The Obama administration is taking the gloves off after more than a year of reluctance to target the Islamic State’s core infrastructure for fear of hitting civilians or risking the lives of American troops.
Two recent strikes on ISIS cash depots are examples of ideas the administration once considered too risky, and one of those attacks may have destroyed over half a billion dollars, two U.S. officials said Wednesday.
The bank strikes combined with targeting the oil infrastructure has produced a serious cash crunch.
ISIS fighter morale has plummeted and foreign fighters are deserting because salaries have been halved, according to the officials.
Administration officials are green-lighting aggressive proposals that have been languishing for years, and asking for more ideas to check the growth of ISIS from Syria to Libya and beyond.
“Our hands have been tied,” said one senior military official. “Now I think you’ll see a little more willingness to tolerate civilian casualties in the interest of making progress.”
Officials say the new aggressiveness is partly in response to the ISIS-directed and inspired attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, which showed ISIS’ violent influence was metastasizing faster than expected.