Islamic State's $2bn budget is much smaller than thsoe of the countries it is trying to take over

 
Sarah Spickernell
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It is the first annual budget set out by the group (Source: Getty)
Two billion dollars (£1.31bn) sounds like a lot of money, but in the context of state budgets it's small. It's 500 times smaller than the US national budget, and 50 times smaller than Iraq's.
Yet this amount has sent shivers down the media's collective spine since yesterday, when the first annual budget for terrorist group Islamic State (IS) was revealed.
Iraqi religious cleric Sheikh Abu Saad al-Ansari told Qatari news publication Al-Araby that IS had estimated its 2015 spending at $2bn, with most of the money going towards wages for fighters and compensation for dead militants' families.
According to The Economist, the group already pays its fighters $400 a month, which is more than any Syrian rebel group or the Iraqi government pays its own fighters.
The group has also reportedly opened its own bank, called the “Islamic Bank”, where customers are able to receive a loan or deposit their money.
But a surplus of $250m would be left over from the budget once all these outgoings have been taken into account. This, al-Ansari explained, will be “diverted towards the war effort” - it will fund IS' war against the West and western allies.
Last year the International Business Times described IS as the “world's richest terrorist organisation” after Kurdish reports revealed the group had overrun and seized hundreds of millions of pounds from a bank in Mosul, northern Iraq.
Its funding is believed to come from a combination of taxes, oil revenues, kidnapping and extortion.
But even if the group is as rich as the IBT suggests, it still doesn't compare with the wealth of the countries it's trying to take over.
At the end of last year, Iraq's cabinet approved a draft 2015 budget worth around $103bn (£68bn), in a move made possible by improved ties between Baghdad and Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region – two targets of IS.
Nearby Iran is also strongly opposed to the group – its annual budget was approved at $294bn (£194bn), over 100 times that of IS.
Saudi Arabia lies next door to the area occupied by the group, and has set a new record of $229bn (£151bn) for its annual budget in 2015.
The US, meanwhile, has requested an annual budget 500 times larger than that of IS - in 2015, the government expects to spend $1.1trn (£725bn).

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