Thinking about joining ISIS? Chances are you may need to find a second, part-time job to help pay the bills. Senior officials for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria announced on Monday, Feb. 8, that they will be cutting the jihadi fighters’ salaries by up to 50 percent.
Members of the Army of the Islamic State currently earn an average salary of between $400 and $1,200 a month. ISIS also provides additional benefits for the organization’s jihadi fighters and government bureaucrats who work in its capital, Raqqa. Employees of the Caliphate receive $50 monthly stipends for each of their wives and $25 in government child support for each offspring.
Despite the dramatic cutbacks, an ISIS spokesperson assured the public that the Islamic State “will continue to distribute provisions twice every month as usual.” At this time, it is unclear if the pay cuts apply to any of the engineers and technicians who can make upwards of $1,500 a month working for the Caliphate.
The cutbacks in pay are largely due to the ISIS’s status being in a state of war against the West, which is very demanding on the terror group’s annual budget. Last week, in just one airstrike alone against the terror group, the United States destroyed an ISIS treasury building located in central Mosul, Iraq, destroying a cache of cash estimated to be worth millions of dollars.
ISIS’s tax and petroleum revenue last year was estimated bring in $2 billion to the Islamic State’s coffers. However, the Salafist group has a large budget expenditure due to the massive cost of operating a functioning government. ISIS provides public services and collects taxes from residents in occupied areas, meaning it has to pay for infrastructure upkeep, social services, and employee compensation.
It is unclear at this time what the pay cut will do to the Islamic State’s recruiting prospects, though it not expected to cause a significant decrease in recruits.
The recent news is drawing mixed views among students questioning whether or not the cutbacks will be beneficial or not for the United States in its fight against the Islamic State. “I feel like the imminent threat of ISIS will only increase due to members wanting to work harder to impress their bosses by attacking America in the hopes that they will get a pay raise,” said sophomore Matt Wegley.
However, others believe that America will benefit from the ISIS cutbacks. “I think this will be detrimental to ISIS because it is now clear they do not have as much money as they used to so they won’t be able to afford as many virgins for the fighters as they did in the past; that will decrease morale,” stated freshman JohnPaul Stark. “The fighters will probably need to get second jobs as waiters or store clerks just to keep up with their accustomed lifestyle,” he continued.