Rewind: wages to fighters for Al Qaeda in Iraq

Money Jihad

In early 2013, Money Jihad came across informative research by Danielle Jung and Jacob Shapiro at Princeton University (hat tip to University College London lecturer Paul Gill) into wages paid to members of Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI)—the group that eventually became the Islamic State. Money Jihad drafted some bullet points on some of the findings from the research, but didn’t publish them in a blog post at the time. But better late than never—details about AQI’s wage structure have been lost in the shuffle amidst bigger commentary on ISIS’s money from oil, ransoms, and looted antiquities.  Yet the expenditure side of the ledger is just as important:

  • AQI paid insurgents using a flat wage structure with additional compensation based on the size of the fighter’s family, not based on the fighter’s seniority in the organization.
  • No correlation was found between wages to terrorists to the amount of risk…

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