An ostensible ISIS treasury memo shows an organization under increasing financial pressure as coalition warplanes ramp up attacks on their oil infrastructure.
Establishing a worldwide caliphate has proved to be a rather expensive endeavor.
The so-called Islamic State is feeling the economic toll of waging wars on a number of fronts as more countries join the fight against it. ISIL, the world’s wealthiest terrorist group, is halving the wages for its fighters, according to a leaked document by ISIL’s treasury obtained by Aymenn Jawad al-Tamimi, a research fellow at the Middle East Forum. The document states:
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 memo also liberally quotes verses from the Koran and hadiths that downplay the importance of wealth, but emphasize the need for jihad. ISIL fighters reportedly earn between $400 and $600 a month (pdf), according the Congressional Research Service. Married fighters are also given an extra stipend per wife and child.
ISIL had previously announced plans to produce their own currency, so they can remove themselves “from the tyrannical monetary system that was imposed on the Muslims.” The Islamic dinar was first introduced during the caliphate in the Seventh Century. It’s unclear if the currency is yet fully operational.
ISIL’s currency is one of many attempts by the terrorist group to operate as some sort of state. Leaked documents released last month revealed the extent of ISIL’s proto-state; the treasury is one of 16 centralized departments that govern the areas under ISIL’s control. The terrorist group has a timetable for vaccination, rent controls, and strict protocols for waste disposal.
ISIL, which was once bringing in $80 million every month, may now have to continue cutting back on its infrastructure as airstrikes devastates its oil refineries and its ability to extract money from the citizens in its territory.
The Pentagon released a video last week of US airstrikes targeting an ISIL cash depot in Mosul, Iraq, which reportedly deprived ISIL of millions of dollars.