The Islamic State is so broke it’s slashed militants salaries in half, cut off fighter’s free energy drinks and Snickers bars, is releasing captives for $500 and is now only accepting U.S. dollars inside its caliphate.
ISIS, sometimes called Daesh, is facing a cash shortage after once having bragged about minting its own currency and is now forcing Raqqa residents to pay their bills in black market American dollars.
Residents in the ISIS de facto capitol of Raqqa have been ordered to pay all their taxes and utility bills in black market U.S. dollars, while their electricity is being rationed and rising food prices put supplies out of reach for most people.
Meanwhile, fighters in Fallujah, who aren’t being paid at all, are being forced to survive on half rations and residents in Mosul who don’t adhere to the strict ISIS dress are now being fined instead of flogged.
The Islamic State empire has been forced to the brink of financial collapse after allied airstrikes blew up ISIS cash reserves in recent attacks, Lisa Monaco, President Barack Obama’s counterterrorism adviser, told NewsWeek.
“We are seeing our efforts having some effect on their financial flows. You’ve seen the efforts that our military has taken to take out cash storage sites, and I think it is our hope and expectation that that will have demonstrable effects.”
The stability of the ISIS extremist empire is at stake, built as it is on financial bonuses and monetary incentives designed to entice foreign fighters. Those bonuses, which include added money for honeymoons and babies, are now drying up and it’s affecting low level fighters, a resident identified only as Oussama told Fox News.
“You can sense the frustration, their morale is down.”
Dwindling supplies in cities across the ISIS caliphate have lead to widespread inflation and shortages of vital materials including weapons the terror group needs to replace after punishing airstrikes.
The ISIS caliphate plundered nearly half a billion dollars from banks in Mosul, Tikrit and Baiji during its first lightning attack across the Syrian and Iraq borders in 2014 while captured oil fields helped bring in additional funds.
After seizing huge swaths of territory, the self-styled caliphate ISIS announced plans to mint its own gold, silver and copper coins in an effort to move away from the tyrannical system of the West.
The terror group’s financial empire has recently taken a hit from plummeting black market oil prices, however, and the loss of ISIS territory hasn’t helped. The terror group has lost almost 50 percent of its territory and Iraq’s decision not to pay government workers in ISIS territory has also hurt the self-styled caliphate. Daesh was collecting about $10 million a month in such fees.
Whether the ISIS financial collapse will help speed the fall of the terror group is anyone’s guess.
A year ago, some experts predicted the collapse of the ISIS empire citing its unsustainable financial model and lack of foreign patrons.
ISIS’s recent gains in Libya, however, open the door to a new source of funding meaning the terror group could continue to fight despite its economic losses, as Dr. Azeem Ibrahim notes in his Al Arabiya article. Moving into fresh territory means ISIS could exploit and plunder an entirely new group of people to continue its existence.
There are still plenty of failed states left in the Muslim world where ISIS could re-establish their territorial caliphate.
[Photo by John Moore/Getty Images]