This Is How ISIS Makes And Spends Its Money


Isis is considered to be the most dangerous threat since the Nazis, and is one of the richest terrorist organisations in the world. But how do they make money, and what makes them tick?

Well, some new figures shed light on the jihadi group showing that Isis could be in trouble, as they are currently spending as much as they make.

Isis is attempting to wage a war on the West and after the Paris massacres a few weeks ago, it shows that they certainly have the facilities to try and make this happen.


They’re also trying to establish its own form of government in Iraq and Syria under its control and to do this they need some serious cash flow. Until now, it seemed they had those financial capabilities.

However, despite the controversy behind airstrikes and how they affect Syrian civilians, they seem to finally be taking their toll on the terrorist group.

Nour Fourat/Reuters

According to analysis – carried out by IHS Global Strategies – Isis had an income of roughly £52 million per month in the second half of 2015. But recently, they have had to cut costs on fighters in other areas. Understandably though, this hasn’t been verified by the group.

Unlike other terrorist organisations – who rely on wealthy donors – it uses the territory they have taken over to establish a variety of revenue streams that are harder to block.

So, you’re probably asking. Where does their money actually come from? Well firstly, oil. About 43 per cent of their revenue comes from oil, extracted in Syria and Iraq.

Although they can’t sell this on the open market, they use smugglers and middlemen to make it possible. The underground market they uses also allows them to get more money from drugs as well.

George Esiri/EPA

Secondly, they make some dollar from taxes. According to the IHS, around half of Isis revenue comes from non-voluntary tax on goods and services from Muslims who earn a certain income.

The New York Times reported that the normal is 2.5 per cent of a person’s wealth, but the group are taking 10 per cent, using the war with the West as their needs for justification.


Finally, crimes such as drugs, robberies and kidnappings make up the extra revenue. In 2014, the group stole a staggering $1 billion, but they are most known for kidnapping and holding several people hostage. The group demanded huge ransoms before the executions of aid workers and others.

So what do they spend these huge sums on? Well, their fighters themselves are paid between £265 and £600 per month- this is more than the Iraqi government offers some of its staff members. They also add a regular flow of money to the militants’ families.

Medyan Dairieh

However, U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry said that in recent month fighters have suffered a 75% pay cut due to lower smuggling and oil sales.

When the group first emerged, the network reportedly seized hundreds of US-made weapons, including Hummer military vehicles as well as Soviet tanks.


Propaganda is a huge part of what has made the group the size it is today, spreading their messages of hate online has come at a cost though, with IHS analysis showing the group spends around 3 per cent of its entire budget on producing media.

As well as planning terrorist atrocities throughout the world, Isis also runs schools, a religious police force, an Islamic court system and food kitchens.


The Washington Post also reported that the group also sets and approves yearly budgets and has a ‘financial officer’ that manages its accounts.

It has even established a central bank and has plans of using its own currency, showing that it is pretty serious about creating  it’s own so-called Islamic government.


These are pretty terrifying times, we can only hope that these sources of revenue are identified and blocked. It may be the only way we can defeat Isis.