It’s being reported that there’s a cash shortage in the Islamic caliphate, and as such ISIS are being forced to severely downsize, cutting out many of the ‘perks’ of membership.
Apparently it’s so bad over there that they’re halving the salaries of everyone employed by them, from civil servants to top commanders, forcing residents of Raqqa to pay utility bills in black market US dollars and are even offering to release detainees for $500. They’ve even stopped providing the smallest perks such as Snickers bars and energy drinks for their troops. It’s not going well.
The announcement was made public by Middle east researcher Aymenn Jawad al-Tamimi who once resided in Raqqa, who came across the following ISIS document:
On account of the exceptional circumstances the Islamic State is facing, it has been decided to reduce the salaries that are paid to all mujahedeen by half, and it is not allowed for anyone to be exempted from this decision, whatever his position.
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Ouch. Originally when ISIS first started up they bragged about printing their own currency and offered supporters high salaries and lots of bonuses. Unfortunately, they can no longer afford these due to sustained bombing of weapons caches and cash warehouses by the US.
As such they’re facing a cash crisis and morale is low – it’s also being said that there are a lack of basic amenities such as meat, sugar and petrol and hyperinflation running rampant. Everything is also now paid in US dollars as nobody has any confidence in ISIS’s own currency anymore.
Fighters who used to be paid $400 a month are no longer receiving anything except their guaranteed two meals a day. Morale is said to be low amongst them and many of them have fled, although it’s being reported that in the Iraqi city of Fallujah they’re being charged $1000 to leave. Many of them are just ignoring this and escaping though.
To be fair, this all sounds like great news and that all the bombing and efforts over there might finally be doing some good in actually bringing ISIS and ‘The War On Terror’ to an end. al-Tamimi is less sure though:
I don’t think this is fatal for IS. They are searching for alternative revenue streams in Libya which isn’t affected by bombing.
They still control lots of territory over there and their fighters still receive free electricity and food.
I still don’t see internal revolt as what’s going to be the outcome. It’s more like a scenario of gradual decay and decline.
Even if it isn’t fatal, it does sound like there is some progress. Whether or not it’s enough – or worth the cost – is another question entirely though.
If you need help understanding what’s going on in Syria, check out this comic book which explains it all.