Donald Trump has made his plan to fight ISIS clear: bomb the s–t out of them – and take their oil! It’s refreshing to hear – especially compared to Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton who won’t even do as much as acknowledge that ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) is Islamic.
The oil trade makes up a large chunk of ISIS revenue, so drying up the supply of or taking the oil they’ve stolen would severely deprive them of funds.
Following the recapture of Shargat and Qayyarah – two oil-rich towns in northern Iraq – by the Iraqi army, ISIS no longer holds an oil well in Iraq, forcing the terrorist group to rely on other resources as it suffers from a lack of fuel.
For the past two years, ISIS operated several oil wells in Iraq, selling some of the oil as well as using it to fulfill their internal needs.
The Iraqi armed forces drove the last nail into the coffin of ISIS’ oil resources in Iraq when they retook the oilfields of Shargat and Qayyarah, leaving the militants unable to produce oil in Iraq and unable to smuggle oil out of Iraq and for sale.
“Iraq is no more a home to oil for ISIS. Not only is the group unable to sell oil, but also they want to buy it in order to maintain its activities,” said Dr. Bewar Khinsi, an economic adviser to the Kurdistan Region’s intelligence agency.
There is now very little oil in Iraq owned by ISIS “from its stores in its controlled areas, notably Hamam Alil, which they take advantage of for their refineries,” he suggested, referring to a town which is in northern Mosul.
Qayyara was home to 62 oil wells and an estimated five billion barrels of oil yet untapped. This strategic area was liberated from the group last month. ISIS set fire to the oil as they retreated.
Losing the oilfields has severely weakened ISIS’ finances. It can no longer obtain the revenue that it used to gain after its initial rapid expansion through large swathes of northern and western Iraq. ISIS now largely depends on resources in Syria for income.
“The oil ISIS holds in Syria constitutes 70% of its total income as they hold six key oilfields in the country,” Khinsi explained.
In Syria, ISIS holds three significant oilfields. Of the 80,000 barrels ISIS produces on a daily basis, it sells 50,000 through smuggling and “each barrel sells for $15 to $20.”
According to Khinsi’s figures, the extremist group makes an estimated $750,000 daily and $22.8 million per month.
That should put a bit of a dent into their finances. America is also currently launching airstrikes against places where ISIS is believed to store cash (as you can imagine, terrorist groups don’t exactly have access to traditional banks). As of April, an estimated $800 million of ISIS‘ cash had been destroyed. Before we can defeat them physically, they’re going to be suffering a defeat financially, which could cause them to implode too.
What do you think? Will ISIS just find a new way to make money? Let us know your thoughts in the comments and share this post on Facebook and Twitter.