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The Islamic State has hit hard financial times, as drone strikes on key financial institutions and facilities has left the terrorist organization strapped for cash. According to U.S. counterterrorism officials, corruption, theft, and cash shortages have wreaked havoc on ISIS operations. Some recruits now receive half-pay, or no pay at all. While anti-terrorism activists see a crippling of ISIS as a reason to rejoice, the cause is controversial: Drone strikes from the United States. “A lot of the approaches, including the use of drone strikes —as controversial and sometimes extrajudicial as they seem— are effective,” news analyst Charles Sennott said in an interview with Boston Public Radio. “They killed a top ISIS leader in Somalia, they’ve gone after a lot of people among the leadership in Iraq, they’ve been effective.”

According to Sennott, The RAND corporation, a public policy think tank, estimates that ISIS has lost 40 percent of the land it controlled over the last six months. “That’s a big impact on ISIS,” Sennott said. “Going after the Islamic State’s finances, really putting a squeeze on that and really trying to cut off their revenue streams...this is the long war. This is the battle we’re in, in a counterinsurgency era, a post-9/11 time, when the struggles are going to be complex, they’re going to be across the world, and they are going to take a lot of different strategies.”

Yet while the Islamic State has taken some hits, Sennott warns that these blows may cause the organization to come back even stronger, even angrier. “It’s the same idea that a snake is most dangerous when its wounded but not yet dead,” Sennott said. “This time in a war against terrorism which is never going to be conventional, it’s always going to have to be sophisticated, piecemeal at times, incremental always, and hard to keep track of it and hold on to the successes.”

Charles Sennott is a News Analyst at WGBH, where he also runs the GroundTruth Project. To hear more from his interview, click on the audio link above.