The Islamic State terrorist group is raking in up to $50 million a month from the sales of crude from oilfields under its control in Iraq and Syria, according to Iraqi intelligence and U.S. officials.
The militant group’s oil boom, highlighted by the Associated Press on Friday, demonstrates a well-run terrorist industry that U.S. diplomacy and airstrikes have so far failed to shut down.
The oil sales are the extremists’ largest single source of continual income and are a key reason the group has been able to maintain their control over their self-declared “caliphate” over Iraq and Syria.
Islamic State militants sell crude to smugglers at prices that vary between $10 and $35 per barrel, Iraqi intelligence officials told the Associated Press. The international price of oil is about $50 per barrel.
The smugglers then sell the oil to middlemen in Turkey, or, according to one Iraqi official, to individuals in Kurdish areas of Iraq, as well. A Kurdish politician denied the claim.
The extremists were believed to have extracted about 30,000 barrels a day in Syria, and about 10,000 to 20,000 barrels per day in Iraq, according to AP.