The financial reports about the funding of the terrorist group ISIS suggest an unprecedented magnitude of wealth that has been accumulated by the group. Apart from its illegal oil trafficking revenues, which generates 30 to 60 million dollars each month, the militant group has added about 25 million dollars to its financial reserves in the form of ransoms. The group continues to grow in number with supporters from over 80 countries joining the cause.
Most of the resources are generated by the ISIS held regions and this significantly compounds the problem of stemming the inflow of financial resources to ISIS. The most important one being the illegal trafficking of oil from ISIS captured territory, across the Syrian and the Iraqi borders.
The biggest market of oil is presently in Turkey due to the countries incredibly high oil prices. Many reports have suggested that the oil is smuggled through the Turkish/Syrian border. ISIS is thought to be in control of approximately a dozen oil producing wells in the regions it has captured. The revenues being generated from this illegal oil trafficking of the oil has been assessed in value of up to two million dollars per day.
These figures have dropped as of result of the US leading an air strike on the oil fields being controlled by ISIS in an effort to curb the financial resources flowing to the extremist militant group. These attacks have, however, not been very effective against ISIS while the people in the region continue to suffer.
Oil trafficking is not the only source of income for the extremist group. ISIS receives substantial amounts in donations from its supporters all over the world. They have also resorted to the use of social media to appeal for funds from their supporters, which has also led to recruitment of many devotees. These believers in the ISIS cause are strategically placed worldwide in an effort to generate more funds.
Though they deny it vehemently, the group is also involved in criminal activities like looting in its captured territories, which is another source of income for the group. The looting of banks in Iraq and Syrian occupied territories has added millions of dollars to the ISIS’ funding reservoirs, according to financial analysts.
From withdrawal of money from the banks to toll tax collection from the local residents of the ISIS controlled territories are taxed heavily which further adds to their funding resources. Together these funding resources have made ISIS one of the most resourceful, extremist militant groups of all time, allowing them to increase the scope of their activities.
In the middle of last year, the United Nations Security council unanimously reached the decision of imposing resolution 2170 whereby the extensive abuse of human rights in the ISIS held territories was condemned and the countries were called upon to play an effective role in curbing the financial, as well as social media support of ISIS originating from these regions.
In its efforts to isolate the ISIS terrorists, earlier this year UN Security Council took significant steps whereby the financial resources of the group were to be targeted. The condemned funding methods included black market oil trafficking, international donations and looted resources from the occupied territories.
The Council has declared that any country that has trade involvement with ISIS will be considered support for the terrorist organization. Thus measures have been taken to ensure that the ISIS funds and accounts have been frozen all over the world. In addition, adding the leaders of ISIS to the terrorist watch list significantly limits their free movement across the globe.
The Council has also expressed its concern over the looting of items that hold cultural heritage from the occupied regions and have strictly advised the countries not to participate in the trade of these items.
The council has developed a policy that it is a breach of international law for anyone who funds ISIS with foreign private donations, in addition to anyone who pays a ransom for an individual that has been kidnapped.
ISIS is one of the most dangerous and calculating terrorist groups that the world has ever witnessed. Defeating them will require all countries to work together, concentrating their efforts on this important cause, albeit time consuming, it will ultimately result in the restoration of peace to the Middle East and the world at large.