The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) will have a budget of $2 billion for 2015, the group’s leaders in Iraq told a London-based news outlet.
Naji Abdullah, a tribal leader in Mosul, told al-Araby al-Jadeed that ISIS would be dedicating much of the funding to territory it has seized in Syria and Iraq. The group plans to pay monthly wages to the poor, disabled, orphans, widows and the families of people killed in coalition airstrikes, with a $250 million surplus set aside for the war against the American coalition.
U.S. officials have indicated they plan to assist Iraqi security forces in retaking Mosul. But the more ISIS becomes integrated with the local population through financial payouts and other assistance, the harder it will be to win back the city.
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey said in September he could recommend that U.S. advisers accompany Iraqi forces into Mosul.
"I think everybody understands that Mosul is important," Pentagon press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said in December. "It's part of a larger campaign, a larger military campaign against ISIL, and when we get to it, we'll get to it when it's appropriate."
Over the weekend, ISIS released a new propaganda video featuring British hostage John Cantlie touring Mosul.
In the video, Cantlie, who has been held hostage since 2012, says, contrary to media reports, Mosul is a stable place that is well governed.
"Life here in Mosul is business as usual," he says, according to reports. "This is not a city living in fear, as the Western media would have you believe."