ISIS Is Losing

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


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.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest