ISIS Is Losing


Zack Beauchamp passes along a new leaked document that chronicles the latest travails of the ISIS high command:

According to the document, ISIS is being forced to slash salaries for its fighters by half across its holdings. The document was first reported by researcher Aymenn Jawad al-Tamimi on his personal site, as part of a broader cache of documents he acquired. Here’s the core passage from the document:

 “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.”

ISIS is such a hideous group that it’s hard to find anything about them funny. But both al-Qaeda and ISIS have a bureaucratic streak that it’s hard not to laugh at. The only thing missing from this memo is a declaration that they’re planning to hire McKinsey to help them streamline operations and get back on track to meet FY16 business plan projections.

On a more serious note, this really is a sign that ISIS is not the unstoppable juggernaut that the hair-on-fire brigade insists it is. They’ve lost large amounts of their territory. Their oil infrastructure has been badly damaged and the global glut of oil makes it a lousy source of revenue anyway. They’re surrounded by enemies on all sides. They may be the first terrorist group in history to master social media, but on the ground they’re losing. That’s likely to continue.