Theft might not be enough for ISIL to sustain operations

Islamic State (IS) militants may ultimately lose the war in Iraq and Syria because they do not have enough money to run the territory under their control, despite holding assets worth more than $2 trillion, international terrorism experts said.

The cost of running an entire administration – paying civil servants and the military, maintaining roads, schools, hospitals, electricity and water networks – is far beyond the reach of Islamic State, said Charles Brisard, an expert on terrorist financing and a consultant on business intelligence.

"That means there will probably come a time when the population could turn against the Islamic State, which is not the case at the present moment, especially … in Iraq," Brisard said in an interview on Thursday.

Iraq's Sunni tribal leaders can decide the fate of IS, he added. In 2006 and 2007, they played a major role in fighting the group, then called al Qaeda in Iraq, with U.S. backing.

Since then, however, support for IS has grown, especially among Iraqi tribal leaders who resented being sidelined by former Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's Shi'ite majority government.
ISIL has responded to tribal rebellion with genocide.  The religious bigots are also having to deal with a bombing campaign aimed at their oil revenue.  Theft can only sustain their operations for a limited time and their harsh rule will make it harder for commerce to produce tax revenue.


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