WASHINGTON — ISIL, worth close to $1 billion, spends a
lot of money to carry out functions it deems necessary for the operation and
protection of the “Islamic State.”
Part of that money goes to paying fighters to kill people the leadership
are threats to the organization. Many of those “threatening” people, it turns
out, have been women and children, according human rights organizations and
ISIL’s own graphic videos.
In the process of trying to establish its “caliphate,” ISIL has expressed
interest on several occasions in obtaining weapons capable of mass
destruction, including drones.
It appears one has fallen into ISIL’s lap, but it’s doubtful it will be able
to leverage it. Experts say operating a drone is a high hurdle, for even the
and most sophisticated terrorist organization.
A U.S. intelligence official told WTOP, “Placing back into service a
captured UAV is quite challenging” because of the damage to the airframe and
of familiarity with the system.
“To operate a captured UAV,
ISIL would need new parts and software for the drone or the capability to
essentially start from scratch by removing the guts of the UAV and installing
their own system,” sources familiar with the technology told WTOP.
Then, there’s the question of time and space to reverse-engineer a drone. ISIL
doesn’t appear to have it.
Pentagon Spokesman Col. Steve Warren told WTOP that ISIL has been under
“To date, we’ve struck more than 2,300 ISIL targets. This is includes 700 ISIL
occupied buildings, 380 enemy fighting positions and more than 260 armored
Also, in an effort to target ISIL’s money-making capabilities, the U.S.-led
coalition has attacked 180 black market oil related targets, and enabled the
Iraqis to attack ISIL as well.
“In Baji,” Warren said, “we’re very pleased to see the Iraqi security forces’
forward movement which has been enabled by our airstrikes, and in fact the
Iraqi security forces have reached their refineries and are beginning to
conduct more detailed clearing operations.”
ISIL claims the drone belonged to a member of the U.S.-led coalition, but
according to Warren, “No U.S. drone is in the possession of ISIL. It would be
impossible for ISIL to attack our drones because of the way our drones