural lands in areas outside the control of the (Iraqi) security forces through taxes imposed on farmers.'

New revenues are also being generated from car dealerships and factories once run by the Iraqi government in areas seized by the militants.

Those have helped offset the losses from lower oil income, though perhaps only partially. The U.S.-based analysis firm IHS said last week that Islamic State revenues had fallen by around a third since last summer to around $56 million a month.

'In the recent period, Daesh has gone back to using government factories in the areas it controls - like Mosul - for financial returns,' Huchaimi said, but added that oil smuggling from Syrian refineries remains the group's primary source of international financing.

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

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



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