Fish Farms and Car Dealerships: ISIS Diversifies in Iraq

Officials Say ISIS Used Fish Farming Since 2007

Whether it was a question of attacking a bunch of oil tankers or just physically blowing up a big stack of paper money, the US has presented the war on ISIS financing as a decidedly straightforward affair. A new Iraqi report, however, shows that ISIS is far more diversified than that, and getting ever moreso.

As far back as 2007, officials now believe, ISIS has been using fish farming, in the major fishing lakes north of Baghdad to make ends meet. It’s a multi-million dollar enterprise, and just one of many for resourceful ISIS militants.

Car dealerships and some factories in ISIS territory, once run by the Iraqi government, are now being operated by ISIS instead, another source of considerable revenue for the group as it continues to sustain its war-fighting enterprise.

Beyond such novel businesses, ISIS is also said to be relying on more straightforward taxation as a way to generate funding, with the group taxing production from farmland in its territory and also levying a fee on imports smuggled into the region.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of