Syria analyst Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi has been cataloging and translating ISIS administrative documents for about a year now. It’s a great resource for, among other things, getting a flavor of what Kevin Drum calls ISIS’s “bureaucratic streak” (I agree with him, it’s hard not to laugh at this stuff–in fact, I’m about to do just that–even though ISIS is of course no laughing matter). Anyway, Tamimi’s latest batch of documents includes some bad news for anybody who was planning to get rich in the field of jihadi psychopathy:
Jihad of wealth has been mentioned with jihad of soul in the Qur’an in ten cases, and in nine of those cases jihad of wealth has been presented beforehand over jihad of the soul, and only in one case has jihad of the soul been presented beforehand over jihad of wealth. And on the authority of Omar bin al-Khattab (may God be pleased with him): “The Messenger of God (SAWS) ordered us to give charity and that coincided with the time I had some wealth. So I said: ‘Today I will outdo Abu Bakr, if ever I have outdone him.’ So I came with half of my wealth, and so the Messenger of God (SAWS) said: ‘What have you left for your family?’ I said: ‘The same amount.’ And Abu Bakr came with all he had, so he said: ‘Oh Abu Bakr, what have you left for your family?’ He said: ‘I have left for them God and His Messenger.’ I said: ‘By God, I can never outdo him in anything.'” (muttafiq alayhi).
So 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. Let it be known that work will continue to distribute provisions twice every month as usual.
Uh-oh. First they cut your salary in half, then they have to start “downsizing,” and pretty soon you’re doing your job, plus Gary in accounting’s old job, plus Uthman in murdering apostates’ old job, and now you’re doing three different jobs and making half of what you used to make just doing the one job. Then management will probably pay some outside consultant a bundle to get their ISO 14001 certification or some other pointless bullshit, and that money’s got to come from somewhere, and suddenly it’s bye-bye Eid bonus. I bet there are a bunch of ISIS fighters who are opening Glassdoor.com accounts even as I write this. Drop a few one-star reviews on these guys and see if they don’t find a way to roll back some of this cut, you know?
Anyway, the document seems genuine, and to give it its due there’s certainly a lot that you can read into something like this. ISIS has for some time now been deriving more of its income from extorting the people who live under its rule than from things like oil sales, ransoms, and antiquities looting, but you can’t draw blood from a stone, and it’s not like there’s a lot of opportunity for people living under ISIS to bring new money in from outside. ISIS isn’t expanding very much anymore, although it did just snap up some territory in Syria a couple of days ago, so there aren’t very many new banks to raid or archaeological sites to loot. American and Russian airstrikes have been targeting the group’s oil infrastructure for weeks, reducing the amount of oil it can get to market. And, say, how are oil prices these days anyway?
Huh. Well, surely that has to go up at some poi-
The sanctions are lifted, and it’s off to the races for Iran, which Monday ordered an increase in its oil production of 500,000 barrels per day. The country is hoping to take back its share of the oil market, said Deputy Oil Minister Roknoddin Javadi in a statement posted on the Iranian Oil Ministry’s website, despite a global oversupply that’s led to the lowest Brent crude oil prices in nearly 13 years.
Well then, belt-tightening it is.
Speaking of airstrikes, I almost forgot about this one:
A US-led coalition airstrike has destroyed a cash distribution site used by Islamic State militants in the Iraqi city of Mosul.
“The bulk cash distribution site was used by [Isis] to distribute money to fund terrorist activities,” Lieutenant Commander Ben Tisdale, a US spokesman said in a statement.
Two 900kg (2,000lb) bombs struck the facility, destroying “millions” of dollars worth of cash, a Pentagon official told AFP on Monday, speaking on condition of anonymity.
That can’t be good for the bottom line either.
Obviously nobody runs off to join ISIS to get rich. But after Ramadi morale couldn’t have been all that high to begin with, and this won’t help. ISIS defectors, admittedly not really an unbiased source of information, talk about growing disillusionment among the group’s fighters. I’m not suggesting they’re in imminent danger of collapse (reportedly, the flow of foreign fighters to ISIS-controlled territory has slowed a little recently, but not much), but clearly things are not going well for these guys, which is good news for the rest of us.
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