ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – The Islamic State (IS) is spreading its money across various ventures and state lines to maintain its operation after the collapse of its self-proclaimed caliphate, according to reports.
As the militant group’s territorial control crumbles in Iraq and Syria, Financial Times reported IS “has been waging another, silent campaign: to make as much money as it can, as fast as it can, and get that money out” of areas it controls which are being targeted by coalition and government forces.
“They’ll spread that money everywhere, to keep it working for the organization long after the caliphate is gone,” according to the Financial Times.
With the continuous loss of territory and authority in Iraq and Syria, IS has threatened to focus its efforts on lone-wolf attacks carried out in Europe and other nations belonging to the anti-IS coalition.
Europe has recently been put on high alert by Interpol as 173 suspected IS foreign fighters are believed to be planning attacks once they return to their home countries.
Money flowing freely from its remaining strongholds to Europe or in between local cells could allow the group to launch further attacks.
Most recently, Iraqi forces retook the city of Tal Afar, west of Iraq’s second largest city of Mosul, where they experienced virtually no resistance from the militants.
Others suspect IS fighters have regrouped elsewhere in Iraq and Syria following the fall of Mosul in July.
Peshmerga officers have warned of the extremist group’s movements in the Hamrin mountain range, near Hawija, some 60 kilometers west of Kirkuk.
“IS has brought most of its forces to the Hawija and Hamrin mountain area allowing them to attack Kurdish front lines more frequently,” said Brigadier Hussein Blok in June.
The Hawija military offensive will likely be launched after the Kurdistan Region’s independence referendum on Sep. 25, former Parliament Speaker and current senior Peshmerga Commander Kamal Kirkuki said on Monday.
Hawija is one of a few areas in Iraq remaining in the hands of IS, allowing it to launch insurgency-style attacks on nearby Peshmerga front lines.
“Now that they are losing territory, this [making money] has become a priority for them,” Renad Mansour, an analyst at the UK’s Chatham House think-tank, told the Financial Times.
“They need to maintain financial influence and power,” he noted.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany