As we have detailed in the past, the dramatic reduction in cash flow from oil sales has taken a tremendous toll on ISIS. A shortage of oil revenues has led to ISIS becoming so desperate for cash that it has even killed its own fighters in order to sell their organs. Now, it appears that another method is being tried to raise funds, this time by taking a page out of the standard government playbook: when you run out of cash, simply find ways to raise taxes on everyone.
RT is reporting that ISIS has now enacted new taxes on those that live in territories under the group's control (which has dropped from 9 million to 6 million people over the past year), and each tax is more bizarre than the next.
For leaving a door open, $100. If one were to fail a random Sharia test, $20 per wrong answer. For women, $30 for not wearing socks, and $25 if a cloak is too tight - for men, a quick trimming of the beard will get you hit with a $50 tax. And if someone is a non-sunni muslim or used to work for the government, then there is a special "repentance" certificate that needs to be paid for, and that will cost anywhere from $200 to $2,500.
"There are fewer people and business activities to tax, the same applies to properties and land to confiscate." Said Columb Strack, senior analyst at IHS. "This is a big indicator of the group's financial difficulties. Taxation makes up about 50 percent of the Islamic State's monthly revenue sources and encompasses almost every aspect of the population's life" added Ludovico Carlino, also of the IHS.
Speaking of every aspect of the population's life, there are even taxes related to livestock. For example, if a bell is found around a sheep's neck, that's a $10 fine for the owner, and the animal will be confiscated.
As ISIS is under pressure in both Iraq and Syria, it may lose even more territory. If and when that happens, who knows what kind of outlandish scheme the group will come up with at that point.
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Bonus: Here is drone footage showing the Syrian army advancing on Raqqa, the de facto capital of the Islamic State.