Report: Islamic State Desperate as Lost Territory Triggers 30% Drop in Revenue

European terror attacks
AP Photo/Mohammad Hannon

A new report has found that the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) has lost 30 percent of its income due to lost territory and revenue.

“Our research has found that the Islamic State is increasing taxes on basic services and coming up with new ways to get money from the population,” explained Columb Strack, a senior analyst at IHS. “These taxes include tolls for truck drivers, fees for anyone installing new or repairing broken satellite dishes, and ‘exit fees’ for anyone trying to leave a city.”

Their leaders have attempted to raise revenue by implementing “new fines and taxes” and fining criminals instead of sentencing them to death. The group is allegedly generating $56 million a month instead of their previous monthly profit of $80 million.

“Islamic State is still a force in the region, but this drop in revenue is a significant figure and will increase the challenge for the group to run its territory in the long term,” said Ludovico Carlino, a senior analyst at IHS.

IHS also found that the Islamic State population “has fallen to around 6 million to 9 million.”

The United States-led coalition has destroyed numerous oil fields connected to the Islamic State, leading to only 21,000 barrels instead of 33,000.

“The Islamic State has lost about 22 percent of its territory in the past 15 months,” continued Strack. “Its population has declined from around nine million to around six million. There are fewer people and business activities to tax; the same applies to properties and land to confiscate.”

Some of the new fines include driving on the wrong side of the road or providing wrong answers on the Koran.

Pentagon officials recently told the New York Times that their diminished strength in the Middle East has led Islamic State officials to finance cheap attacks across Europe. Last December, Army Col. Steve Warren, the spokesman for the coalition, said the airstrikes shut down the majority of the group’s lucrative black market oil business.

“Coalition forces curbed ISIS capacity in the export of oil by 90 percent,” he declared.

However, the airstrikes have only liquidated “10 depots where the Islamic State stored hard currency.” Some officials said one attack in January ruined “tens of millions of dollars.” Others did not express the same optimism.

“There’s a lot less certainty about how much money actually evaporated,” insisted Howard Shatz, senior economist at the RAND Corporation.

Russia’s ambassador to the United Nations alleged the Islamic State makes between $100-$200 million a year by selling priceless antiques they seize. Experts previously put the amount at $36 million a year. The Islamic State began profiting off the priceless items when they began their caliphate in 2014. Illegal antiques “[rank] third in global organized crime.”

Last summer, Facebook shut down a high number of Arabic-language pages when the owners tried to sell Syrian antiques stolen from areas controlled by the Islamic State. Online auction site eBay has also denied any knowledge of terrorists using the popular website to auction the antiques.

A company statement said that “eBay has absolutely zero interest in having illicit listings of cultural or historical goods appear on our platforms,” adding, “We’re currently looking into the claims of this letter. To date, we are not aware of any direct evidence of listings for items on eBay that resulted from ISIL looting or similar activity.”

Officials said the Islamic State cut salaries of the fighters in its caliphate. People who have left claim the cuts have caused low morale, but American officials say the terrorists can still pay their fighters.

“There is no simple tool to separate ISIL from its vast wealth,” said Daniel L. Glaser, assistant treasury secretary for terrorist financing.