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Is oil really financing IS?

The terror group’s crude production, trade and revenue have been vastly over-estimated argues Luay al-Khatteeb

It was the story of 2015: not only was the so-called Islamic State (IS) unbearably brutal, but the terror-group was raking in vast sums of money by selling oil, using ingenious makeshift refineries and even exporting their petroleum – a narrative that fit nicely with their Mad Max image of post-apocalyptic evil. To some, the terrorists’ oil wealth was a sign that they were inching closer to statehood, complete with an oil minister who meticulously recorded the distribution of $2m a day to loyal henchmen. Media stories liked to depict IS as “the richest terrorist group in the world”, with burgeoning oil wealth that makes it self-sustainable and all too powerful. In the fog of war, these sto

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