US official: ‘Islamic State’ a petrostate

The “Islamic State” has amassed wealth at an unprecedented pace, according to a US Treasury official. IS earns about $1 million a day from black market oil sales alone.

David Cohen, US treasury undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, said the “Islamic State” (IS) pulls in 790,000 euros daily, selling up to 50,000 barrels produced in captured refineries.

Speaking to the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, DC, Thursday, Cohen said the group took in at least $20 million in ransom payments this year from kidnappings. He said IS gets several million dollars a month from wealthy donors, extortion rackets and other criminal activities, such as robbing banks.

“With the important exception of some state-sponsored terrorist organizations, ISIL is probably the best-funded terrorist organization we have confronted,” Cohen said, using the acronym for IS’s former name.

IS gets only a small share of funding from deep-pocket donors and therefore does not depend primarily on moving money across international borders. The IS obtains most of its revenue through criminal and terrorist activities, Cohen said. For example, in Mosul, Iraq, IS reportedly goes door-to-door, business-to-business, demanding cash at gunpoint, he said.

“They rob banks,” Cohen said. “They lay waste to thousands of years of civilization in Iraq and Syria by looting and selling antiquities. They steal livestock and crops from farmers. And, despicably, they sell abducted girls and women as sex slaves.”

Full article: US official: ‘Islamic State’ a petrostate (Deutsche Welle)

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