Crisis in Iraq June 12
A provincial governor in Iraq says that insurgents from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) went into Mosul’s central bank and took off with 500 billion Iraqi dinars, or $425 million.
Atheel al-Nujaifi, governor of Nineveh province, said that the militants also took millions from other banks in Mosul, as well as a “large quantity of gold bullion.” With its new fortune, ISIS has more money than several small nations, including Tonga and the Marshall Islands, and can “buy a whole lot of Jihad,” Brown Moses, a regional analyst, wrote on Twitter. “For example, with $425 million, ISIS could pay 60,000 fighters around $600 a month for a year.”
The International Business Times has declared ISIS the “World’s Richest Terror Force,” but as The Washington Post points out, it’s difficult to determine if that’s true — not everyone agrees on which organizations should be labeled “terrorist,” and it’s also hard to know the exact amount of money each group has on any given day. For some perspective, The New York Times reported that at one time, the Taliban had an annual operating budget between $70 million and $400 million, and Hezbollah has worked with between $200 million and $400 million. Around Sept. 11, 2001, Al-Qaeda had an operating budget of $30 million.
– – Catherine Garcia