Friday, February 19, 2016

Islamic State short on cash . . .

Flush with Success
(soon  to be flushed down the toilet bowl of history?)
Photo from AP,File

In a recent AP article, "IS faces budget crunch, cutting perks and trimming salaries" (February 16, 2016), the reporters Lori Hinnant, Zeina Karam, and Susannah George, along with Philip Issa, reveal problems that will degrade the Islamic State's ability to function:
[T]he Islamic State [IS] group has [a cash shortage and has therefore] slashed salaries across the region, [and has] asked Raqqa residents to pay utility bills in black market American dollars, . . . . [but is] having a hard time meeting expenses, thanks to coalition airstrikes and other measures that have eroded millions from . . . [IS] finances since last fall . . . . Necessities are dwindling in its urban centers, leading to shortages and widespread inflation . . . . In Raqqa, the group's stronghold in Syria, salaries have been halved since December, electricity is rationed, and prices for basics are spiraling out of reach . . . . [Every] civil servant, from the courts to the schools[, has had] . . . salary [cut] by 50 percent . . . . But that apparently wasn't enough [to] close the gap for a group that needs money to replace weapons lost in airstrikes and battles, and pays its fighters first and foremost. Those two expenses account for two-thirds of its budget . . . . Within the last two weeks, the extremist group started accepting only dollars for "tax" payments, water and electric bills . . . . [There is also] a directive announcing the fighters' salary cuts in Raqqa . . . . by half, and . . . [no one is] exempted from this decision . . . . [L]ow-level fighters [in al-Bab] . . . have begun to grumble, and . . . Islamic State officials [are] discussing crippling airstrikes on oil infrastructure in Syria and Iraq and the cutoff of supply lines and revenue sources . . . . [Additionally, the fighters feel] frustration, [and] their morale is down . . . . [Elsewhere, there are] skyrocketing prices for vegetables and sugar . . . . [For instance,] the road to Mosul was cut off late last year, and prices have risen swiftly - gas is up 25 percent, meat up nearly 70 percent, and sugar prices have doubled . . . . In the Iraqi city of Fallujah, fighters who once made $400 a month aren't being paid at all[,] and their food rations have been cut to two meals a day. (Associated Press)
Eventually, this Islamic State will collapse or be overrun by its enemies, but then what? Unfortunately, the enemies of the IS are not all friends with each other, so we'll likely see them turn on each other in attempts to grab all the territory possible and 'ethnically cleanse' it as extensively as they can.

For the longer AP article with many more details, go to this link.



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