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Economics Of Terror

On August 18, 2015, Khaled Mohamad al-Asaad, a Syrian archaeologist, was publically beheaded by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). The cruel fate of Assad was not brought upon by conflicting with the religious ideology of ISIS, but because he refused to reveal information about thousands of invaluable artefacts hidden in the ancient city of Palmyra. Underneath its much-publicised propaganda of the destruction of Assyrian and Babylonian sites, ISIS manages a remarkably well-organised trade in the artefacts plundered from these ancient cities. Everything from frescoes, busts, to entire statues smuggled from Palmyra, a UNESCO world heritage site, is flooding the antiquities black markets in Europe. A Lebanese-French archaeologist, Joanne Farchakh, claims that antiquities from Palmyra are already available for sale in London. According to the records maintained by Abu Sayyaf, a key ISIS member killed in a United States air raid last year, this systemic trade in Syrian antiquities generates hundreds of millions of dollars for ISIS. The trade in Syrian antiquities is just the tip of the iceberg in the robust economic infrastructure of the richest terror group the world has ever seen. ISIS controls vast swaths of Iraqi and Syrian territories, an area roughly the size of England, and it is increasingly behaving like a sovereign state for generating its large revenue. ISIS collects taxes on income, business revenues, and even toll taxes on the highways under its control. For example, in Mosul, Iraq, ISIS converted a police station into a regional fruits and vegetable market, from which it collects an annual rent of 2.8 million Iraqi dinars. In Raqqa, Syria, ISIS collects a cleaning tax from the city markets ranging from 2500 to 5000 Syrian pounds. It also collects water and electricity bills from the local Syrian residents. More malicious means of generating revenue include kidnapping ransoms and frequent financial fines imposed on the local



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