US President Obama has pledged to cut off ISIS funding. With fuel smuggling across porous borders a lucrative business he will have his work cut out.

A Western visitor sitting in the lobby of a luxury hotel in the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) capital Erbil was recently approached by an Iraqi Shia businessman, presumed to be acting as a broker for the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS), offering to sell him cheap refined oil product originating in Baiji. The offer was declined but the incident raises a number of questions about the strange commercial alliances that have arisen since ISIS, in its new incarnation as the Islamic State, took over a large chunk of territory in Iraq and knocked down the border with Syria. (CONTINUED - 2517 WORDS)