Analysts from the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) in London are predicting “medium-term” financial problems for ISIS, with reduced oil revenues the primary source of such prediction.
“Two or three months ago, people were talking about $2 million or $3 million a day, but now the latest estimates say it’s just $1 million a day,” one analyst said of estimates of ISIS oil revenues.
That can be explained on two fronts, with the price of oil having dropped dramatically over the past several months, and US warplanes destroying a number of the privately-owned refineries in ISIS territory.
Oil is only one aspect of ISIS’ revenues, however, as they also make money from donations (which are also reportedly down, likely owing to them coming largely from people in oil-rich nations), extortion/taxation, and revenue from grain production.
Grain production is likely to be increasingly important going forward, as ISIS controls a large chunk of the grain production in Iraq, and a number of granaries in both Iraq and Syria. This may require locals in the rest of Iraq in particular to buy from ISIS territory, and expect ISIS to ensure it gets a chunk of the profits.