U.S. airstrikes launched on August 23 signaled the start of Operation Inherent Resolve. This is intended to eliminate the Islamic State terrorist group and the threat it poses to Iraq, Syria, the region and the wider international community. An important aim of the air attacks is to cripple oil facilities under Islamic State control; these are a critically important source of revenue for the jihadist group as it seeks to fund its insurgency. At present, the anti-Islamic State coalition conducting airstrikes in Iraq now includes the United States, France, the UK, Australia, Belgium, Denmark and the Netherlands. In addition, nations conducting airstrikes in Syria include the United States, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan and Bahrain.  The fact that a significant proportion of airstrikes have continued to target oil-related infrastructure underlines the U.S. government’s assessment of the important of oil revenues to the group. As a result of this income, according to Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Vice President Marwan Muasher, the Islamic State has become “the world's wealthiest and most financially sophisticated terrorist organization,” with oil generating the greatest proportion of the Islamic State’s revenue, followed by looting, local taxation, extortion and ransom (AFP, October 23, 2014).
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