January 28, 2021

Aspects of Islamic State (IS) Administration in Ninawa Province: Part III

Parts I and II of this series looked at the system of education and other public services implemented by IS in Ninawa province. What then of religious life and public morality under Shari'a? Diwan al-Hisba The Diwan al-Hisba has IS' "Islamic police" under its wing and is responsible for the enforcement of public morality. It is one of the more familiar departments of IS administration: for example, if someone is caught in possession of alcohol, cigarettes or drugs, then that person is to … [Read more...]

Aspects of Islamic State (IS) Administration in Ninawa Province: Part II

Part I of this in-depth examination of IS administration in Ninawa province touched on the realm of education, as one can find a large number of IS documents on that matter. This part looks primarily at service aspects of IS governance in Ninawa province. Diwan al-Khidamat The Diwan al-Khidamat ('Services Administration') is officially responsible for provision of basic public services to locals, most notably electricity, sanitation, water and construction work. However, there is a clear … [Read more...]

Aspects of Islamic State (IS) Administration in Ninawa Province: Part I

A key aspect of IS' self-presentation is its claim to be an actual state (dawla), and not a mere group or organization (jamaat/tanẓim). As part of this presentation, the dawla sets up supposed state administration departments to regulate life in areas under its control. Ninawa province, which remains completely out of Baghdad government control, presents an ample range of purported aspects of IS governance. This series consists of a selection of translated IS documents from Ninawa province … [Read more...]

The Impasse in Iraq (Part 2: The Sunni Side)

The previous post discussed problems on the Shi'a side that hinder a more general Sunni-Shi'a 'reconciliation' in Iraq. Specifically, there is a general reluctance on the Shi'a political spectrum to address basic Sunni grievances on issues such as de-Ba'athification, and the phenomenon of Shi'a militiafication of the security forces has only further sidelined meaningful discussion of reforms to outreach to Sunnis. However, it does not follow that Iraq's impasse is solely the fault of the … [Read more...]

The Islamic State Billboards and Murals of Tel Afar and Mosul

One of the hallmarks of the Islamic State's (IS) methods of establishing its presence in a locality is through the use of billboards and murals to advertise its propaganda. This was first made apparent in IS' prior incarnation as the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) in which ISIS first appeared in Raqqa in the spring of 2013 and increased its clout through the use of billboards even as it was not the only faction present. Indeed, ISIS only became sole ruler of Raqqa after the outbreak … [Read more...]

The Impasse in Iraq (Part 1: The Shi’a Side)

It has become a truism that resolution of the current crisis in Iraq that has seen major cities — most notably Mosul — fall out of government control at the hands of the Islamic State (IS) will require some form of 'reconciliation' between the Shia majority that has led Iraq's governments since the U.S. invasion in 2003 and the Sunni Arabs, who likely constitute no more than 20-25% of Iraq's population but were seen as dominant since the formation of the modern Iraqi state. 'Reconciliation' … [Read more...]

Sample Concepts of a Christian-Shi’a Alliance in Iraq

With the fragmentation of Iraq and Syria primarily along sectarian fault-lines- principally that of the Shi’a vs. Sunni dynamic- third way ethno-religious groups such as the Christians find themselves caught in the middle. Lacking organizational coherence, unity and strength to form their own separatist projects, Christians in Iraq and Syria generally find themselves forming alliances with one major player or another in the respective conflicts. In Syria, two choices exist: the regime and … [Read more...]

Islamic Army of Iraq- 23 December Statement

Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi

This statement from the Islamic Army in/of Iraq's spokesman claims that the media are ignoring crimes perpetrated against Sunnis in Iraq. Needless to say, his narrative overlooks some of the more recent media coverage of Shi'a militia excesses against Sunni populations, such as this Reuters report by Ned Parker and Ahmed Rasheed. Meanwhile, the Islamic Army of Iraq continues to pay little heed to the problem of the Islamic State phenomenon, despite admission to problems in the field. In the … [Read more...]

Jaysh al-Mujahideen Iraq- December 3 Statement

Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi

Like Jamaat Ansar al-Sunna and the Naqshbandi Army (JRTN), the Salafi Jaysh al-Mujahideen joined in the series of denials of al-Hayat's report of participating in a delegation to Washington to discuss National Guard formation plans. Like JRTN, Jaysh al-Mujahideen has also suffered at the expense of the Islamic State's (IS) expansion, having been forced to withdraw from al-Karma town (to the east of Fallujah in Anbar province) in late August in the wake of clashes with IS. Since that time, … [Read more...]

The Naqshbandi Army’s Current Situation in Iraq

Similar to Jamaat Ansar al-Sunna's 6 December statement, the Ba'athist-Sufi Jaysh Rijal al-Tariqa al-Naqshbandia ('Army of the Men of the Naqshbandi Order'/JRTN/Naqshbandi Army) issued a statement on 2 December as part of a string of denials by Sunni insurgent factions of participating in a delegation to Washington to discuss 'National Guard' formation plans under Iraqi PM Hayder al-Abadi. In this case, JRTN is of particular interest as it has also been the apparent target for outreach by … [Read more...]