Il Financial Times negli ultimi mesi ha pubblicato una serie di utili analisi sullo Stato Islamico ed in particolare sulla componente finanziaria ed economica del gruppo guerrigliero. Nell'ultimo articolo, intitolato "Isis Inc: Jihadis fund war machine but squeeze ‘citizens’" Sam Jones ed Erika Solomon illustrano le dinamiche del bilancio dell'ISIS ed il suo tentativo di consolidare una parvenza di stato tra Iraq e Siria. Segnalo, in particolare, la parte sulle capacità di resilienza:
In the early days of the international campaign against Isis, which began in September 2014, the coalition optimistically gave Isis about a year until it reached a financial “pinch point” — when the costs of its project would overwhelm the group, and those battling the jihadis would finally gain the upper hand.
“Isis cannot possibly meet the most basic needs of the people it seeks to rule,” said David Cohen, the then US Treasury under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, in October 2014.
Yet Isis remains firmly embedded in these communities. One reason is that they were grossly neglected well before the jihadis took over.
Using state budget figures from before the conflict, Syrian researcher Aziz Hallaj, who studies Syria’s war economy, estimates regime spending per resident in eastern Deir Ezzor city was a quarter of what it was in the capital, Damascus. In rural areas of eastern Syria it was only about an eighth.
Moreover, some of the services Isis provides cost the group very little. Some electricity, for example, is produced through bartering arrangements with the regime in Damascus. In northern Iraq the US-led coalition has allowed workers at the Mosul Dam to keep channelling power to Isis areas.
By mid-2015, with reports of fighters being paid late or not at all, and charity services like soup kitchens being cut, there appeared to be small signs of financial trouble for the jihadis in the intelligence reporting back to Washington and Europe.
But as more becomes known about the workings of Isis-controlled areas, western officials fighting Isis say the group’s spending reveals both cynicism and flexibility: it uses money as a tool of oppression and social engineering, they say, rather than government, which limits the possibility of eroding the group’s “state”.
“Things like salaries being stopped — originally we saw that as an indication they were under financial pressure, but now we see it as a means of them just holding on to what they can,” says one European intelligence official. “They know that people who try and run away they can just shoot in the back of the head, if they need to, so why pay?”
The conclusion is bleak: officials say there is enough elasticity in Isis’ finances for the group to weather a serious drop in income. “They could probably go on for three years,” says Benjamin Bahney, who studies Isis sustainability at the Rand Corporation, the US-based think-tank.
Rather than indicating financial weakness, the cutbacks, say coalition officials, could suggest Isis is hunkering down into a more mercenary, and war-oriented posture.
“Will they divert funding to the civilian operation? I doubt it,” says one coalition official. “I suspect that they will be [more] brutal in their oppression.”