Not even ISIS is immune to economic hardships. It is now being reported that ISIS will cut the salaries of its fighters by up to 50 percent. ISIS reportedly cites “exceptional circumstances” as the reason for the cuts in salary. A document obtained by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights speaks about the salary cuts.
“Because of the exceptional circumstances that the Islamic State is passing through, a decision was taken to cut the salaries of the mujahedeen in half. No one will be exempt from this decision no matter his position, but the distribution of food assistance will continue twice a month as usual.”
The “exceptional circumstances,” as we know, are the airstrikes that have been targeting the ISIS soldiers and the infrastructure that generates money for the terrorist group. Airstrikes on ISIS oil trucks, energy sources, refineries, and a building containing millions of dollars are the “exceptional circumstances” that have left ISIS no choice but to cut salaries in half. The destruction of different parts of the oil industry of ISIS is the major cause of the salary cuts. ISIS was generating up to $40 million a month just in their oil trade. The terror group is also stretched on multiple fronts due to trying to expand their caliphate.
Jihadist fighting for the ISIS caliphate are reported to have a salary ranging between $400 and $1,200 a month. ISIS soldiers are also receiving stipends for having a wife and children. The stipend for a wife is $50 a month and the children stipend is $25 per child a month. The economic crisis facing the caliphate will test the will of the ISIS fighters. If they truly believe in their cause, then money will not be an issue. If they are doing what they are doing because it is one of the best-paying jobs in the region, then we may start to see more ISIS soldiers leaving the fight.
ISIS has been running a government for their caliphate. Every government functions based on taxes being collected. With millions of refugees fleeing the region, fewer people exist in the caliphate to collect taxes from. ISIS also varies what wages they pay certain people. Employees that have special skills such as medical or engineering are the ones who get paid in the thousands of dollars. The ones doing the actual fighting get paid in the hundreds. It is similar to the United States in which doctors here will make much more money than our military soldiers who put their lives on the line.
ISIS is not used to being in an economic crisis due to the fact that at their height they had an income of $2 billion. The region in Iraq that they controlled last year is said to cost $2 billion a year based on the budget of the Iraq government when they controlled that land. It is speculated that the terror group still has hundreds of millions of dollars that they use continue their Middle East expansion.
By trying to act as a government, ISIS has provided a type of free health care, functioning school systems, and even a type of welfare system. All of these benefits cost money. It is reasonable to believe that since ISIS is in an economic crisis, these services will also suffer from cuts, putting the citizens that reside in their territory at an even greater disadvantage.
ISIS leaders still say that they will continue the fight and spread their caliphate until their flag is flying over Rome. It is interesting that they mention Rome since the fall of the Roman Empire came due to over-expansion and an inability to economically support their growth.
Do you think that ISIS cutting salaries is the beginning of the end for the terrorist group?
[Image Via AP Photo/Jake Simkin]