While Republicans continue to smear President Obama’s foreign policy achievements, especially the historic neutralization of the Iranian nuclear program, the United States has continued making substantial progress in the war against Daesh (ISIS/ISIL). The Coalition Joint Task Force for Operation Inherent Resolve announced in January that the terrorist group has lost 40% of its territory in Iraq and 20% of its territory in Syria, as airstrike-supported offensives by Iraqi security forces liberated the major cities of Ramadi and Tikrit. US forces also eliminated the commander of the Baaj district of Mosul, Hajim Ahmed al-Aswad, earlier this morning.
Recent events have thrown yet another wrench into the operations of Daesh. A coalition airstrike recently took out a “cash storage” facility in Mosul that held millions of dollars; prompting the terrorist group to announce it will be forced to cut their fighters’ salaries in half. The fighters used to make between $400 and $1,200 a month, plus a $50 stipend for their wives and $25 for each child. The coalition has been specifically targeting the other main source of money for Daesh, taking out oil refiners and transportation trucks that smuggle illegal oil. That oil then resold for huge profits, ironically to their own enemies, the Syrian Assad Regime, and possibly to Turkey, which has long turned a blind eye to the terrorists over the border in hopes they will destroy the Kurdish rebels that are vying for their independence.
Daesh makes most of its money by extorting it from the local population, but the coalition’s efforts to cut off other sources of income are proving fruitful. As their finances fail, pressure from inside their little “caliphate” will continue to grow. Daesh will soon learn that actual governance is much harder than terrorizing civilians. As CNN noted:
Another source of financial pressure is the massive cost of operating a functioning government. ISIS provides public services and collects taxes. That means it has to pay for infrastructure and civilian employee salaries. To keep the lights on, it pays highly skilled engineers and technicians, who can make upwards of $1,500 a month, according to an investigative team of UN researchers. ISIS also subsidizes the cost of bread for the public, experts say.
As their cobbled-together “state” slowly collapses around them, the subdued population will be less and less tolerant of their cruel overlords. President Obama’s strategy for defeating Daesh is making huge progress, no matter how loudly the Republicans wail that it isn’t. The light at the end of the tunnel is visible; it will be up to our next President to ensure that the right steps are taken to restore order and the rule of law in a volatile region, and to prevent the group from simply reforming under a different name.
You can watch millions of terror-dollars flutter into the air in this video:
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Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.