Oil is the so-called Islamic State’s (ISIS) economic aorta — it funds the terror group’s genocidal war machine. But following a number of air strikes targeting its oil and cash reserves, the fanatical Islamic organization has been forced to slash all wages by 50 per cent, cut benefits and ration electricity.
The self-proclaimed Islamic caliphate, also known as ISIL, has asked residents in its ‘capital’ city of Raqqa in Syria to pay utility bills and taxes in black market U.S. dollars instead of the local currency, and are now releasing prisoners for a US$500 fee, the Associated Press reports.
Having ditched Al Qaeda’s model of relying on donations from wealthy Arabs, ISIS famously raked in more than US$360 million per year in taxes, according to CNN Money, meaning it could build up loyalty among its fighters, offering competitive salaries and bonuses. But now ISIS has reportedly stopped offering even the smaller perks to its force of barbarians: free energy drinks and Snickers bars.
The Associated Press also reports that coalition air strikes have impacted the group’s ability to replenish its weapons stores lost in the air strikes and battles with opposition factions.
“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,” an official ISIS directive reads.
Lisa Monaco, President Barack Obama’s counterterrorism advisor, told the Associated Press: “We are seeing our efforts having some effect on their financial flows. And it's difficult to get a handle on just how much because of the different illicit ways in which they are handling their finances but 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.”
Last week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canada will cease all participation in coalition air strikes against ISIS by Feb. 22.
“It is important to understand that while airstrike operations can be very useful to achieve short-term military and territorial gains, they do not on their own achieve long-term stability for local communities,” Trudeau said during an announcement in Ottawa last Monday.
As of Feb. 15, Canadian Armed Forces personnel participated in the destruction of 267 ISIS fighting positions, 102 ISIS vehicles, and 30 ISIS Improvised Explosive Device (IED) factories and ISIS storage facilities.
In the coming weeks the six CF-188 Hornets and associated aircrew and support personnel will depart the region in a phased approach, marking the end of Operation Impact.