Terrorist groups need a steady influx of money in order pursue to their deadly agendas. ISIL or DAESH is no exception. Indeed, one of the ways DAESH leaders bring in significant revenue for their personal gain is through high taxes on conquered populations.
DAESH levies taxes on goods and commerce that enter and transit areas they control. According to a report by the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering, this includes a “road tax of $200 in northern Iraq and an $800 ‘customs’ tax on trucks entering Iraq long the Syrian and Jordanian borders.”
Furthermore, the U.S. government estimates that ISIL generates hundreds of millions of dollars per year by extorting the local population and all commercial activity taking place in the territory it controls.
What moves DAESH’s Emirs are their love for money and their seeking of power, not religion.”
These exorbitant taxes imposed by DAESH are unlawful. The tax revenues collected do not provide people living under DAESH’s rule with basic services or healthcare, but instead impede their access to doctors, medicine, and treatment.”
The Iraqi Parliament tasked a committee to investigate DAESH’s tax system. It found that DAESH has earned roughly $11 million monthly from taxes imposed on the residents of Nineveh Province. Residents of Mosul who use electric generators have paid DAESH a $200 fee each to use them. And DAESH has taxed wholesale fruits and vegetables, earning about $200,000 monthly.
DAESH also taxes oil and cement trucks and goods transported. Oil and gas is sold to local customers, smugglers and to the Assad regime, generating hundreds of millions of dollars per year for ISIL.
DAESH has imposed taxes on farmers in Tal Hamis, and Al-Hassakah, Syria. The terrorist group lies and tells farmers that the taxes it collects are for “Zakat”, the Islamic almsgiving. DAESH has also fined farmers for collusion with DAESH’s enemies.
DAESH defectors corroborate the terrorist organization’s corrupt practices. Saddam Al-Jamal, a former Emir and a DAESH defector said, “What moves DAESH’s Emirs are their love for money and their seeking of power, not religion.”
Undercutting DAESH’s financial strength remains a key element of the United States’ strategy to ultimately degrade and defeat ISIL. That is why we are working with a coalition of 65 countries in a multi-faceted effort to counter ISIL.