Isis Is Broke And Unable To Pay Its Fighters, Former Finance Minister Says
The Islamic State (ISIS) is broke and unable to pay its fighters, Iraq’s former finance minister Hoshyar Zebari said.
Sky News reported on Tuesday (March 28) that Zebari had said that ISIS had gone from earning $5 million a day to going broke, and now the group cannot pay the fighters under its command.
"They were a very, very rich organisation. Now, I think they are on the retreat and they are broke. Also they are losing ground, so this battle in Mosul is decisive to end their caliphate - to end their so-called Islamic State," Zebari said.
"They were taxing every business - they were taxing every shop, every pharmacy, every activity - not to mention the money they stole from the Iraqi banks," he added.
At its peak, ISIS was the richest terrorist organization in the world, funding the group’s self-declared caliphate in Iraq and Syria through oil sales, money from banks, the selling of antiquities, and implementing a sophisticated taxation system for civilians and businesses that was under the group’s control.
The funds allowed the militant organization to recruit fighters with the lure of a monthly wage – foreign fighters in particular were paid well.
However with shrinking territory in Syria, and on the verge of losing their former Iraqi stronghold of Mosul, the militant group is on the decline, unable to hold on to territory and recruit and pay fighters to defend their self-proclaimed caliphate.
ISIS militants captured Mosul, Iraq's second largest city, when they swept across the country's north in the summer of 2014. Iraqi forces have gradually clawed back territory since then, and launched a massive operation to retake Mosul in October last year. All of east Mosul, and half of the city’s west has been liberated from the militants since then.
In Syria, the ISIS capital of Raqqa is currently surrounded by Syrian Democratic Fights (SDF), a coalition of Arab and Kurdish fighters in the north of the country. The operation to liberate the city entirely is expected to begin in the coming weeks.