On September 24th, CENTCOM released a statement that US, Saudi, and UAE jets and drones have taken out several oil refineries under the control of IS. The refineries, located in Syria, produce 300-500 barrels of refined oil per day, accounting for up to $2 million in daily revenue for the organization. This was an important strike as it targeted the main funding source of IS, not the militants. It is obviously difficult to figure out how much IS is worth, butit is estimated that they are making $3 million a day
IS uses a myriad of ways to gain funds, such as kidnappings, selling antiquities, and donations, but oil accounts for most of their income. Although IS masquerades as a religious organizations, it operates the same as any other crime syndicate; by gaining funds via racketeering, theft, ransom, smuggling, and extorting. They portray themselves an a functioning state, that collects taxes and provides services, but instead act as a ‘mafia state’, skimming profits off of businesses and looting towns. Locals may at first be open to IS controlling their local economy due to their distrust of their own government, but at time it is apparent that IS is no better.
Due to their hybrid form of funding, cutting off IS’s financial backings will be difficult. But destroying their access to oil will greatly diminish their funds. And without this level of funding, they won’t be able to afford to keep up their vast operation, which includes weaponry, housing, salaries, and vehicles.