- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Islamic State terrorist group is funded through a variety of means, but perhaps the most lucrative in its quest to set up caliphate in the heart of the Middle East is oil.

The U.S. Treasury and allies around the globe have worked to cut off private donations to the group, but the terrorist group’s internal financing will prove to be much more difficult to disrupt.

Luay Al-Khatteeb, a visiting fellow at the Brookings Doha Center, told Reuters Thursday that Islamic State has access to five oil fields in Iraq — 40 to 70 oil wells — and that it’s profiting from thousands of barrels of oil per day.

“They deal with a sophisticated network of middle men, some of whom are affiliated with the [Iraqi] oil companies. They have to pay various checkpoints to move around all these oil convoys and specifically to export the oil to Turkey,” Mr. Khatteeb told Reuters. “It is estimated that now, after recent territory losses, they can produce, give or take, 25,000 barrels per day, easily getting them about $1.2 million a day, on and off, even if they sell at a discount price of $25-$60 a barrel.”

The news service reported that the amount of oil that the Islamic State group now controls would be the equivalent of “a small offshore field on the north slope of Alaska.”

Islamic State’s decision to concentrate on financial centers and key commercial routes is paying huge dividends, perhaps to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars by the end of the year. Patrick Johnston of The New York Times told Reuters Thursday that oil revenue could help fill the group’s coffers to a $200 million surplus.

SEE ALSO: Watchdog: Fed’s denial of Islamic State Mexico threat ‘so dishonest’

“They’re making more money, they have less opposition militarily … the question is what are they going to do with it?” said Mr. Johnston, Reuters reported.

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