ISIS cashing in on sales of Iraqi crude

Print Friendly

By Shaymaa Adel

Azzaman, July 4, 2014

The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) is smuggling Iraqi crude and in large quantities, enabling it to earn enough income to run its combat operations in in the country, a parliamentary commission has found.

Iraqi parliament’s Oil and Energy Commission said ISIS was operating a fleet of tanker trucks to sell crude from oil wells it has occupied and the pipelines running through its territory in the country.

“This is a new threat to Iraq’s economic security … ISIS is seeking ways to finance its terrorist operations and is using smuggling of oil as a means,” said Susan al-Saad, a commission member.

She said ISIS militants were not only engaged in fighting. They, she added, were busy filling in their fleet of tanker trucks with crude and ferrying it to Syria.

ISIS has swept through northern and western Iraq and is almost in full control of the province of Nineveh, of which the city of Mosul is the capital, as well as the provinces of Salahudeeen and Anbar.

It currently operates all the border post between Iraq and Syria.

The Jihadist group occupies large swaths of territory in the province of Diyala and the oil-rich Province of Kirkuk.

“The deteriorating security conditions in the northern areas particularly in the provinces of Kirkuk and Nineveh have made possible for terrorist elements to target oil wells and oil pipelines,” Saad said.

She said ISIS militants were also targeting pipelines carrying oil by-products that originate in Baiji, site of Iraq’s largest refinery.

ISIS was selling by-products locally and smuggling crude oil to Syria, she added.

“An end must be put to such violations” by ISIS, Saad said.

The deputy did not mention any figures on the income ISIS collected through its oil-smuggling activities, but such operations were reported to be a major source of financing for the terror group in Syria.

“ISIS terrorist gangs are in need of resources to finance their wars and armed operations. Therefore they are smuggling oil from oil fields in the provinces where they are present.”

“Selling oil is considered a lucrative economic source and this is what armed terrorist groups are after,” Saad said.

Residents in Mosul told the newspaper that ISIS was exploiting at least two oil fields in the Province of Nineveh, namely Najma and Qaiyara.

They said ISIS was using a fleet of truck tankers to ferry the crude to Syria and has so far earned more $10 million from the smuggling of crude from these two oil wells.

The residents spoke on condition of anonymity as they feared retaliation by ISIS, which overrun Mosul on June 10.