Update: the world’s 10 richest terror groupsNovember 28, 2014
A new ranking of the best funded terrorist organizations has been published by Forbes Israel. The Islamic State of Iraq comes in first with a reported net worth of $2 billion, followed by Hamas at $1 billion, FARC in third place at $600 million, Hezbollah fourth, and the Taliban fifth. Money Jihad would have estimated a lower net worth for ISIS, and would have placed the Taliban higher on the list. Forbes Israel rates the Irish Republic Army at 9th place with $50 million, which Money Jihad believes is an overinflated figure, while the Belfast Telegraph reports that Forbes based that figure on information from the U.S. State Department and academics.
U.S. Treasury official David Cohen has said several times recently that ISIS is the best-financed terrorist group that is not funded by a state sponsor—a comment which tends to undermine the Forbes ranking by suggesting that Hamas and Hezbollah, which are funded by Iran, have more money than ISIS.
One common thread across most of the terrorist groups listed is their reliance on revenues from “taxes” that they believe are justified by the foundational texts of their ideologies. ISIS charges Iraqi businessmen taxes as a form of zakat and charges non-Muslims jizya. Hezbollah collects money much of its money through khums, the Shia tax on gains. Al-Shabaab collects checkpoint taxes and zakat on trade in keeping with taxes and customs duties levied by the caliphate of antiquity. The Taliban collects harvest taxes on opium and collects ransom money as authorized by the Koran. The FARC believes that expropriating the wealth of capitalists through extortion and ransom are in keeping with the writings of Marx and Engels.
Hat tip to Gisele for sending in coverage of the Forbes report.