The Times of India reports the latest evidence that economic warfare against the Islamic State is doing some real damage: a 50 percent pay cut for salaries to fighters in Syria, announced in December by the ISIS equivalent of the Treasury Department in their capital city of Raqqa.
The announcement cites the Koran to talk about the “jihad of wealth and jihad of the soul,” which sounds like a spoonful of doctrinal sugar to make the bad economic medicine go down. ISIS likes to motivate recruits by talking about all the treasures (and women) they seize through conquest.
Alternatively, the Jerusalem Post interprets the Koranic verses cited in the half-salary announcement as a way of telling fighters that spending money in “beneficial ways, including charity, is regarded as more important than the jihad of soul, which means striving to purify the soul and increase its faith.”
In other words, the salary cuts for fighters should be accepted without complaint, because the “caliphate” needs what remains of its money for public services. The JPost article notes that the ISIS document stresses how “the distribution of zakat, a religious obligatory tax collected for poor Muslims, will not be hampered.”
“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,” said the ISIS treasury. “Let it be known that work will continue to distribute provisions twice every month as usual,” the announcement continued.
General Lloyd Austin of the U.S. Central Command is quoted saying these new economic strikes have cost the terror state “millions of dollars.”
“You can bet that ISIS is feeling the strain on his checkbook,” Gen. Austin asserted, noting that the Islamic State needs those millions of dollars to “pay their fighters, to recruit new fights, and to conduct their various maligned activities.”
The Jerusalem Post mentions another sign the Islamic State is feeling the pinch: the ISIS governor in the captive city of Mosul recently issued a fatwa, or religious order, allowing ISIS fighters to “raise funds from the local citizens by taxing them.”