Recent American military operations this week against ISL have resulted in serious losses, and cuts on their oil revenues that will hopefully dry out the caliphate’s funding.
Primary financing for the Sunni militant group’s operations come from these well and refineries expropriated from the northern regions of Iraq and Syria. ISL has been able to make millions of off smuggling oil into Turkey where the price of oil exceeds the interest of who is selling it. Extensive smuggling routes, have allowed the group to circumvent many efforts by local municipalities to cut down on the flow of Islamic State oil. However Turkish, Kurdish, KRG (Kurdish Regional Government in northern Iraq) and United States forces have teamed up to fight ISIS, and began destroying oil facilities to stop the terrorist groups largest source of funding.
The united effort to put down ISIS has come with overwhelming alarm over the group’s expansion into parts of Turkey and further into Syria and Iraq. ISIS militants look to take over the bordering regions of Syria and Turkey, attacking outskirts of Kobani in Syria, forcing Kurdish forces to retreat. The U.S. led coalition has responded by dropping more airstrikes, which have killed 464 ISIS militants up to date.
But aside from airstrikes, taking out the substantial cash flow of ISL is the best way of threatening the group’s solidity. Without the millions that these oil fields give them, the group will slowly lose clout and be rendered unable to expand their control. Airstrikes will be manifestations of this effort but the question has risen as to whether a force like ISIS can be beaten by airstrikes and drones alone. Besides US and Syrian airstrikes the primary combatants against the Caliphate are Kurdish forces and the Free Syrian Army who have struggled to keep ISIS forces back.
While there are over 55 countries touting their support for the fight, many are yet to manifest their plans of support.
Concerning one of the best-funded terrorist organization in history, the world has something at stake in the battle against ISIS. While coalitions and agreements on aid may augur progress to isolating ISIS’s cash flow and pushing back their forces, this strategy will take time to come to fruition. Cutting the global reach of ISIS will have to come from a combined effort throughout the world, and more importantly other measures will have to be taken to make sure the ideology does not live on to create another splinter group.