Since I posted about the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Shams (ISIS) ‘seizing’ Mosul a few days ago, my understanding of the situation has progressed.
While it is true Mosul has fallen out of control of the Iraqi government and that ISIS flags have been raised, it is not clear that a Jihadist element is “in control’ of Mosul.
I have had conversations with Iraqi friends and they all certainly confirm the ‘fall’ of Mosul.
However, suggestions about who is ‘in control’ of Mosul vary. There are rumours of “Saddam’s men” being involved. Equally there are reports of foreign Jihadi’s and local sectarian militias. The reality is likely to be all three are involved.
They have been since the early days of the occupation of Iraq in 2003.
When I see reports suggesting Jihadist ISIS has $2.5bn worth of assets after ‘taking’ Mosul, I’m sceptical. There are a lot of things I’m sceptical about with the reporting of the situation, actually (read Juan Cole’s 7 myths).
I do not believe Baghdad is under any ‘threat’ of being captured by ISIS. They have no support base there. There is no way they could hold it. Continue reading USA, Maliki, ISIS and Iraq’s Sunni – It’s a long story. #100daysofblogging #Day15
The rise of religious extremism in Iraq is a result of the US-lead invasion in 2003. In dire times it is not uncommon for people to turn to religion and extremist groups who knew this used Anti-US sentiments to gain support in Iraq after Saddam’s fall.
Extremists groups crossed the border from Iran (the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq // “Badr Corps”), Saudi Arabia and Jordan (“Al-Qaeda in Iraq”). Prominent religious leaders, whose strong stance against the presence of Coalition forces in Iraq had won over many Iraqi’s, began to envision an Islamic theocracy in Iraq. Damage caused to important religious sites also inflamed caused people to rally behind their religious leaders, who have become more extreme as the occupation continues. As a result of the invasion and the cunning of extremist leaders, religious extremism has thrived in Iraq since 2003.
Through out history it is noted that people tend to turn to religion in times of crisis and war as faith allows us to remain optimistic. This means the already deep roots of religion in Iraq became suddenly much more important during and after the 2003 invasion, providing religious figures with the confidence to speak their minds and promote their own motives. Irani religious leaders including Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani provided imported Shiite leaders with credibility and support by endorsing the United Iraqi Alliance (Shiite Bloc) in Iraq’s first round of elections. Continue reading Religious extremism on the rise in post-Saddam Iraq