Saturday, April 02, 2016

U.S.-led strikes putting a financial squeeze on the Islamic State

By Joby Warrick and Liz Sly April 2 at 4:27 PM, WashPost

The Islamic State is facing an unprecedented cash crunch in its home territory, U.S. counterterrorism officials say, as months of strikes on oil facilities and financial institutions take a deepening toll on the group’s ability to pay its fighters or carry out operations.

For the first time, U.S. officials are seeing clear evidence of the financial strain on the group’s leadership, as reports surface of clashes among senior commanders over allegations of corruption, mismanagement and theft.

Cash shortages already have forced the group to put many of its Iraqi and Syrian recruits on half-pay, and accounts from recent defectors suggest that some units haven’t received salaries in months. Civilians and businesses in the Islamic State’s self-proclaimed homeland complain of being subjected to ever-higher taxes and fees to make up the shortfall.

U.S. officials attribute the economic upheaval to a months-long campaign to destroy the group’s financial underpinnings, including weeks of punishing strikes on oil facilities as well as on banks and other repositories of hard currency.

(More here.)

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