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.