By Micah HalpernI've Been Thinking:
How is ISIS getting their money and paying for their ever increasing numbers of recruits and fighters. The CIA has now increased their assessment of ISIS as having as many as 31,500 fighters, up from 10,000 at the beginning of the summer.
So, how does ISIS get their money? Aside from stealing $1.2 billion from the banks when they entered Mousol, ISIS has other means of raising money.
ISIS taxes with a "zakat" which is, supposedly, alms for the poor - but in their case, the tax goes to salaries. Zakat is one of the pillars of Islam and is best translated as charity or, in Hebrew, tzedaka. ISIS goes to every store and demands the tax. They set up road blocks on the highways and call them toll stations. They demand the zakat at gunpoint.
ISIS also has oil. They have 4-5 oil fields in Iraq and Syria. Each field has 40-70 wells. The fields and wells are operated by locals who worked for the oil companies.
ISIS is pumping 25,000 barrels per day (bpd). They are selling locally. They are selling at severely below market value, at cut-rates that are 50%-75% below price - at $25-$60 a barrel. That brings in a staggering $625,000 to $1.5 million per day.
That is per day. This is one of the reasons ISIS is recruiting so successfully. They pay very well. And that is the magnet that draws recruits from all over the world.
There is no question that at this stage ISIS has much, much, more money and better funding than Al Qaeda.
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