Fish farms & car dealerships: ISIS increasingly relies on unconventional revenue sources – report

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Fish farming and car dealing have become an alternative money generating resources for ISIS, after Russian and US-led strikes severely crippled the terrorist’s “traditional” oil smuggling businesses in Syria and Iraq, a new report has revealed.

In order to close a huge gap in once prosperous $2.9 billlion oil trading scheme, the Islamic State (IS, Daesh, formerly ISIS/ISIL) has now increasingly relies on running a network of fishing farms in hundreds of lakes north of Baghdad generating millions of dollars a month, a report by Iraq's central court of investigation said. The new revenue stream also comes from the captured car dealerships and factories which once belonged to the Iraqi government.

“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,” a report by Iraq’s central court of investigation said, according to Reuters.

The report does not mention the total sum of IS losses in oil profits, but the latest figures released by analytical agency IHS claims that the jihadists’ revenue has fallen by around a third since last summer to just over $55 million a month.

Running fish farms is not new for extremists in the region, who adopted the Al-Qaeda practice which have been used since at least 2007. Militant forces either take over operations at the abandoned farms or threaten the locals into sharing the profits.

In addition to fish farms, ISIS also imposes a 10 percent tax on agricultural products or any other food stuffs that enters the territory under their control.

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

“Daesh treats its northern Baghdad province as a financial center; it is its primary source of financing in the capital in particular,” Judge Jabbar Abid al-Huchaimi said in the report.

Another form of financing ISIS' bloody activities comes from car dealerships and factories.

“In the recent period, Daesh has gone back to using government factories in the areas it controls – like Mosul – for financial returns,” Huchaimi said.

Yet at the same time, the report added that oil smuggling from Syrian refineries is still the group's primary source of financing. All of the funds rendered by IS are channeled to Mosul city where the jihadist “finance ministry” is located. The money is then distributed to its fighters and their family members in other lands, who besides salaries receive rent reimbursements and other financial perks.

“The organization distributes money to areas outside its control through hawala (transfer) offices first in Erbil and from there to Iraq’s other provinces,” Huchaimi said.