Posts Tagged ‘Islamic taxation’

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ISIS fish farms supplement income

May 2, 2016

That and poultry, which in Iraq means chicken and pigeons.  The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is charging a 10 percent, or ushr, customs duty on imports.  The New York Times ran this story with a headline suggesting that ISIS was resorting to the fish farms to make up for lost oil revenues.  But in the text of the article, sources admit that Syrian oil refineries are still ISIS’s primary source of money.  Keep that cork in the champagne bottles, fellas.

Hat tip to El Grillo for sending the report, which is actually from Reuters:

BAGHDAD — Islamic State earns millions of dollars a month running car dealerships and fish farms in Iraq, making up for lower oil income after its battlefield losses, Iraqi judicial authorities said on Thursday.

Security experts once estimated the ultra-radical Islamist group’s annual income at $2.9 billion, much of it coming from oil and gas installations in Iraq and Syria.

The U.S.-led coalition has targeted Islamic State’s financial infrastructure, using air strikes to reduce its ability to extract, refine and transport oil and so forcing fighters to reportedly take significant pay cuts.

Yet the militants, who seized a third of Iraq’s territory and declared a caliphate in 2014, seem to be adapting again to this latest set of constraints, in some cases reviving previous profit-turning ventures like farming.

“The terrorists’ current financing mechanism has changed from what it was before the announcement of the caliphate nearly two years ago,” a report by Iraq’s central court of investigation said, quoting Judge Jabbar Abid al-Huchaimi.

“After the armed forces took control of several oil fields Daesh was using to finance its operations, the organization devised non-traditional ways of paying its fighters and financing its activities,” the report added, using an Arabic acronym for Islamic State.

Fishing in hundreds of lakes north of Baghdad generates millions of dollars a month, according to the report. Some owners fleeing the area abandoned their farms while others agreed to cooperate with Islamic State to avoid being attacked.

“Daesh treats its northern Baghdad province as a financial center; it is its primary source of financing in the capital in particular,” Huchaimi said. Islamic State carries out frequent bombings in Baghdad against security forces and Shi’ite residents.

SELLING CARS, RUNNING FACTORIES

Fish farms have supplied militants with income since 2007 when Islamic State’s al Qaeda predecessor fought U.S. occupation forces but the mechanism only came to the authorities’ attention this year, the report said.

The militants also tax agricultural land and impose a 10 percent levy on poultry and other duties on a range of imports into their territory, it added.

“Recently there has been reliance on agricultural lands in areas outside the control of the (Iraqi) security forces through taxes imposed on farmers.”

New revenues are also being generated from car dealerships and factories once run by the Iraqi government in areas seized by the militants.

Those have helped offset the losses from lower oil income, though perhaps only partially. The U.S.-based analysis firm IHS said last week that Islamic State revenues had fallen by around a third since last summer to around $56 million a month.

“In the recent period, Daesh has gone back to using government factories in the areas it controls – like Mosul – for financial returns,” Huchaimi said, but added that oil smuggling from Syrian refineries remains the group’s primary source of international financing…

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ISIS makes as much from taxes as oil

December 23, 2015

The Financial Times has conducted an investigation of the finances of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).  They concluded that ISIS makes “at least as much” money from taxation and extortion as they do from oil.  This is basically what Money Jihad has been pointing out about militant Islamist groups since the inception of this blog.  Jihadists that control territory tend to “live off the land.”  Traditional Islamic law gives them ample justification or cover for this behavior.

From FT on Dec. 14 (h/t El Grillo):

Even under jihadi rule, death and taxes remain the two great certainties of life. Some learn that the hard way.

As Isis officials announced a religious tithe known as zakat last summer, Mansour, a 26-year-old grocery storekeeper in eastern Syria, stalled payment while he tried to cook his books.

A week later, four Isis officials stormed into his shop, ordered him outside, and tallied the bill themselves — to his dismay they based their calculation on the retail price of his stock. There were no price tags on the tinned beef, so one tax collector rode around town on his motorbike comparing canned beef prices in other stores.

