That’s one way to choke them to death

You win wars by killing large numbers of the enemy.

You also win by destroying their ability to wage war, destroying key infrastructure the enemy uses and wrecking their ability to pay for it all.

Up to $800m (£550m) in cash held by so-called Islamic State (IS) has been destroyed in air strikes, a US military official says.

Maj Gen Peter Gersten, who is based in Baghdad, said the US had repeatedly targeted stores of the group’s funds.

The blow to the group’s financing has contributed to a 90% jump in defections and a drop in new arrivals, he said.

In 2014, the US Treasury called IS “the best-funded terrorist organisation” it had encountered.

In a briefing to reporters, Maj Gen Gersten, the deputy commander for operations and intelligence for the US-led operation against IS, said under 20 air strikes targeting the group’s stores of money had been conducted.

He did not specify how the US knew how much money had been destroyed.  

In one case, he said, an estimated $150m was destroyed at a house in Mosul, Iraq.

Forces fighting IS received intelligence indicating in which room of the house money was stored. The room was then bombed from the air, Maj Gen Gersten said.

While it was difficult to know precisely how much money had been destroyed in total, estimates put the figure at between $500m and $800m, he said.

Islamic State’s exact wealth is not known, but, after seizing oil fields and setting taxes, it approved a budget of $2bn and predicted a $250m surplus last year.

Since then, however, the group has lost territory, and its oilfields have been targeted in air strikes by the US-led coalition.

Attrition is a valid tactic. Cutting off their money leaves their mercenary soldiers unpaid. Troops really don’t like getting in the way of bombs and bullets for nothing, unless they are complete fanatics.

US intelligence indicated the group’s cash troubles had led it to start selling vehicles to make money, Gen Gersten said. In January, the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that IS announced it was to cut fighters’ salaries in half “because of the exceptional circumstances that the Islamic State is passing through”.

“We’re seeing a fracture in their morale, we’re seeing their inability to pay, we’re seeing the inability to fight, we’re watching them try to leave Daesh in every single way,” Gen Gersten added, using an Arabic term for IS.

Some defectors had been captured posing as women or as refugees in Iraq, he said.

The number of those arriving to fight for Islamic State in Iraq and Syria had fallen to about 200 a month, Gen Gersten said, down from a peak of between 1,500 and 2,000 per month a year ago.

Just keep bombing the crap out of them, bankrupt their so-called Caliphate and then kill them all on the ground.




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  • Brian Smaller

    Just keep bombing the crap out of them, bankrupt their so-called Caliphate and then kill them all on the ground.

    And then let the survivors into the West as refugees because our Western governments cannot do anything right.

  • john Doe

    The tide certainly seems to have turned. Must be time to put some troops on the ground to hasten things along. I have a feeling the so called Islamic State will collapse very quickly when this happens.

  • Ruahine

    Plenty more where that came from. Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Turkey.

  • rua kenana

    ISIS, or Daesh, are a very convenient target and scapegoat, seemingly deliberately so.
    Destroying them won’t solve the Syrian problems, like Assad, various other rebels groups, al-Nusra, Kurdish activities towards independence, continuing Russian interest in the area, general Islamic terrorism emanating for that area, the continuing high birthrate pushing people to find what they see as better places for themselves and their children, such as Europe.
    There’s been massive middle eastern problems long before Daesh and will be long after Daesh has gone.
    A much more serious problem in my view is the continuing Islamification of Europe. Blaming Daesh for that is unhelpful, since it hides the other causes, and unless other strong actions are taken, it’ll continue whether or not Daesh is destroyed.

  • shykiwibloke

    An interesting angle – if it is hard currency that is destroyed, then the value reverts to the issuer. And therefore improves the value of the currency by a proportionate amount. Albeit tiny, nonetheless – US troops destroying US currency abroad assists the treasury!

    • Boondecker

      Exactly. Huge amounts of hard-copy US currency went missing in Iraq. Much more than you can imagine. Why so much was available to grab in the first place is not exactly confirmed, but I’m sure you can draw your own conclusions. Much of it was from Saddam’s extended family’s hidden bank reserves that was looted in the immediate mayhem that followed the 2003 invasion. Reports I’ve found suggest many of Saddam’s former upper military echelon took the money directly from the vaults themselves and over time ended up forming alliances with and later being absorbed into Al Qaeda and later ISIS.

  • Jman

    When ISIS emerged as a new power in the middle east, they resulted in thousands of Islamic Jihadists flocking to their cause from all over the world. These are people that would otherwise have remained inside their host countries plotting how to impose their Islamic supremacist worldview there. From this perspective, ISIS has done the rest of the world a great favor by drawing this scum over to the ME to be destroyed. Who knows how many terrorist attacks in the West have been prevented thanks to this. Once ISIS is gone, it will be back to business as usual for the Jihadists plotting their train and airport bombings.

    • Isherman

      That’s if they are all dealt with before they return. The other issue is that when the left their own countries, they are likely to have been young, full of bravado and idealistic, but crucially…untrained. Unfortunately, ISIS has had at it’s disposal some competent people who can train and instruct would be jihadist’s to a level they never would have achieved at home sitting behind a keyboard, many are ex military, others battle hardened militiamen who have seen combat, and all the other technocrats that have been lured to the cause, not to mention the organisational and administrative skills provided by ex Baathists and Public servants, which combined make for a pretty dangerous outfit. This is good news, and hopefully the trend continues, however IMO they also need to act more aggressively in places like Libya and other parts of Africa where ISIS are actually getting stronger, otherwise they will essentially have to wage the war so far all over again. It cannot be overstated how crucial the Libyan situation is to defeating ISIS comprehensively, and reducing the threat outside the Middle Eastern/ African theatre of operations.

    • Andy

      irony at its best

  • Mark156

    There’s no money in peace…

  • xennex

    The irony of using US dollars.

    I’m surprised that this video has not made it on to this site.