ISIS brings in about $80 million a month – or more than $2 million a day – but cracks are beginning to emerge in its finances, according to a new report.
U.S. efforts to target of the group’s revenue streams have begun to have an effect, according to a report from the research firm IHS. Signs are emerging that the group is struggling to fund itself, in the form of “cuts to fighters’ salaries, price hikes on electricity and other basic services, and the introduction of new agricultural taxes,” the report says.
As of late 2015, the group’s overall monthly revenue was determined to be around $80 million. About half of ISIS’s revenue comes from taxation and confiscation, while around 43 percent is generated from the production and smuggling of oil. The remainder is derived from drug and antiquities smuggling, the sale of electricity and donations.
The airstrikes by the U.S.-led international coalition, primarily targeting oilfields and the group’s refineries, are significantly damaging the group’s oil-refining capacity and ability to transport oil using tanker convoys.
ISIS is still able to produce oil but it is now forced to rely on markets inside of Syria and Iraq to smuggle and sell the oil. The group has lost its easy access to Turkey after attacks from the U.S. and its allies and efforts by the Turkish government to curb smuggling.
Although the focus on attacking the sources of oil revenue is working, the coalition is having more difficulty targeting the group’s tax revenues. ISIS charges a 20 percent tax within all of the territory it controls on economic activity and basic services, including retail, Internet access, industry and agriculture, electricity and mobile phone networks.
Unlike al-Qaeda, ISIS has not been dependent on foreign donors as a way to retain its autonomy. Revenue from external donations is much smaller compared to other sources of income.