Tag Archives: Islamic state

Don’t Overestimate the Islamic State

By M.Rubin http://www.commentarymagazine.com/author/mrubinaeiorg/
I’m currently in Jordan where I’ve been able to meet some Iraqi tribal representatives, Sunni Iraqi businessmen, and representatives of the “Iraqi resistance,” including those who held senior positions under Saddam Hussein. What they have conveyed to me—which is consistent with what I have heard from many Kurdish interlocutors familiar with the situation in Mosul—is that the West should not see the fighting in largely Sunni populated areas of Iraq as simply a battle between the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and the Iraqi government. Rather, they suggest, while ISIS—now just the Islamic State—has been the vanguard advancing against the Iraqi military, most of the ground is being held either by Sunni tribes or by veterans of the Saddam-era army, albeit professionals who are nationalists but not necessarily Baathists.

Indeed, word from Mosul and elsewhere is that once ISIS passes through, the situation calms rapidly. There are still flights to Mosul listed on the departure board at Queen Alia International Airport in Amman. And while there have been atrocities—against some Iraqi army members and, alas, Christians—many of the most gruesome claims, they suggest, are false: just re-posting of photos of Syrian atrocities relabeled to suggest that they had occurred more recently in Iraq. Women are staying home because they don’t necessarily understand what the new rules are or how they will be enforced but, beyond that, life is getting back to normal. The real problem right now, residents say, is that the Iraqi government has cut off salaries, water, and electricity to the city and so supplies are beginning to run out.

The former officers and tribal representatives suggest that Abu Baghdadi’s sermon on Friday in Mosul notwithstanding, they are unwilling to settle for ISIS domination but are willing to cooperate loosely with them for the time being with the full understanding that they will soon be fighting them directly. They also seem to suggest that they recognize that there will have to be negotiations with the Iraqi central government—they have no delusions of taking and holding Baghdad—but that they are unwilling to sit with Prime Minister Maliki, and instead say they will talk to his successor.

Fears of the Islamic State and the caliphate make headlines, but the reach and power of the Islamic State should not be exaggerated. The problem of this radical al-Qaeda off-shoot is real, but the current dynamics in Al-Anbar, Ninewa (Mosul), and Salahuddin (Tikrit) governorates are both more complicated but also perhaps more reconcilable.


#Syria: Horrific Abuse in Secret Al Qaida Prisons

Amnesty International warns of torture, murder in Al Qaeda-affiliated prisons. Children among the victims.


A Syrian rebel aims his weapon during clashes with regime forces

A Syrian rebel aims his weapon during clashes with regime forces
AFP photo

Syrians are being tortured and killed in secret prisons run by an Al Qaeda affiliated group, Amnesty International has warned in its latest report.

The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), which has seized control of territory in northern Syria, has reportedly committed horrific abuses in its prisons in the region.

Sources told Amnesty that some of those imprisoned by ISIS are as young as eight years old. Witnesses reported seeing teenagers being tortured, including a 14-year-old boy who was given 90 lashes during an interrogation.

Prisoners have also reportedly been tortured with electric shocks.

Those who are given a trial face a Sharia court (court of Islamic law) overseen by a judge who regularly shows up to court wearing a bomb belt, according to the report. Trials often last just minutes; some of the “sham” trials end with summary executions.

“After years in which they were prey to the brutality of the Assad regime, the people of Raqqa and Aleppo are now suffering under a new form of tyranny imposed on them by ISIS, in which arbitrary detention, torture and executions have become the order of the day,” said Amnesty’s regional director, Philip Luther.

Well over 100,000 people have been killed in fighting in Syria since March 2011, and more than nine million have fled their homes.

Roughly 2.2 Syrians have fled the country altogether, with millions more displaced internally. As many as 300,000 children in refugee camps are not attending school. The refugee population has been particularly at risk due to the cold winter weather.

Health officials have also expressed concern over the possibility of an outbreak due to a potentially lethal combination of poor sanitation and low vaccination rates.

UK: Britain capitulates to jihad

In a striking blow against freedom, the British government has banned us from entering the country. Muhammad al-Arifi, who has advocated Jew-hatred, wife-beating, and jihad violence, entered the U.K. recently with no difficulty. In not allowing us into the country solely because of our true and accurate statements about Islam, the British government is behaving like a de facto Islamic state. The nation that gave the world the Magna Carta is dead.