The Islamic State brings in approximately one billion dollars annually. The terror group’s income is derived from oil revenue, high caliphate taxes, donations and theft. ISIS also earns money from selling oil, electricity and gas from dams and fields in Syria. And, even though sharia is the law of the caliphate, ISIS apparently sees nothing contradictory in growing and selling illegal drugs. Two thirds of the total revenue goes to funding the military. Additionally,foreigners are paid more than locals who join ISIS.
Despite the devastatingly high taxes those living in the caliphate reportedly pay,the NHS-style health care and other services are already coming apart at the seams.The taxes paid include flat-rate taxes on electricity, ‘hygiene services’, use of the telephone network and customs on imported and exported goods.
All of this is according to an investigation done by Financial Times, which revealed that ISIS has sufficient funds and predicted income to keep its military operations running at its current level for another three years.
From the beginning, ISIS received a considerable amount of help, financially, from American allies in the Persian Gulf region. For instance, The Daily Beast reported last year in June that, “ISIS has aligned itself with remnants of the Baathist regime once led by Saddam Hussein. Back in 1990, the U.S. attacked Iraq in order to liberate Kuwait from Hussein’s clutches. Now Kuwait is helping the rise of his successors.”
Eventually, ISIS began acquiring supplies such as American-made vehicles, weapons and ammunition. A significant amount of the Islamic State’s financial support, “came from wealthy individuals in the Arab Gulf States of Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Sometimes the support came with the tacit nod of approval from those regimes; often, it took advantage of poor money laundering protections in those states, according to officials, experts, and leaders of the Syrian opposition, which is fighting ISIS as well as the regime.”
Andrew Tabler, senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy commented that, “everybody knows the money is going through Kuwait and that it’s coming from the Arab Gulf.” He also noted that, “Kuwait’s banking system and its money changers have long been a huge problem because they are a major conduit for money to extremist groups in Syria and now Iraq.”
The fact that Kuwait has weak financial rules has provided a tremendous boost to ISIS, and other terror groups, by allowing donors in the country to channel hundreds of millions of dollars to finance terrorism.