ISIS and oil: How (un)important is to hit ISIS capabilities of selling oil?

Western and Russian jets are bombing ISIS oil trucks. I would say it is just a small piece of jigsaw when talking about fighting ISIS, but it seems for some politicians it is kinda-sorta magical solution. So in your opinion, how (un)important is to hit ISIS capabilities of selling oil? Read few comments.

Christopher Anzalone, Ph.D. Candidate, Institute of Islamic Studies, McGill University

Oil is an important aspect of Islamic State’s revenue stream, but it’s not the only one or even necessarily the most important one.  Exact figures across all of its “governorates” vary and are not completely clear, but estimates put oil more or less on par with taxation, extortion, and property seizures or arrested and/or executed ‘criminals’ (by IS).  Losing the oil revenues will be a significant loss for the group, but it will not stop all of its other revenue streams from taxation and extortion, theft, and antiquities smuggling.  It is also important to note that many local communities also rely, though not by choice, on IS-controlled rough fuel particularly in areas under embargo, and thus not every fuel transporter is controlled by IS.  Bombing too indiscriminately will likely have a negative impact on the war of narratives and ideas, particularly among affected locals.

Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, Senior Fellow, Foundation for Defense of Democracies, Adjunct Assistant Professor, Georgetown University, Author of Bin Laden’s Legacy

It’s very important because this is a clear financial vulnerability on the Islamic State’s part that the coalition was inexplicably not targeting before. The more financial pressure that can be brought to bear against IS, the better. Striking IS’s oil trucks is of course not a panacea, but it is a wise strategic shift that should ratchet up the pressure against this jihadist organization.


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