Russian Allegations Bring Renewed Focus On Islamic State Oil Smuggling

Russia’s allegation on 2 December that it had proof of Turkey purchasing oil from ‘Islamic State’ has brought the spotlight firmly back on the group’s revenue stream.

Often labeled the world’s wealthiest terrorist group, the fact is that it also has considerable expenses. The group purportedly pays its fighters $400 a month, along with supplying them with fuel. Other outgoings include running schools, hospitals and local government in the territories that it governs.

The extent of the group’s revenues remains unclear, but the consensus is that it is largely self-financing. Whereas other terrorist organizations have depended on external sources of finances, that can be closed down by the US and other third parties, the Islamic State (IS) generates considerable revenue through oil, the sale of antiquities and the taxation of those living in areas under its control.


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