Part of the coalition against ISIS’ strategy had been bombing ISIS oil fields and oil trucks to deprive the so-called state of revenue. By one estimate, ISIS brings in about $50 million a month in oil revenue.
One of the issues ISIS faces as an illegitimate state is they have no system of credit. All money is held as cash, which has led to a new target for the coalition to strike: their cash itself.
As evidenced by recent changes ISIS has made in compensating their fighters, these strikes appear to be dealing major financial damage.
As the Times of India reported:
ISIS has cut its fighters’ salaries by 50 per cent in Syria due to “exceptional circumstances” as air strikes continue to target its revenue streams, a document appears to show.
The US-led coalition has been bombing the terrorist group’s oil fields, supply lines and cash stores since October as part of Operation Tidal Wave II, and an order released little over a month later appears to show the tactic having an effect.
The document appears to have been released by the so-called Islamic State’s treasury, the “Bayt Mal al-Muslimeen”, in its Syrian stronghold of Raqqa.
It cites the Koran to discuss “jihad of wealth and jihad of the soul”, according to a translation by Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi, a research fellow at the Middle East Forum.
“So on account of the exceptional circumstances the Islamic State is facing, it has been decided to reduce the salaries that are paid to all mujahideen by half, and it is not allowed for anyone to be exempted from this decision, whatever his position,” the order reads.
American officials claimed that operations were already “putting significant damage on ISIL’s ability to fund itself” in November and vowed to “step up the attack”.
A “cash distribution centre” reportedly used to pay fighters was hit by US planes on 11 January near its Iraqi stronghold of Mosul, with footage showing clouds of money blown into the air.
General Lloyd Austin, head of the US Central Command, told CNN it deprived the group of “millions of dollars”.
“Combined with all of the other strikes that we’ve done on Isil’s gas and oil production and distribution capabilities and strikes against his economic infrastructure and the various sources of revenue, you can bet that Isis is feeling the strain on his checkbook,” he added.
“ISIL needs those funds to pay their fighters, to recruit new fighters and to conduct their various maligned activities.”
Here’s a photo of what those strikes look like:
I guess this also means that fighters can only expect 36 virgins now.
[Note: This post was authored by The Analytical Economist]