The world’s biggest, baddest, terrorist group variously known as ISIL, Daesh or ISIS is facing severe financial challenges.
In 2015 as “Jihadi John” butchered his way to infamy ISIL, was sitting on a cool
$1.5bn in cash and revenues.
Now in 2016 the well is beginning to run dry.
The reasons are clear: coalition airstrikes are having a dramatic impact on ISIL’s ability to generate funds.
Operation Tidal Wave II is a targeted air campaign against the group’s oil infrastructure. The attacks began last October and have deprived ISIL of tens of millions of dollars.
At the height of its powers ISIL was raking in an estimated $50M a month from Syrian oil.
The air campaign has reduced ISIL oil revenue by 30 percent according to coalition estimates.
International aircraft have also been bombing money and the brains that manage it.
In January a US-led coalition attack on a cash stash in Mosul destroyed “millions of dollars in notes” and banks are also being hit.
In February the Iraqi Central Bank in Mosul was blown up, the bank that ISIL robbed of $400m when it took over the city in 2014.
Luck has also played a part the plummeting price of oil and the woeful state of the economies of Iraq and Syria where ISIL formed its caliphate has battered its money-making potential.
ISIL is losing valuable territory, 21 percent across Iraq and parts of northern Syria have been retaken and trade in Turkey has been wiped out.
Added together, pressure from the outside is causing cracks within. People are fleeing ISIL held territories and taking with them their taxable income.
The noose is tightening in response ISIL has introduced austerity measures slashing the income of its jihadists by some 50 percent. The internal pressure is prompting warlords to accuse others of corruption, theft and mismanagement and the leaders have declared an emergency mobilisation.
As a result of this coordinated activity Daesh is finally running out of cash.