The Islamic State group was once known as a terrorist organization made wealthy from smuggling oil from oil fields, taxing the people it controlled and extorting money from local populations.
But now, ISIS has begun to face a different reality: After being forced to retreat from northern Iraq, where they held oil fields, the group has become nearly bankrupt and is struggling to pay its fighters, said Hoshyar Zebari, a former Iraqi finance minister.
“They were taxing every business — they were taxing every shop, every pharmacy, every activity — not to mention the money they stole from the Iraqi banks,” Zebari said. “They were a very, very rich organization. Now, I think they are on the retreat and they are broke.”