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Report: Islamic State in decline, losing money and territory

By Ray Downs
Report: Islamic State in decline, losing money and territory
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, considered to be a leader of the Islamic State terror group, speaks to supporters. His group has lost a great deal in revenue and territory over the past three years, according to a new analysis. Photo by Islamic State video/EPA

June 29 (UPI) -- The Islamic State militant group is going broke and losing territory, according to a new analysis.

A global intelligence and data firm, IHS Markit, said the Islamic State lost more than 60 percent of its territory and 80 percent of its revenue since the terrorist group declared its "caliphate" in Iraq and Syria back in 2014.

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"The Islamic State's rise and fall has been characterized by rapid inflation, followed by steady decline," said Columb Strack, senior Middle East analyst at IHS Markit. "Three years after the 'Caliphate' was declared, it is evident that the group's governance project has failed."

During the second quarter of 2015, the Islamic State was earning an income of $81 million by producing and smuggling oil, as well as taxing people living in the area the group took over as part of its caliphate.

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But IHS Markit believes that revenue fell to $16 million during the second quarter of 2017.

The report said the loss in revenue is a result of lost territory due to heavy fighting against U.S. and U.S.-backed Iraqi forces, as well as constant fighting in Syria against the Russian-backed government and anti-government coalition rebels.

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"Territorial losses are the main factor contributing to the Islamic State's loss of revenue," said Ludovico Carlino, senior Middle East analyst at IHS Markit. "Losing control of the heavily populated Iraqi city of Mosul, and oil rich areas in the Syrian provinces of Raqqa and Homs, has had a particularly significant impact on the group's ability to generate revenue."

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IHS Markit's report is just the latest to conclude that the Islamic State has a quickly dwindling revenue stream.

Research by the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence at King's College London released a report in February that said the terrorist group's income fell from $1.9 billion in 2014 to $870 million in 2016.

The Center for the Analysis of Terrorism also released a report in May 2016 that said the group suffered a big financial blow in oil revenue, going from over $1 billion in 2014 to $600 million in 2015.

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