According to Iraq’s finance minister Islamic State (IS) is nearly bankrupt and is running out of money to pay its fighters.
Few years back at its peak, IS was the richest terrorist organization in the world – with a huge network of criminal enterprises to finance its network.
The oil fields it captured in northern Iraq, and later set fire to, still belch out thick and acrid smoke.
But after the group retreated, it destructed them to smoke shields and make it more difficult for coalition jets to carry out airstrikes.
Oil smuggling was perhaps the group’s biggest source of income.But it also taxed and extorted money out of the local population.
According to the estimate of former Iraqi finance minister, Hoshyar Zebari that IS was making $3m to $5m (£2.3m to £4m) every day.
“They were taxing every business – they were taxing every shop, every pharmacy, every activity – not to mention the money they stole from the Iraqi banks and they were a very, very rich organisation. Now, I think they are on the retreat and they are broke. Also they are losing ground, so this battle in Mosul is decisive to end their caliphate – to end their so-called Islamic State”, said Zebari.
IS brought a damage to Iraq which brought a massive human and economic cost – but culturally, it has also been disastrous.
The head of antiquities for the province of Nineveh, Layla Salih, said what IS has done is devastating. They have not dealt with this type of destruction before, and face a “big challenge” during the restoration process.
IS was rich in resources and money.
But it seems that with the caliphate almost finished in Iraq and shrinking in Syria, its days of being able to pay and command large numbers of fighters are coming to an end.