A new report from UN Undersecretary-General Jeffrey Feltman warned today that despite a lot of talk of ISIS suffering major setbacks in recent weeks, the group is not being weakened strategically, and continues to attract large amounts of recruits internationally.
Feltman’s report conceded that airstrikes have put ISIS’ oil revenue under pressure, but that they have been able to significantly diversify their sources of funding, including smuggling antiquities and taxing the local population of their territory.
The report also says ISIS is converting its stores of local currency into gold and other tradable commodities, and seeking to increase the amount of revenue it generates from kidnapping and ransoming international hostages.
Rather than an ISIS in decline, the report says ISIS is moving to “a new phase,” trying to build up its affiliates, move its assets abroad, and send more returnees back to their countries of origin to launch attacks globally.
Offensives against ISIS, particularly in Fallujah, have also fueled a new round of fundraising efforts in Saudi Arabia, with Saudi Interior Ministry spokesman Maj. General. Mansour al-Turki insisting that the Saudis “cannot control the sympathies of people.”
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