Five hours later, the audit was complete. The bill: 32,500 Syrian lira (about $108).

“They told me, ‘You liar . . . How will victory be achieved if you’re not paying zakat?’” Mansour told the Financial Times via an internet site. Like all those from Isis territory who were interviewed by the FT, Mansour requested that his real name be withheld for his safety.

Syria’s oil may ostensibly be the militant group’s most profitable resource but even if US, French and Russian planes succeed in trying to bring down its crude production, local revenues like taxes could keep the Isis economy churning. An FT investigation indicates Isis earns at least as much from taxation, extortion and confiscation as oil…

Read the rest of the FT article here which includes much more detail than the excerpt above.

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30 sugar smugglers ID’d as al-Shabaab financiers

May 8, 2015

Money Jihad readers may recall that Kenya recently sanctioned 86 people and 13 money transfer companies for their financial ties to the Somali terrorist group al-Shabaab. It has since been revealed that 30 of the sanctioned individuals are sugar smugglers. (Hat tips to Chris Pariso and El Grillo.)

The Star reports:

…A confidential government report seen by the Star says: “Most of the smuggled sugar enters the country [Kenya] from areas controlled by al Shabaab in Somalia. The sugar barons pay illegal levies (or protection fees) to al Shabaab, who in turn uses the proceeds to fund terrorist activities/operations…

Imposing taxes on businesses is a common al-Shabaab tactic. They do it on the charcoal supply chain, the telecommunications sector, the remittance industry, etc.  Sugar and charcoal tax rates are often based on the rate set for zakat in the Koran:  2½ percent.  Money Jihad has previously covered how lucrative the sugar trade has been for al-Shabaab here.

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ISIS money man describes 6-figure cash smuggling

May 4, 2015

Abu Hajjar, a high-ranking leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), has explains how he distributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to ISIS fighters in a recent interview with BBC Two.  Abu Hajjar also addresses what he calls the Islamic State’s principal source of revenue:  the taxation of businesses and commerce in the areas under ISIS’s control.  He concludes that ISIS will never run out of money as long as businesses are still operating in Iraq.

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Update: the world’s 10 richest terror groups

November 28, 2014
Money held by wealthy international terrorists - http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/187337#.VHC3_snQq0E

Graphic by Israel National News

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.

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Clandestine money news: recommended reading

October 9, 2014
  • Qatar is arming the revolutionary Islamist militia known as “Libya Dawn”… more>>
  • The international watchdog Financial Action Task Force finds that soccer and money laundering are a perfect match for each other… more>>
  • Arab Bank wasn’t the only financial institution funding Hamas.  Enter National Westminster Bank… more>>
  • How ISIS’s antiquities smuggling and the Islamic khums tax finance the blood-letting in Iraq and Syria… more>>
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ISIS taxing each long-haul trucker $800

September 28, 2014

Taxes make up increasing share of ISIS’s wealth

Trucks passing through Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) checkpoints on highways out of Iraq are being charged a tax of up to $800 per truck. Truckers are issued two tax stamps or receipts for their payments—one is shown at the next checkpoint as proof of payment, and the other is kept for the driver’s records. The taxes are in keeping with traditional Islamic tolls against merchants passing through the jurisdiction of an ‘ashir–a tax agent of an imam.

But ISIS hasn’t stopped there—they’re also collecting a tax on each bank withdrawal they authorize through ISIS-controlled banking committees in Mosul. If you’re an ordinary Mosul bank customer, you have to get permission from ISIS to withdraw your own money, and of course ISIS takes a cut along the way. ISIS probably justify their fees on the basis of reversing any “haram” interest that has accrued to depositors’ savings.

Thanks to Twitter user El Grillo for sending in both of the news items above.

The taxes suggest a deepening of ISIS’s territorial control, authority, expertise, and capacity to increase revenues domestically.  Forbes also reports that ISIS is taxing telecommunications networks and basic utilities.  Non-Muslims face the discriminatory jizya tax as well.

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