THE LEVANT – by Hassan Al Obeidi – The “Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant” (ISIL) declared a so-called “Islamic caliphate” in northern Syria and eastern Iraq on June 10th. In this special series, people from all walks of life speak to Mawtani about the hardships of life under ISIL and how they will ensure it does not gain a foothold in any territory it claims to control.
After unilaterally declaring a “caliphate“, the “Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant” (ISIL) began systematically assassinating the leaders and fighters of its former allies who had initially fought alongside the group in Mosul, but later refused to merge with ISIL or to pledge allegiance to its self-appointed caliph, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, officials told Mawtani.
The assassinations reveal ISIL’s brutal pursuit of its true agenda: eliminating potential rivals in order to monopolise power, which is contrary to Islamic teachings, officials said. It also shows ISIL lacks support in areas it claims to control.
Iraqi police documented the killings of gunmen who opposed ISIL’s “caliphate” or refused to swear allegiance to the group in Anbar, Ninawa, Baghdad and Salaheddine, Anbar provincial council spokesman Khalil al-Alwani told Mawtani.
These killings indicate that even ISIL’s allies reject and distrust it, he said.
Intelligence reports show that “a number of armed factions left the areas where ISIL has a presence after discovering the kind of life and governance that awaited them under the so-called caliphate”, al-Alwani said.
In recent days, ISIL killed 18 leaders of armed groups who objected to its declaration of a “caliphate”, said Interior Ministry spokesman Brig. Gen. Saad Maan.
“ISIL organised assassinations targeting elements of armed groups in Fallujah, Mosul, Kirkuk and Diyala, including influential figures in al-Naqshabandia group, the 1920 Revolution Brigades and Jaish al-Mujahideen,” he said.
By killing its rivals and former allies and subduing Iraqis by force, ISIL is demonstrating the falsity of the “caliphate” it seeks to establish and is lying when it says it has support in areas under its control, said Anbar cleric Sheikh Abdul Rahman al-Kubaisi.
The group’s castigation of its onetime allies as traitors reveals the kind of treatment it will mete out in areas under its control, al-Kubaisi said.
“ISIL is a transient phenomenon which will end soon, as it is digging its own grave, and its end will be at the hands of the residents, even before the security forces,” he said.
In Kirkuk, ISIL is once more engaging in deadly clashes with the 1920 Revolution Brigades in the western part of al-Hawijah, Kirkuk police spokesman Col. Salam al-Jaf told Mawtani.
“ISIL kills all its rivals […], coerces people into declaring allegiance, and threatens other gunmen with death if they do not swear allegiance,” al-Jaf said.
The Iraqi police are ready to welcome any gunman who is willing to lay down his weapon and ask the security forces for protection for himself and his family, al-Jaf said.
Iraqi national reconciliation advisor Amer al-Khuzaie told Mawtani the government has pledged amnesty for all armed factions who lay down their arms and stop fighting the Iraqi forces.
The doors for dialogue will remain open to any armed group, with the exception of ISIL, he said.
ISIL “does not believe in the principle of partnership, and instead seeks to annihilate all its opponents”, al-Khuzaie said.