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The Islamic State Loses Control Of Iraqi Oil Fields

The Islamic State will have to turn to other means to finance terror activities now that it no longer controls oil wells in Iraq.

Iraq’s oil ministry announced that IS was driven out of Shirqat—an area near Kirkuk—by U.S. backed Iraqi forces last Thursday. In August, IS lost the Qayyara oilfield south of Mosul in a push by the government retake the city. While the Iraqi government has not captured the Najma oilfield, it is of no use to the Islamic State, because the group cannot access the fields due to government airstrikes.

According to Asim Jihad, “Najma has yet to be liberated because some sites are in the conflict zone. The reality is that it is extremely difficult to extract and smuggle oil while our forces are advancing towards Mosul...," Provincial security official Muthana Jbara noted. Without the income provided by the oilfields, the Islamic State will have to finance it activities through other means, such as increasing fines and taxes in the areas which it still controls.

The Islamic State has lost a great deal of the territory in Syria and Iraq, over which it proclaimed a caliphate in 2014. Despite the losses which came during offensives backed by the United States, IS still controls oil wells in Syria.

As to the push to retake Mosul, A U.S. official said this week that United States is ready to provide more military personnel for the effort, stating: “In consultation with the government of Iraq, the U.S. is prepared to provide additional U.S. military personnel to train and advise the Iraqis as the planning for the Mosul campaign intensifies," Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, the country’s Prime Minister said ,“American President Barack Obama was consulted on a request from the Iraqi government for a final increase in the number of trainers and advisers under the umbrella of the international coalition in Iraq,”

Lincoln Brown for Oilprice.com

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